WASHINGTON — After a steady string of mass shootings and a revival of the political fight over gun control, Americans are slightly more likely than they were two years ago to say gun laws should be made stricter, a new Associated Press-GfK poll found.

Despite the uptick in favor of tighter gun laws, Americans remain deeply divided along party, gender and geographic lines on an issue that has ricocheted into the presidential campaign. Eight in 10 Democrats favor stricter gun laws, while 6 in 10 Republicans want them left as they are or loosened.

Still, the results show the calls for tighter laws have some bipartisan appeal, with 37 percent of Republicans, including 31 percent of conservative Republicans, favoring stricter gun laws.

The new poll was taken two weeks after the shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, thrust the discussion of gun control into the country’s attention and the presidential campaign. Polls regularly find a rise in support for tighter gun laws after such shootings – although that support often levels off as the headlines fade.

In December 2013, one year after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., 52 percent of Americans said gun laws should be made tighter. That number was 58 percent in the new poll, while 27 percent said they think laws should be left as they are and 12 percent favored making gun laws less strict.

Over a third of Americans said gun laws should be made much stricter, up from 29 percent who said so in the 2013 poll.

And they were slightly less inclined to see laws limiting gun ownership as an infringement on the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Forty-five percent saw such laws as an infringement; 51 percent did not. In the 2013 poll, 50 percent said gun laws infringe on the right to bear arms and 47 percent said they did not.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans – 69 percent to 55 percent – to say gun laws are very or extremely important to them.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,027 adults was conducted online Oct. 15 to Oct. 19, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.