Three months removed from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, America’s feelings on gun control have softened, according to a new survey released Tuesday. In the weeks after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., 57 percent of poll respondents were in favor of stronger gun laws, but in this week’s poll from CBS News, that number has dropped a full 10 points down to 47 percent.
The issue was still divided along party lines, with a majority of Republicans wanting to keep laws the same, while nearly two-thirds of Democrats pushing for stricter gun control measures. Support for stricter gun laws remains higher than it was prior to the shootings at Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colo., suggesting that the debate hasn’t quite lost steam.
Individual gun regulation issues produce a more diverse response from voters, with 88 percent of Americans backing universal background checks for potential gun owners, according to a Quinnipiac University poll published last week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Thursday that he plans to propose a bill expanding background checks and enacting harsher punishments for gun traffickers.
“This bill will include the provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking reported by the Judiciary Committee,” Reid said in a statement.”I hope negotiations will continue over the upcoming break to reach a bipartisan compromise on background checks, and I am hopeful that they will succeed.”
“In order to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks,” he warned.
Reid had previously announced that the bill would not include a ban on assault weapons or high-capacity magazine clips, which had been openly discussed at the start of the year.
Those measures are likely being excluded to make bipartisan discussions on gun control easier to navigate. The shooters in both the Aurora and Newtown cases used assault weapons to kill dozens, but the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun activists believe that the availability of the weapons was not the issue.