Guns and Gear
A customer looks over a Glock 29 10mm hand gun at the Guns-R-Us gun shop in Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 20, 2012. (REUTERS/Ralph D. Freso) A customer looks over a Glock 29 10mm hand gun at the Guns-R-Us gun shop in Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 20, 2012. (REUTERS/Ralph D. Freso)  

Americans’ frustration with gun laws spikes to all-time high

Photo of Katie McHugh
Katie McHugh
Associate Editor

Over half of Americans want to see gun restrictions loosened, not tightened, according to a new Gallup poll.

Fifty-five percent of Americans are dissatisfied with current gun laws, with a full 35 percent “very dissatisfied,” creating the largest gap in Gallup’s poll.

The number Americans who want fewer restrictions tripled from five to 16 percent in a single year. Support for more stringent gun laws declined by seven percent.

The public’s growing impatience with gun laws runs afoul of President Barack Obama’s pledge to unilaterally enact new restrictions in 2014 in light of recent mass shootings.

“I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid,’ and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. (RELATED: Obama vows to pursue gun control ‘with or without’ Congress)

Obama also accused anti-gun control Americans of wanting to see guns “in the hands of dangerous people” in a speech made in September, after the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. claimed the lives of 12 servicemen.

“As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, then we’ve got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children,” he vowed in a speech made to the Congressional Black Caucus.

In April, Obama made an emotional attack on the National Rifle Association and Republican senators after a gun control bill — said to be a top White House priority — failed in Congress.

Anti-gun control advocates “willfully lied,” claimed the president, surrounded by the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and the grievously wounded Gabby Giffords. ”It’s a pretty shameful day for Washington.” (RELATED: Obama lashes out at GOP, NRA after gun bill fails)

The bill failed in part because nervous blue dog Democrats voted against it to avoid losing support before the 2014 elections, and the White House lost a wedge issue that could have boosted its support during the midterms.

Obama also furiously condemned the NRA and anti-gun control Americans in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children were murdered by madman Adam Lanza who committed suicide afterwards.

“What’s more important — doing whatever it takes to get a A grade from the gun lobby that funds their campaigns, or giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade?” Obama had asked back in January in the initial push for new gun restrictions. ”There will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty — not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. Behind the scenes, they’ll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever.”

Half of Americans’ attitudes toward gun control aligned with the president’s in early 2013, with 38 percent of dissatisfied Gallup respondents calling for stricter gun laws. But public opinion underwent a significant shift later in the year — and some politicians pushing gun control found themselves without a job.

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