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Gallup: U.S. support for assault weapons ban reaches all-time low

HARTFORD, CT - FEBRUARY 14: A man holds up a sign with with a depiction of an assault weapon during a rally at the Connecticut State Capital to promote gun control legislation in the wake of the December 14, 2012, school shooting in Newtown on February 14, 2013 in Hartford, Connecticut. Referred to as the 'March for Change' and held on the two-month anniversary of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, participants called for improved gun safety laws. Among the safety measures being demanded are for universal background checks, more work within the mental health community and restricting high-capacity magazines. Credit: Getty Images

Just more than one-third of Americans favor a ban on so-called "assault weapons," a Gallup poll found today.

Only 36 percent of Americans polled favor banning assault-style weapons, a drop from 44 percent in 2012 and 57 percent in 1996. Sixty-one percent of Americans now oppose an assault weapons ban, according to Gallup's 2016 Crime poll, conducted Oct. 5-9. Gallup polled a random sample of 1,017 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, in every state.

Screenshot from Gallup.

Beginning in 2006, more Americans opposed the ban than favored it — and opposition to the ban has been mostly increasing since then. Gallup starting asking about the assault weapons ban in 1996, two years after President Bill Clinton signed a federal assault weapons ban in 1994.

This year, 50 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of Republicans favor the ban.

Weapons collected in a Los Angeles Gun Buyback event are showcased in Los Angeles in 2012. (AP/Damian Dovarganes) Weapons collected in a Los Angeles Gun Buyback event are showcased in Los Angeles in 2012. (AP/Damian Dovarganes)

It's worth noting that support for the ban has fallen so dramatically among Democrats — since Democratic politicians are often the biggest legislative supporters of banning the weapons.

From Gallup's report:

It is striking -- and unusual -- that fewer Democrats than ever support an assault weapons ban, since the Democratic Party has been instrumental in pushing for stricter gun laws.

However, it is worth noting that a majority of Americans still believe there should be stricter laws governing the sale of firearms, even as they are reluctant to endorse a ban on handguns and assault weapons. In general, a majority of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the nation's gun laws, furthering the complexity of this issue.

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