Despite more shootings, less than half of Americans want stronger gun laws

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Despite more shootings, less than half of Americans want stronger gun laws
MARYSVILLE, WA - OCTOBER 31: A sign is pictured at a memorial at Marysville-Pilchuck High School on October 31, 2014 in Marysville, Washington. The Marysville community continues to recover after last week's school shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School that has left four dead and two hospitalized. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)


Less than half of all Americans support stricter gun laws.

Only 47 percent of Americans support stronger restrictions on firearm purchases, a recent Gallup poll found. An even larger majority is in favor of handgun possession.

Just under 40 percent feel that gun laws should be kept as they are, and 14 percent say they should be loosened, the pollster found. The number is down significantly from only two years ago.

But the drop in those favoring stricter gun laws is most pronounced.

In 2013, following the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting, 58 percent of those surveyed by Gallup wanted stronger gun measures.

Those in favor of tighter laws surrounding firearms have now dropped to near historic lows. Only 43 percent of those surveyed supported stronger measures back in 2011.

This drop came despite an increasing number of mass shootings, active shooter reports and other high-profile incidents with firearms in the past two years.

In just the past two months alone, a suburban Seattle teen shot multiple people dead at school before taking his own life and gunman have opened fire at police in multiple incidents across the country – including Eric Frein, who then went on the run for 48 days before being captured last week by authorities.

Support for stricter gun laws remains strong among Democrats (71 percent), but has dropped significantly since peaking at 79 percent in 2012, according to Gallup.

Only 29 percent of Republicans want stronger gun controls. About one-third of Independents agree.

The numbers have returned to averages over the past decade after spiking in the wake of the Newtown shooting. Support for stronger gun laws is down across all demographics, Gallup said.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, 73 percent of those surveyed feel there should be no ban on handguns. This number has steadily risen since Gallup first asked in 1959 and only 60 percent of respondents called for the weapons to be outlawed.

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