Poll: Support for gun control still lower than before Obama took office

The public’s attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Currently, 49% say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns…

However, support for gun control remains lower than before Obama took office. In April 2008, 58% said it was more important to control gun ownership; just 37% prioritized protecting gun rights…

There is widespread public opposition to a ban on handguns: Two-thirds (67%) oppose banning the possession of handguns, except by law enforcement officers. Far more favor banning bullets designed to explode or penetrate bullet-proof vests (56%) and high capacity ammunition clips (53%). Opinion is divided over whether to ban semi-automatic guns – 44% favor such a ban, while 49% are opposed.