The Corner

Guns and Gallup

Gallup is out with a new analysis headlined, “Americans’ Desire for Stricter Gun Laws Up Sharply.” That contradicts most of what I’ve been reading on this subject over the last few years, so I was interested to see whether Gallup has really identified a trend. I’d say: not yet.

Fifty-five percent of the public thinks that “the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict.” That’s up from 47 percent last year. But it’s lower than the 58 percent who gave that answer in December 2012, right after the Newtown massacre. Gallup frequently found numbers higher than 55 during George W. Bush’s presidency.

A large majority of the public–72 percent–continues to oppose a ban on the civilian ownership of handguns. The gun-rights side has lost one point since last year, and the anti-gun side gained one. Again, though, to get a sense of what the larger trend is, note that public support for that ban was higher in every poll taken during the Bush presidency.

It is clear that the public has grown more pro-gun over the last few decades. Whether Gallup’s good news for gun controllers amounts to a blip, or something more, we don’t know.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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