The Newtown, Connecticut shooting may have altered the nation’s opinions on gun control laws. CBS News conducted a survey from December 14 to 16, asking 620 Americans what they now thought about control laws. CBS reports that “support for stricter gun control laws is now the highest it’s been in a decade and has surged 18 points since the spring of this year.”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Americans used to believe that shootings like in Newtown represented the actions of a single deranged individual and did not necessarily represent any large scale societal issues. This trend has reserved itself, finding America in a self-contemplative mood. Apparently, Americans have also decided to change their minds on gun control laws.
According to CBS 57 percent of Americans now believe gun control laws should be more strict, jumping up from a low of 39 percent in April of this year. CBS explains what other results they found:
“[T]hree in 10 think laws covering guns should be kept as they are. Only nine percent think gun laws should be less strict. Still, fewer than half of Americans (42 percent) think stricter gun laws would have helped prevent the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary. Thirty-six percent felt that way after the shooting of Giffords, but after the incident at Virginia Tech in 2007, more than half of Americans said tighter gun laws would have done a lot or a little to prevent that shooting.”
The results largely fell along political party lines, with Democrats increasingly wanting stricter gun control laws. Some Democrats have even called for the outright ban on guns. Republicans felt the reverse, and perhaps some of them would even support the idea to arm the teachers.
One thing I personally found “interesting” is that CBS started this survey the day of the shooting. This decision may have largely influenced the outcome, since their own results show that the shooting of then-Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona caused a spike in those supporting stricter gun controls before dropping off.
The Gallup poll may serve as a baseline to gauge the mood of the nation before this tragedy struck. Gallup conducts an annual Crime Poll and gun control is one of the topics they cover. The results just happened to be published on November 22, 2010, just 22 days for the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting:
For the second year in a row, a record-low 44% of Americans say laws governing the sale of firearms should be made more strict, while 42% say gun laws should be kept as they are now. Twelve percent say gun laws should be made less strict.
Americans’ support for stricter gun control laws has gradually declined over the last two decades, from 78% when this question was first asked in 1990 to 49% in 2008, and 44% in 2009 and again this year. As support for stricter gun laws has decreased, support for keeping gun laws as they are now has increased, from 17% in 1990 to 42% now. The percentage of Americans favoring less strict gun control laws has remained relatively stable over the last 20 years, and is now at 12%.
Do you believe that gun control laws should be made more strict, less strict, or be kept as they are now? Or perhaps you feel it’s too soon to decide on such a weighty matter?