Poll: Most oppose assault weapon ban
A new poll indicates that more and more people now have guns in their homes, and that America's attitude towards gun-control may be shifting.
According to a new Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans report having a gun on their property, up from 41 percent a year ago.
It's the highest number Gallup has recorded since 1993.
The poll also found that 53 percent of Americans oppose a ban on assault rifles and semiautomatic guns - the first time more have opposed than supported a ban.
It's difficult to monitor gun ownership in this country, and the latest increase in self-reported gun ownership could reflect more of a change in Americans' comfort with stating publicly that they have a gun, than in a real increase in gun ownership.
Even after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded earlier this year in an Tucson shooting rampage, the cries for tougher gun laws have quieted on Capitol Hill.
The 10-year assault weapons ban signed by President Clinton expired in 2004. Polls like this one only reinforce the growing sense of reluctance among Democrats to, once again, take the issue on.
More recent legislation proposed on Capitol Hill focused mostly on loosening already existing gun laws.
President Obama has said little about the subject publicly, frustrating gun violence prevention advocates like Colin Goddard, who was shot four times during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
"That morning changed my whole perspective on this country, my community," Goddard told CBS News correspondent Whit Johnson.
He said the words "gun control" have become a political taboo, and a distraction from much-needed reforms.
"It took me nearly losing my life to realize that we don't register guns, we don't license gun owners, we don't even do background checks on everybody," Goddard said.
But the number of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. has dropped dramatically, from more than 18,000 in 1993, to fewer than 9,000 in 2010 - numbers the NRA is quick to point out.
"Those rates are the lowest record in 43 years while gun ownership is at an all time high," Chris Cox, chief lobbyist and principal political strategist for the National Rifle Association, told CBS News. "It really destroys the arguments from the gun control community that more guns means more crime."
But what remains to be seen is how the debate will be shaped going forward by new gun owners like Katie Barbour
At a shooting range in Virginia, Barbour fired a gun for just the second time.
"I was never around guns my whole entire life," she told Johnson.
Katie went to the range with her boyfriend two weeks ago. Now they're handgun owners.
"I don't really think I am comfortable with carrying a gun around 24/7 strapped to my side yet, but I feel comfortable in a place like this," Barbour said.
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