Poll: Spike in dissatisfaction over gun laws

TINLEY PARK, IL - DECEMBER 17: A customer shops for a pistol at Freddie Bear Sports sporting goods store on December 17, 2012 in Tinley Park, Illinois. Americans purchased a record number of guns in 2012 and gun makers have reported a record high in demand. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass school shooting in Connecticut . (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson

A month after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., nearly four in 10 Americans say they are dissatisfied with current gun laws and want them strengthened, according to a new poll out by Gallup/USA Today.

At 38 percent, the survey reported a 13-point spike from last year in those Americans who expressed were unhappy with current laws and supported stricter ones. A 2012 Gallup poll showed just 25 percent expressing that attitude.

Those who say they are satisfied with current gun laws continue to outpoll those who are dissatisfied, according to the survey, although that gap has narrowed significantly since last year: In 2012, 50 percent of adults said they were satisfied with national gun laws while 25 percent were dissatisfied and wanted stronger rules; this year, the margin between the two positions is just five points, at 43-38 percent.

Five percent of Americans said this year they were dissatisfied with current laws and want them to be less strict, down from eight percent last year.

Dissatisfaction with current gun laws and the desire for stricter controls spread across most groups, the survey shows, but the shift was particularly pronounced among a handful of demographics: Among both men and non-whites there was a 17-point jump in this view; among Democrats, there was a 22 percent surge; and there was a jump in 18 points among those 18-34 years old.

The USA Today/Gallup survey was conducted from Jan. 7-10 among 1,011 adults and had a sampling error of +/- 4 percentage points. 

A December poll from CBS News also showed a spike in support for stronger gun laws.

Vice President Joe Biden, who has been exploring ways to reduce gun violence through a White House task force, said last week he would present his recommendations to President Obama on Tuesday.