WASHINGTON — Stronger gun laws are favored by 58 percent of Americans, the highest percentage in eight years, according to a national poll conducted after 20 elementary school students were gunned down in Newtown, Connecticut.
The results of the USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday show 58 percent of respondents favor making laws covering the sale of firearms more strict. That’s the highest level since 2004, when 60 percent favored stronger gun laws. Thirty-four percent called for weaker laws, the same level as in 2004.
In October 2011, 43 percent favored stricter gun laws while 44 percent said the laws should remain unchanged.
Polls show increased support for gun laws
Gallup’s survey is the latest poll indicating increased support for new gun regulations following the Dec. 14 killings of six educators in addition to 20 first-grade children. The gunman also shot and killed his mother and killed himself, police said.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken Dec. 14-16 showed 54 percent favoring stricter gun laws and 43 percent opposing them. In a January 2011 ABC/Post poll, 52 percent supported stronger laws, with 45 percent in opposition.
The Gallup survey found 92 percent of respondents favoring background checks of all gun purchasers, including those at gun shows, and 62 percent supporting a ban on the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines. By 51 percent to 44 percent, respondents opposed a ban on assault weapons.
Vice President Joe Biden is leading a White House task force examining gun regulations and other issues such as mental health and violent entertainment. The National Rifle Association, the leading pro-gun rights group, has proposed stationing armed guards in the nation’s schools.
The poll of 1,038 adults was taken Dec. 19-22 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.