Poll: Gun Laws Face Growing Public Dissatisfaction

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Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by Attorney General Eric Holder, gestures as he speaks during a meeting with Sportsmen and Women and Wildlife Interest Groups and member of his cabinet, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. Biden is holding a series of meetings this week as part of the effort he is leading to develop policy proposals in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) | AP

Dissatisfaction with the laxness of gun laws is at a 12-year high, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, although Americans remain more likely to say that they're satisfied with current gun legislation.

Following a year marked by several high-profile shootings, the percentage of Americans saying they were dissatisfied and wanted stricter laws rose by 13 points, from 25 percent in January 2012 to 38 percent this month.

Forty-three percent said they were satisfied with current laws, down from half in 2012. The number calling for looser gun laws fell from 8 percent to 5 percent.

"It's yet another sign that the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December have given Americans pause on the issue, at least in the short term," Gallup's Lydia Saad said.

Support for stricter gun laws rose among most demographics, including both parties and independents. Although the wide majority of Republicans did not support such laws, the percentage who did grew by 6 points in the last year, from 12 percent to 18 percent.

The widest shift in opinion came among Democrats, whose support for stricter gun laws jumped 22 points. A majority of 64 percent now support such measures. Men, non-whites and adults under 35 or over 54 saw similar increases.

Support for new gun control measures is far from universal, with approval varying sharply depending on the specific restriction. Most Americans oppose a ban on handguns, for instance, while proposals to expand background checks or limit high-capacity clips -- both suggested by President Barack Obama -- receive wider support.

The USA Today/Gallup poll surveyed 1,011 adults between Jan. 7 and Jan. 10, with a 4 percent margin of error.

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