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. Read more