Poll: Record Number of Americans Oppose Gun Bans

76 percent oppose handgun ban, 61 percent oppose assault weapons ban

AP

A poll published on Wednesday shows record opposition to gun bans from the American public.

The survey, conducted by Gallup, found 76 percent of respondents thought there should not be a law banning civilian ownership of handguns, a four-point increase from last year and an all-time high in the 57 years the question has been asked.

The poll also found that 61 percent of respondents are "against" a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles—often referred to as "assault weapons"—, a ten-point increase since the last time the poll was taken and an all-time high since Gallup began asking the question in 1996.

Support for the gun bans are at all-time lows. The poll shows only 27 percent support for a ban on handgun ownership, a three-point drop from last year. It also shows support for an assault weapons ban at 36 percent, an eight-point decline from the last time the question was asked.

The new poll reflects a trend of support for gun rights among Americans. Last December, a New York Times poll showed a shift against assault weapons bans despite the paper's historic front-page editorial in support of such measures. Last September, a CNN poll showed a majority of Americans believed, for the first time, that guns are not too "easy to get."

Despite the unprecedented shift in polling, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has staked out gun control positions that one of her advisors labeled "more forceful" than "any other person who ever seriously ran for president." Her positions have caused other Democrats to "freak out" and caused her campaign to worry they could hurt her in southern states.

Leaked audio first reported by the Washington Free Beacon revealed that Clinton said the Supreme Court was "wrong on the Second Amendment," a reference to the landmark Heller decision striking down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C. Clinton has also publicly said that Australia's mandatory gun buyback program was "worth considering" in the United States, a statement she walked back soon afterward. Clinton has made an assault weapons ban the centerpiece of her gun policy agency.

The Gallup poll asked respondents if they would tighten or loosen gun laws, and whether or not they owned a firearm.

It found a majority of people, 55 percent, want "more strict" laws, a figure unchanged from last year. It found 40 percent of people have a gun on their property, a number that is down three points from last year and at odds with a recent Pew poll showing all-time high gun ownership.

The survey was taken between October 5-9 and collected responses from 1,017 adults.