Support For Gun Control Swells After Elementary School Shooting

Support for stricter gun safety laws rose in the aftermath of the tragic shooting last week at Sandy Hook elementary school, according to a poll from the Huffington Post/ YouGov.

Generally, the public has become more and more inclined to support looser gun laws over the years. A 2010 Gallup poll found that only 44 percent wanted stricter gun laws, while 54 percent hoped to see more lax restrictions. But the massacre in Newtown seems to have swayed public opinion, however briefly, in favor of more restrictions. Here are some of the most important numbers from Huffington Post’s poll:

  • 50 percent say gun control laws should be more strict, while only 14 percent say they should be less strict. 29 percent support no change.
  • 51 percent support banning semi-automatic weapons, and 54 percent would like to see magazine clips for such weapons made illegal.
  • 46 percent believe that stricter gun laws could prevent mass shootings. Only 34 percent think mass shootings could be prevented by more private citizens carrying guns.
  • After a mass shooting, it’s the right time to have a conversation about gun control, according to 44 percent. Forty three percent disagree.

On Monday afternoon, ABC released similar results, finding that 54 percent support stricter gun laws, while 59 percent would be in favor of a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips. White, blue-collar men are the biggest opponents to gun safety laws, the poll finds.

These numbers don’t quite constitute a mandate for gun safety laws, but they do indicate that the public is most receptive to such a conversation when human cost of loose gun laws is the public consciousness. Collective memory can fade quickly, however. After the shooting at a high school in Columbine, CO, 66 percent supported stricter gun laws — a number that fell, in just three years, by more than 10 points.