Support For Gun Control Unchanged After Aurora Shooting

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AP
AP

Public opinion on gun control remains virtually unchanged in the wake of the Aurora shooting, according to a Pew poll released Monday afternoon.

The survey, conducted a week after the July 20 mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, found that 47 percent of adults say it's more important to control gun ownership, while 46 percent say it's more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns. The numbers are nearly identical to an April 2012 survey in which 45 percent said gun control was a priority, and 49 percent said gun rights were.

That lack of change is consistent with reactions to the 2011 shooting at an event held by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, neither of which moved the needle of public opinion.

Americans were also unlikely to see the Aurora shooting as representative of a broader societal problem, with 67 percent saying such shootings were "just the isolated acts of troubled individuals."

Support for stricter gun control as a principle has declined since the early 1990s, but individual proposals may still be able to attract support:

For example, a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in January 2011, immediately after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson, Ariz., found that 65 percent of Americans opposed a ban on the sale of all handguns. Yet on the same survey, nearly as many supported a nationwide ban on "assault weapons" (63 percent) and a nationwide ban on "high-capacity magazines" (63 percent).

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill Monday to limit online sales of ammunition. President Obama has not yet said whether he supports the effort.

The Pew Research Center survey surveyed 1,010 adults by live telephone interview between July 26 and July 29. The poll has a 3.6 percent margin of error.

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