Polls Show Fading Support for Gun Control
MORE AMERICANS NOT SUPPORTIVE OF NEW LAWS . . . A number of recent polls show Americans are growing increasingly less supportive of new restrictions to regulate firearms. The Houston Chronicle reported last week that the shift in public opinion is so strong that a potential ban on so-called "assault weapons" -- once backed by 3 in 4 Americans -- "now rates barely 1 in 2." Said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll, "Every bit of data is showing us that Americans are getting more conservative about gun control." See results from five recent polls in NSSF's blog, Aiming for Accuracy. http://blog.nssf.org/] [url]http://blog.nssf.org/
The Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6409891.html
WASHINGTON — Amid a wave of publicity about drug-related gun violence along the Mexican border and police killings in U.S. cities, more Americans than ever oppose new government efforts to regulate guns.
Recent polls show shrinking support for new gun control measures and strong public sentiment for enforcing existing laws instead. So strong is the shift in public opinion that a proposed assault-weapons ban — once backed by three in four Americans — now rates barely one in two.
Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll, told reporters Tuesday that “every bit of data is showing us that Americans are getting more conservative about gun control.”
A CNN poll conducted in April found that 39 percent of Americans wanted stricter gun control laws, down from 50 percent in 2000. Another 46 percent said the gun laws should stay as they are, while 15 percent said they should be loosened — up from 9 percent in 2000.
Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, said the latest polls only confirm what his gun-rights group has been saying all along.
“The NRA has always been on the right side of this issue,” Arulanandam said. “There’s a realization that over 20,000 gun laws that are on the books are meaningless unless they are enforced. We have adequate gun laws on the books to address every situation.”
Even an assault-weapon ban is not the political “sure thing” it once was. An April poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that support for curbing the sale of assault weapons and semiautomatic rifles has dropped from 75 percent in 1991 to 53 percent today.
Elected officials in California and Pennsylvania have responded to the killings of four police officers in Oakland, Calif., and three in Pittsburgh by calling for restoration of the decade-long ban, which was law from 1994 to 2004. Gun control advocates also have pushed to revive the ban as a way to stem the flow of firearms smuggled from the U.S. into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, called diminished public support for gun control measures “a good thing.” He said the recent poll findings would help lawmakers “resist pressure from this administration to pass more gun control legislation.”
Gallup’s Newport said the growing opposition to gun control is “counterintuitive” because of the heavy media focus on the use of assault weapons to kill police officers and students, as well as coverage of cartel lawlessness.
“The NRA is in a pretty good position, public-opinion-wise,” Newport said.