Percent Favoring Stricter Gun Control Continues to Drop, Remains at Record-Low

Americans' support for stricter gun control laws continues to erode, according to Gallup's annual Crime Poll, conducted October 7-10. The 44% of Americans in favor of stricter gun laws tied the record-low last year, and is far below the high of 78% recorded in the first year the question was asked in 1990. The decline from 78% to the current 44% over the past two decades has been gradual but consistent. It has been accompanied by an increase in the percentage of Americans who are in favor of keeping gun control laws as they are, from 17% in 1990 to 42% in 2010. The percent who seek less strict gun control laws has remained fairly steady over the same span, and now rests at 12%.

Recorded from an earlier date, the percent who say there should be a law banning the possession of handguns except by the police and other authorized persons has also gone down significantly, from 60% in 1959 to 29% today.


According to Gallup, political affiliation plays a strong role in views on gun control laws, with liberals and Democrats far more likely to support stricter control than conservatives and Republicans. More than 6 in 10 liberals and Democrats favor stricter gun control laws, while only 31% and 26% of conservatives and Republicans, respectively, take that stand.

Although political affiliation appears to be correlated to views on gun control, "0nly 1% of Americans mention gun control as America's most important problem at this time," and Gallup concludes that despite "majority support for stricter gun laws among both Democrats and liberals, it appears that there will not be pressure to make this a high-priority issue for the leaders of these political groups in the months ahead."

Nick Haas (nihaas@umich.edu)
SSDAN Office

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