The trouble with changing gun laws — in 1 chart

December 15, 2012

We'll have more to say in the near future on the politics of gun control and the possibility that the horror playing out in Newtown, Connecticut might have a real impact on the way in which we view the place for guns in our society.

But, in the meantime, there's one chart from Gallup that tells the story of the American public's attitude toward gun legislation over time. 

Here it is:

The desire for more strict laws has ebbed steadily in Gallup polling since its high of 78 percent in the early 1990s.  That erosion has picked up steam since 2000 when 66 percent of those tested said they preferred stricter gun laws while just 33 percent said they wanted the laws kept the same or made more lenient.  In 2010, just 44 percent wanted more strict laws while 54 percent wanted less strict laws or no change.

Public opinion can change. But the trend line above is quite clear and provides a challenge to those who are hoping for more stringent gun laws in the wake of the Connecticut shootings.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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