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Support for Tough Gun Laws Down Since Newtown

Support for Tough Gun Laws Down Since Newtown

By Scott Conroy - September 20, 2013

After failing to pass new gun control legislation in the wake of last year's elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Congress has shown little appetite for trying again after this week's killing of 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

According to a new Gallup poll, the American public has also lost some of its enthusiasm for such measures.

In the survey conducted in the two days following the latest mass shooting, public support for new efforts to restrict access to firearms has dropped since the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.

Forty-nine percent of respondents in the poll said that they support stricter laws covering the sale of firearms, which is down from 58 percent after the December 2012 massacre.

In the new poll, the failure of the mental health system to identify individuals who are a danger to others was cited as the top reason -- cited by 48 percent of respondents -- for mass shootings in the United States; 40 percent attributed the problem to easy access to guns. Drug use was considered the third most significant factor (37 percent), while violence in movies, video games and music lyrics was fourth (32 percent).

The Gallup poll was conducted Sept. 17-18 and had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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