The number of Americans who believe the United States should have stricter laws on firearms sales rose by 8 percentage points over the past year, with 55 percent of respondents to a Gallup poll released on Monday preferring tighter regulations on sales.
That finding comes even as gun ownership remains common across the nation, with some 43 percent of respondents telling Gallup that they had a firearm in their house or on their property.
The findings come less than a month after a shooting at an Oregon community college left 10 dead, including the gunman – the deadliest U.S. mass shooting in two years.
In its poll, Gallup asked 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, if they felt the laws on the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict or stay the same as they are now.
While many U.S. states require retailers of guns to perform background checks on potential buyers before selling them weapons, an exception that opponents call the “gun-show loophole” waives the background check requirement for sales from one private citizen to another.
Gun control advocates maintain that tightened background checks reduces gun violence, including the number of women killed in domestic violence situations and the number of police officers shot while on duty.
Pro-gun groups say increased background checks could infringe on Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
Support for tighter restrictions on gun sales has generally risen since Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children and six educators at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school in December 2012, Gallup said. Prior to that incident, just 44 percent of Americans backed tighter regulation of gun sales, a low that has not been seen since the massacre.
Gallup poll results were based on telephone interviews conducted from Oct. 7 to 11. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
A U.S. appeals court on Monday upheld the core provisions of gun control laws passed in New York and Connecticut after the Newtown massacre that banned possession of semiautomatic rifles.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales)