According to an annual Gallup crime poll, only 26 percent of Americans favor a handgun ban--a record low, down from 60 percent when Gallup first asked the question in 1959.
The poll, conducted Oct. 6-9 and published on Oct. 26, also shows that for the first time, there's more opposition than support for a ban on semiautomatic handguns or rifles--53 percent to 43 percent. In 1996, these numbers were nearly reversed.
Support for stricter gun laws has also declined, with 44 percent believing laws should be left as they are, and 11 percent favoring less strict laws.
According to the Second Amendment Foundation, the poll not only reflects a positive change in public attitude about personal protection and the Second Amendment, but indicates that rank-and-file citizens recognize gun control is an ineffective tool in combating crime.
"The pendulum has definitely been swinging in favor of expanded gun rights," SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said. "For too long, people were fooled by hysteria and misinformation from gun prohibitionists and their cheerleaders in the press. But their alarmist rhetoric has failed the test of time and now Americans by greater percentages than we've seen in generations are realizing that gun rights are important to our security as a nation and to public safety in our own neighborhoods."