The Gallup polling organization found a new low of 44 percent of Americans saying the laws covering firearm sales should be made more strict. That is down 5 points in the last year and 34 points from the high of 78 percent recorded in 1990, the first time the question was asked. Americans are as likely to say the laws governing gun sales should be kept as they are now (43 percent) as to say they should be made more strict. Until this year, Gallup had always found a significantly higher percentage advocating stricter laws. Some 12 percent of Americans believe the laws should be less strict, tied for the highest Gallup has measured for this response.
The survey showed a new low in the percentage of Americans favoring a ban on handgun possession except by the police and other authorized persons, a question that dates to 1959. Only 28 percent now favor such a ban. The high point in support for a handgun-possession ban was 60 percent in the initial measurement in 1959. Since then, less than a majority has been in favor, and support has been below 40 percent since December 1993. Though the trends on both gun-sales and the gun-possession measures have moved in a slightly more pro-gun direction this year compared to last, both trends were moving in that direction during the latter part of the Bush administration, which strongly supported gun rights.