Opinion about gun control has been divided since early 2009, shortly after Barack Obama’s election. From 1993 through 2008, majorities had said it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights.
In May 1999, a month after the shooting at Columbine High School, 65% said it was more important to control gun ownership while 30% said it was more important to protect gun rights. The previous measure, from six years earlier (December 1993) found that 57% prioritized gun control while 34% prioritized gun rights.
Recent mass shootings have had little impact on the public’s attitudes toward gun control. That was the case after the Colorado theater shootings; similarly, views of gun control changed little after the Jan. 2011 shooting in Tucson Arizona, which killed six people and seriously wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
In April 2007, following the large-scale shooting at Virginia Tech University, 60% said it was more important to control gun ownership, which was little changed from 58% in February 2004.Politico reports:
They’ve watched mass shootings of college kids and schoolchildren, issued countless statements of sympathy, and lived through a colleague taking a bullet to the brain, but Friday’s rampage in Newtown, Conn., doesn’t appear to have moved lawmakers any closer to writing new gun laws.
Instead, gun-control advocates in Congress are looking to President Barack Obama to build public support for new laws so that it becomes more politically risky for Republicans, and pro-gun Democrats, to stand in their way. It’s a sign that they know they can’t get anything done on their own.