Less than half of Americans, 47%, say they favor stricter laws covering the sale of firearms, similar to views found last year. But this percentage is significantly below the 58% recorded in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, spurred a nationwide debate about the possibility of more stringent gun control laws. Thirty-eight percent of Americans say these laws should be kept as they are now, and 14% say they should be made less strict.
The percentage favoring stricter gun sale laws in the two years since Newtown occurred has declined despite steady and tragic high-profile shootings in the U.S at schools, malls and businesses. This past week, shootings occurred at a Seattle-area school and of police officers in Sacramento and Placer County, California. Amidst events like these in 2014, and the resulting calls for stricter gun sale laws, the 47% who favor stricter laws is just above the historical low of 43% measured in 2011.
Ten years ago, three in five Americans (60%) said they favored stricter laws regulating the sale of firearms, but support fell to 44% in 2009 and remained at that level in polls conducted in the next two years. Days after the Newtown shooting, support for stricter gun sale laws swelled. Since 2012, however, Americans have retreated from those stronger attitudes about the need for more gun control, and the percentage of Americans who say the laws should be less strict -- although still low -- has edged up.
These findings come from a new Gallup Poll Social Series survey, conducted Oct. 12-15.