Americans' support for stricter gun laws still on the decline

Anti-gun advocates display posters on March 18, 2008 in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

In the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the debate around tighter gun control quickly became a national conversation. 

But according to Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport, despite all the mass shootings over the past decade since the Columbine shooting, there's been a decrease in the amount of Americans who want stricter gun laws. 

Newport says "the trend has generally been down, down, down."

But as was with the case after the Columbine shooting, the immediate reaction to the tragic event may create a temporary upswing in that number. "The real question," says Newport, "will be how long that will last going forward."

Americans were also polled about their thoughts on what would make a difference in preventing these types of mass shootings.

In that polling, the number one action was to increase police presence at schools while banning assault weapons came in at fourth and increased government spending on mental health came in at number two. 

About the author

Frank Newport, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief at Gallup and appears regularly on Marketplace.

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