New poll published today shows Americans changing the way they think about gun control and gun ownership.
Gallup interviewed 1,017 adults in all 50 states over the phone between Oct. 12 and 15, with almost half of the respondents saying the U.S. needs stricter laws covering firearm sales, and the majority saying handguns are okay.
With regard to firearm sales, 47 said the U.S. needs stricter laws. That figure is down from 58 percent in 2012 after the Sandy Hook school shooting spurred a nationwide debate on gun ownership. Thirty-eight percent said laws should be kept as they are, and 14 percent say they should be less strict.
However, demographics attached to the beliefs have also changed. For democrats, support for stricter sales laws fell 8 percentage points — from 79 percent to 71 — and for republicans, support has fallen 10 percentage points — from 39 percent to 29.
However, democrats, liberals, nonwhites and women still favor stricter sales laws, but still fewer republicans, conservatives, independents and men favor them.
As for handgun ownership, a near record high of 73 percent say handguns should not be banned, but that has not always been the case.
In 1960, when Gallup first asked the question, 60 percent favored a ban on handguns, except for those carried by police officers and similar authorities. By 1975, that figure slipped to 41 percent.
Today, more like one in four still say handguns should be banned.