Americans increasingly favor tougher gun laws by margins that have grown wider after a drumbeat of shootings in recent months. They also are pessimistic that change will happen anytime soon, reports a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Nearly two-thirds of respondents support for stricter laws, with majorities favoring nationwide bans on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons such as the AR-15 and on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more bullets. The percentage who want such laws is the highest since the AP-GfK poll started asking the question in 2013, about 10 months after the in Newtown, Ct., school schooting that killed 20 children and six educators.
High-profile shootings appear to have taken a toll on Americans’ sense of safety. Strong majorities of those polled expressed some degree of concern that they or a relative will be a victim of gun violence or a mass shooting. A majority of respondents expressed a desire for a national approach to gun laws, rather than a patchwork of state laws or local regulations. Less than half of respondents said they believe gun laws will actually get tougher in the coming year. Women and those who live in cities and suburbs are more likely to support gun restrictions than men and those who live in rural areas. Strong majorities support requiring background checks for people buying firearms at gun shows and through other private sales. They also back a ban on gun sales to people on the federal terror watch list even if they have not been convicted of a crime.