A poll by USA Today and Gallup shows that the majority of Americans do not favor a ban on so-called assault weapons, contradicting assertions by the gun control lobby in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in Connecticut.
The poll, released Dec. 26, shows that 51% of the respondents are against such a ban while 44% say they favor a ban.
USA Today also reported that 58% of those responding also support stricter gun laws, without defining what that means. However, the newspaper also noted that 46% support enforcement of existing gun laws while 47% support passing new laws.
According to the poll, the numbers haven’t changed much on banning semi-automatics since the same question was asked late in 2011. In October of last year, 53% of the respondents said they opposed a ban, while 43% favored one.
The number has shifted dramatically, though, on how the public feels about enforcing existing gun laws as opposed to adopting new measures. Last year, the split was 60% in favor of enforcing existing laws, with only 35% calling for new laws.
This new poll result suggests that gun control advocates may have a tough time convincing Congress to ban semi-automatic rifles, which did not prove too useful in fighting crime the first time such a law was adopted during the Clinton administration.
That ban cost more than 50 anti-gunners their jobs in Congress in November 1994.
All of this came in the wake of the Newtown school shooting. For a few days, there was traction for pushing all manner of anti-gun initiatives, but as more facts emerged about the case, public emotion gave way to more rational discussion.
The gun prohibition lobby was not ready to surrender following the release of polling results. Dan Gross, head of the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told USA Today that “the gun lobby’s narrative has taken root and needs to be overcome.” “If the poll is accurate,” he said, “it shows we have a little work to do on that one.” Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that 92% of the respondents support background checks at gun shows, despite Justice Department surveys that revealed less than 1% of inmates convicted of gun-related crimes got their guns at gun shows.
Also, 62% favored a ban on original capacity magazines that hold up to 30 cartridges.