Poll finds more Americans favor gun control, fewer gun owners

A new survey taken in the wake of the Orlando shooting finds a majority of Americans favoring gun control measures and fewer gun owners.

Fifty-seven percent of those asked said laws covering gun sales should be more strict, according to poll by CBS News taken June 13-14. Eleven percent said they should be less strict and 29 percent said they should be kept as is.

Support for a nationwide ban on assault weapons has also jumped back up. Fifty-seven percent said they favor one whereas 38 percent oppose. Yet, that figure has fluctuated over the years.

Last December, after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, 44 percent favored a ban, which is down from 63 percent in 2011. Then in 2009, 54 percent favored one, 67 percent in 2000 and 78 percent in 1994. In the latter year, Congress approved a temporary ban on assault weapons.

An overwhelming majority, 89 percent, favored background checks for all gun buyers. That figure also includes the majority of gun owners, 82 percent, polled. Other surveys have found nearly identical estimates for background checks since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

Fifty-eight percent said they do not own a gun compared to 36 percent who said they or someone in their house has a firearm. Six percent said they didn’t know or did not answer.

Results about gun ownership parallel the findings of the 2014 General Social Survey, which showed that gun ownership has been steadily declining over the decades. Most recently, 32 percent of Americans saying they own a gun.

CBS News conducted the survey the day after a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others with an AR-style rifle and handgun inside a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The poll surveyed 1,001 people that included 255 who identify as Republicans, 320 as Democrats, and 426 as Independents. Alongside questions about guns, the survey measured the public’s opinion on the president’s and presidential candidate’s response to the shooting, and terrorism.

Comparatively, a survey by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News taken in the same timeframe had similar findings.

Fifty-one percent of those polled said they favored a ban on the sale of “semiautomatic firearms referred to as assault weapons.”

However, Americans were split down the middle about gun legislation, with 50 percent concerned about the government going too far and 47 percent worried about the government not doing enough.

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