POLITICS

Gun Restriction Polls Show Support For Obama's Proposals

12/19/2012 01:54 pm ET | Updated Dec 19, 2012

Calling on Congress Wednesday to enact specific gun control laws, President Barack Obama cited widespread support for such changes, including a ban on assault weapons, a move to close the "loophole" that allows buyers at gun shows to bypass background checks, and a potential limitation on high-capacity ammunition clips.

After acknowledging the nation's tradition of gun ownership, Obama told reporters at the press conference, "I am also betting that the majority, the vast majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible few from buying a weapon of war."

While polling shows that while a wide majority of Americans believe they have the right to own a gun, many in fact may also be open to some restrictions.

Seven in 10 Americans believe the Second Amendment allows for individual gun ownership, according to a 2009 CNN/ORC poll. But of those respondents, 70 percent said they supported "some restrictions on gun ownership," while still maintaining the right to keep and bear arms. An AP-GfK survey conducted after the shootings in Aurora, Colo., this August found more mixed results, with 49 percent of Americans saying gun laws infringe on the right to bear arms, and 43 percent saying that they did not.

Some specific proposals on gun control -- including the three mentioned by Obama -- are supported by a majority of Americans.

Polls taken in the aftermath of the Aurora and Newtown shootings show more than half of Americans would support a ban on semi-automatic weapons.

A ban on high-capacity clips is also favored, receiving slightly broader support.

Less polling has been conducted on restricting purchases at gun shows, but several surveys sponsored by an anti-gun group suggest that a change would be widely approved.

In a January 2011 poll sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 89 percent of people supported requiring buyers at gun shows to pass a criminal background check. Support for closing the gun show loophole has remained relatively steady -- a 2008 poll for the same group found that 87 percent would favor required background checks.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the number of people in a CNN/ORC survey who supported some restrictions on gun ownership

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