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May 8, 2009

Polls Show Fading Support for Gun Control

A number of recent polls show that Americans are growing increasingly less supportive of new restrictions to regulate firearms.

The Houston Chronicle reported this 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."

Here are results from some recent polls:

ABC News-Washington Post (conducted in April): "For the first time in ABC/Post polls, a clear majority of Americans, 57 percent, don't think stricter gun laws would in fact reduce violent crime. And 61 percent — a new high, and again the first substantial majority — say enforcement of existing gun laws would accomplish more than passing new, stricter ones."

Pew Research Center (April): For the first time in a Pew Research survey, nearly as many people believe it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns (45 percent) than to control gun ownership (49 percent). As recently as a year ago, 58 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership while 37 percent said it was more important to protect the right to own guns.

NBC News-Wall Street Journal (conducted April 23-26): 53 percent of Americans said they favor "a law to ban the sale of assault weapons and semiautomatic rifles," compared to 75 percent in 1991.

CNN (April): 39 percent of Americans said they favor stricter gun laws, compared to 54 percent in 2001.

Gallup (October – released in April): 49 percent of Americans said that laws covering the sale of firearms should be made stricter, compared 78 percent in 1990.

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