WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A new survey finds that nearly a year after the Sandy Hook school shooting that prompted a nationwide debate on gun control, fewer than half of Americans now support such restrictions.
The CNN/ORC International survey finds that 49 percent of American support stricter gun control laws – down six percentage points (55 percent) from those who backed gun control in CNN polling in January.
The Wednesday poll was released on the same day that 911 tapes from the Newtown, Conn. school shooting were released.
The survey also shows that the intensity of gun control advocates has waned as well. In the January 2013 poll, 37 percent of Americans “strongly favored” stricter gun laws in comparison to the 27 percent who “strongly opposed” restrictions. That gap has almost completely disappeared over the past year, with strong opposition and support now at the same level.
Declining support for gun control over the past year has also been matched with record-breaking support for Second Amendment and gun rights advocates such as the National Rifle Association.
The 5-million member group’s political arm – the Political Victory Fund — reported raising $10.2 million by Sept. 30 – already crushing its $10 million goal for the entire year, and $1 million more than the group had pulled in for the entire 2012 calendar year.
In April, the Senate rejected a bipartisan proposal for expanded background checks and assault rifle restrictions by a vote of 54-46.
Democrats and gun control advocates have vowed to reintroduce gun control to the legislative table, but such action does not appear likely any time soon.
“I want everyone to understand — this is just the beginning. This is not the end,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in April.
Demographics also played a large role in support or opposition to gun control. Citizens living in large cities showed overwhelmingly larger support for gun control than those who did not, with areas in the South and Midwest remaining largely opposed to gun restrictions.
“Demographically speaking, the drop in support for stricter gun laws is mostly based on where people live, with a 10-point decline in the Midwest and a 15-point drop in urban areas having a lot to do with the overall decline nationally,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
Those polled in the Northeast and the South still remain largely in favor of stricter gun control laws.