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For First Time in 20 Years, Majority of Americans Side With Pro-Gun Advocates on Divisive Issue


The poll was conducted after the San Bernardino shooting.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP Credit: AP

Most Americans now disapprove of a ban on so-called "assault weapons" — for the first time in 20 years.

According to a new ABC/Washington Post national poll, there is a growing sense that armed citizens could help thwart a "lone wolf" terrorist as confidence in law enforcement's ability to do so deteriorates.

The poll found that 53 percent of Americans oppose a ban on assault weapons — the most on record, according to ABC.

Only 45 percent do favor such a ban, which is significantly less than the 1994 peak of 80 percent. In 2013, 56 percent of Americans favored such a ban.

The poll also shows that only 22 percent of Americans are confident in the government's ability to stop a lone wolf attack, and 77 percent of Americans are skeptical. However, 43 percent of Americans do have confidence that the government can thwart a larger scale terrorist attack.

And a plurality of Americans — 47 to 42 percent — believe that prompting citizens to legally carry guns would be a better way to thwart terrorism than a ban or stricter gun control laws.

The poll was conducted Dec. 10-13 — several days after two gunmen opened fire in at a San Bernardino social services center, killing 14 people. The results have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 points.

Read more about the new poll at ABC here.

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