A record-low 26 percent of Americans favor a ban on the possession of handguns in the U.S. other than by police and other authorized people, reports a new Gallup survey. When Gallup first asked in 1959, 60 percent favored banning handguns. Since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years. This year’s annual Gallup crime poll found support for a variety of gun-control measures at historical lows.or the first time, Gallup found greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53 percent to 43 percent. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57 percent for and 42 percent against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. When the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views.
Support for the broader concept of making gun laws “more strict” is at its lowest by one percentage point (43 percent). Forty-four percent prefer that gun laws be kept as they are now, while 11 percent favor less strict laws. As recently as 2007, a majority of Americans still favored stricter laws, which had been the dominant view since Gallup first asked the question in 1990.