Poll: More Americans oppose stricter gun control

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WASHINGTON — About half of all Americans oppose stricter gun control laws, a larger segment of the population than those who support tighter controls on guns, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday.

Nearly three weeks after the latest mass shooting claimed the lives of nine people, 52% of Americans now oppose stricter gun control laws, 6% more than the 46% of Americans who support such laws. That’s a wider gap than in June when CNN last surveyed Americans on gun control, finding that the public was equally split at 49% on the issue.

The advantage of those opposed to stricter gun control laws over those in favor is outside of the poll’s 3-point margin of error.

But the issue of whether guns can make the public safer remains deeply divisive. Americans are nearly equally split between whether guns in public places make those places safer, less safe or don’t make a difference.

Despite those divisions, most say that nationwide gun laws should only be changed with the support of most Americans and most gun owners.

About seven in 10 Americans believe it is important for most Americans to support proposed changes to gun laws before those changes are implemented. And 61% said the same of gun owners.

About half of Americans said it is important for both parties to come to a consensus before making any changes to existing gun laws.

Other polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans support expanding background checks to private sales and sales at gun shows, where people can buy guns without undergoing a background check.

There are some outliers when it comes to Americans’ overall opposition to tighter laws restricting access to guns.

Most non-white Americans — 55% — support tighter gun control laws, while 43% stand opposed.

There is also a gender gap when it comes to support for tighter gun control laws. While 14% more men oppose gun control restrictions, women are nearly equally split on the question with 49% in favor and 48% opposed to such legislation.

And those with a college degree are also more likely to support gun control legislation: 52% of those Americans support stricter gun control while 46% oppose tighter measures.

The largest split is a partisan one: 76% of Republicans oppose stricter gun control compared to just 25% of Democrats. A majority of Republicans say guns in public places make those places safer, while most Democrats believe the opposite, that guns make public spaces less safe.

And two-thirds of Americans who live in rural areas oppose tighter gun control laws.