POLITICS
12/16/2015 09:38 am ET

Most Americans No Longer Support A Ban On Assault Weapons

New polling finds a "broadly based trend" away from the proposal.

Americans’ support for banning assault weapons, once near-universal, is now at a record low, a new survey shows.

President Barack Obama renewed his call for such a ban earlier this month, saying in a speech that the U.S. needs “to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.”

But in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Wednesday morning, just 45 percent want to ban the weapons, down from 80 percent in 1994.

Support for such a ban has decreased in the past two decades, though a majority still backed one as recently as two years ago.

“The increase in opposition to banning assault weapons since 2013 peaks in some groups -- up 18 points among strong conservatives, 17 points among higher-income earners and 16 points in the generally more liberal Northeast. But it’s a broadly based trend,” pollster Gary Langer noted.

Just a few groups, including Democrats, women and African-Americans, still support a ban.

A recent New York Times/CBS News survey also found majority opposition to an assault weapon ban for the first time in at least two decades.

While assault-style rifles were used in the San Bernardino, California, shooting, most gun violence doesn't involve rifles of any kind. Just over half of Americans in the NYT/CBS poll said laws governing gun sales in general should be made stricter, as did 55 percent in a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll.

The Washington Post/ABC poll surveyed 1,002 adults from Dec. 10 to 13 using live interviewers to reach both landline and cell phones.

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