Gun Control Debate: Support For Stricter Gun Laws Drops

A new CBS poll claims that now only 47% of Americans want tighter gun laws; a significant 10% drop from polls taken just after the Newtown, Conn., shooting in December. The poll also reported that 39% of Americans want to keep the laws as they are now, with an additional 11% in favor of less strict gun laws.

Similar polls conducted immediately after the Sandy Hook tragedy reported that 57% of Americans were in favor of stronger gun laws. A similar event occurred after the Columbine shootings in which a strong bump in favor of more gun control rose immediately after the shooting, but then ultimately declined in the years after.

After the spike in pro-gun control sentiment, the NRA began quickly gaining new members — which according to reports from Fox News, was as high as 8,000 new members a day, for a certain time period. In February, President Obama’s State of the Union showed his administration’s desire to target gun control issues.

More recently, the Obama administration expressed support for universal background checks but explicitly does not support a national registry of legal gun owners. Legally, the federal government is required to destroy evidence of background checks within 24 hours, in order to prevent a registry or record from being created. GOP strategist Karl Rove expressed a common fear among Second Amendment supporters that the federal government might establish some kind of national gun registry.

These poll reports come not long after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that the Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) assault weapons ban would not be discussed due to a lack of support.

After the Easter Recess, the Senate will be discussing new gun control legislation, despite the previous exclusion of Feinstein’s assault weapons ban. The new gun bill will supposedly include mental health provisions, universal background checks, and new gun trafficking laws. Further amendments are expected to be tacked on to the new bill which include magazine limit restrictions and specific assault weapon bans. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have all threatened to filibuster any further gun legislation in fear of these additional amendments, as addressed in a letter to Reid.

Contrary to a substantial decline in support for new laws regarding firearms, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has shifted some attention from his anti-soda campaign to focus on tighter gun control legislation using an advertising campaign that targets swing vote Senators. Shortly after talk of the advertising campaign began, Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor’s (D-AR) twitter feed read, “I’ve gotten a lot of questions about NYC Mayor gun ad. My response? I don’t take gun advice from the Mayor of NYC. I listen to Arkansans.” Critics have suggested that Bloomberg's anti-gun plans may backfire due to a lack of support from gun-friendly Democrats

Read more about the CBS poll here.