New polling indicates that a majority of Americans want Congress to pass stricter gun laws. The survey was conducted between two of the most fatal mass shootings in modern U.S. history.
On Nov. 9, a Gallup survey found that 51 percent of national adults wanted Congress to legislate new gun restrictions while 47 percent wanted stricter enforcement of existing firearm regulations without passing new laws. The data indicated for first time that a majority of Americans supported new gun laws since 2000.
Breaking down the data, 60 percent of women wanted new gun legislation while 42 percent of men agreed. Of those polled, 81 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Independents supported new firearm regulations while only 27 percent of Republicans supported new gun laws. The survey found 62 percent of nonwhite respondents wanted Congress to pass new gun laws and 46 percent of white respondents concurred.
Since 2000, a majority of Americans did not support creating new gun laws. A plurality of support began in December 2012, when the Sandy Hook mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut occurred. Gallup found at the time that 47 percent of Americans supported new gun laws while 46 percent only wanted stricter enforcement. The percentage of national adults supporting new gun regulations steadily grew in the subsequent years.
The latest survey was conducted from Oct. 5-11, between two mass shootings with historically high fatality rates.
On Oct. 1, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured 546 others at a music festival in Las Vegas. The gunman had 23 firearms in his hotel room when he began to fire on the crowd below him. Twelve of his weapons were fitted with bump stocks, enabling him to fire rounds at a faster rate, CNN reports.
On Nov. 5, Devin Kelley killed 26 people and injured 27 others at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The victims' ages ranged from 18 months to 77 years old. Multiple firearms were found in Kelley's vehicle after he took his own life, according to WSB-TV.
The Las Vegas shooting was the most fatal in modern U.S. history and the Sutherland Springs shooting was the fourth. Following the killing sprees, Democratic lawmakers and advocates for stricter gun laws called on Congress to pass new firearm regulations.
On Nov. 7, Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin asserted during a press conference that new laws would not be helpful in addressing gun violence.
"How about enforcing the laws we have on the books?" Ryan said, according to USA Today.
That same day, President Donald Trump told reporters during a press conference in Japan that stricter gun laws would have made "no difference."
On Nov. 5, hours after the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut released a statement blasting his GOP colleagues for not pursuing new gun laws. Murphy became a vocal supporter of stricter gun enforcement after the Sandy Hook shooting, Business Insider reports.
"The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic," Murphy said. "The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something."