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Support for banning handgun ownership peaked at 60% in 1959. Now only 19% favor a ban, which is an all-time low and down six points in the past year, according to a Gallup report.
U.S. residents' support of stricter gun control has fallen five percentage points this year to 52%, the lowest since 2014. However, 35% of adults think laws covering the sale of firearms should remain the same and 11% favor less strict laws, according to a report by Gallup.
Since 1990, calls for stricter gun control have spiked in the wake of prominent mass shootings but seem to lessen as the memory of each tragic event fades. The decline in support for stricter gun laws this year was mostly due to a 14-point drop among Republicans, to 22%. This was the group's lowest support on record, Gallup says.The decline also was impacted by a 15-point plunge among independents, to 45%.
However, Democrats' desire for more restrictive gun laws jumped up to 91%, according to the report.
When broken down further, Black Democrats are more likely than white, Hispanic Democrats to say gun violence is a big problem, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Low Support for Handgun Ban
Gallup also measured public support for a complete ban on handguns in the U.S. for all but the police and other authorized persons since 1980.Support for banning citizens' ownership of handguns peaked at 60%, the initial measure, in 1959. After that, it never rose to the majority level again and has been below 30% since 2008. In the 2021 poll,19% favoring the ban is at an all-time low and down six points in the past year, the report says.
Currently, 14% of independents think there should be a ban on handguns, a 16-point decline since 2019. Few Republicans (6%) favor a ban while 40% of Democrats do, the report contends.
In fact, 42 states have banned cities and counties from passing stricter gun regulations. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Colorado—are the only states that allow local governments to pass gun ordinances that are tighter than state restrictions, according to a Stateline story. Some Democratic lawmakers in the other 42 states are considering whether to overturn their preemption gun laws.
Gallup has been tracking the public's views on this measure since 1990 when the crime rate was high and a record 78% of U.S. residents supported stricter laws for gun sales.
For more information from Gallup’s 2021 report click here.
Andre Claudio is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.