According to a USA Today/Gallup poll taken Dec. 19-22, days after the Newtown tragedy, only 44 percent of those
surveyed are in favor of banning the manufacture, sale, or possession of those semi-automatic rifles known popularly – although incorrectly – as “assault weapons.” Fifty-one percent are opposed to a ban on them.
The number opposed to a handgun ban rockets to a record-high 74 percent. Conversely, the 24 percent in favor of a handgun ban is the lowest recorded since Gallupfirst asked that question in 1959.
The only proposed ban that seems to have any public traction would be one outlawing the new manufacture or sale of detachable high-capacity ammunition magazines – generally those that hold more than 10 rounds. That number stands
at 62 percent in favor.
USA Today/Gallup also says 92 percent of respondents, up from 83 percent in 1999, favor laws that require people attempting to purchase guns at gun shows, including gun dealers, to undergo background checks. The NRA
claims that closing the “gun show loophole” would lead to a requirement that any private firearm transfer would require a background check.
Finally, the new poll also finds that a record-high 47 percent of Americans favor passing new gun laws, up from 35 percent in 2011. However, since Gallup first asked this question in 2000, majorities have consistently preferred enforcing the current laws more strictly without passing new laws.
Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 19-22, 2012, with a random sample of 1,038 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Gallup says it has 95 percent confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
- Dr. Gatling