A new survey from Gallup reveals what right-wing politicians and the NRA continue to deny: Americans want tougher gun laws.The survey, released on October 19, found that there has been a sharp increase, since 2014, in the number of Americans who say they want stricter laws governing firearm sales.
Fifty-five percent of those surveyed now say that those laws need to be made tougher, an increase of eight points from a year ago. In addition, the number of those who say that laws regulating gun sales should be less strict has declined. Thirty-three percent of respondents say that the laws should be left as they are.
In 2000, tougher gun sale laws were supported by 62 percent of those surveyed. Despite a string of highly publicized mass shootings, that number had declined to 44 percent by 2010. After a spike following the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, those supporting stronger controls on gun sales again fell to below 50 percent. This most recent poll was conducted between October 7-11, on the heels of the shooting at Umpqua Community College, so of course the NRA and their political allies will say that the responses were due to emotion over the incident.
It should come as no surprise that it’s Democrats and Independents whose views have changed the most on guns. According to Gallup, the number of Democrats who support restrictions on sales has climbed by six points since 2014, from 71 to 77 percent. The biggest change came among Independents, whose opinion that stricter laws are needed jumped from 45 to 56 percent over the past year.
And Republicans? Of course they are behind the curve, with two percent fewer now calling for tougher laws compared to 2014 – 27 percent this year versus 29 percent last year. Because the only way to stop Obama is a good Republican with a gun, or something like that.
It’s also no surprise that those who do not own firearms are now supporting stronger gun laws. That number has gone from 57 to 64 percent. But what may be surprising to some is that more gun owners are also supporting tougher laws now. Their numbers have increased from 30 to 36 percent in the past year.
Surveys such as this one show up the lie that comes from politicians like John Boehner and others who are doing the bidding of the gun lobby in Washington when they say they are there to represent “the American people.” The American people have been telling Washington to do something about guns for a while now, in terms of things like stronger background checks. But Congress continues doing the business of the NRA, the public be damned.
Featured image via Michael Saechang/Flickr