Poll: Support for stricter gun laws up sharply

Fifty-five percent of Americans say they want laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter than they are now, a distinct rise of eight percentage points from 2014. Fewer Americans than last year want the laws to be less strict, and the proportion who want the laws to stay the same has also declined slightly.

In 2007, the year of the Virginia Tech massacre, the percentage of Americans who favored stricter laws on gun sales dropped to a bare majority (51%) for the first time in several years. Since then, support for stricter laws had stayed under 50%, except in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. At that point, 58% of Americans said they were in favor of stricter laws on gun sales. Although support for stricter laws receded after those shootings, in which Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adults, it has yet to return to the 44% level it was at before that tragedy.