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Polls show movement toward stricter gun control – with major caveats

A new USA Today/Gallup poll taken shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre shows 58 percent of respondents saying they now favor stricter gun laws, up from 43 percent in October 2011.

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People crowd a gun show in Knoxville, Tenn. Friday. “I have never seen anything like this here,” said Jeremy Pearson, who has managed the group that produces shows around the country. “There is a lot of talk about a gun ban, but this show always draws good crowds for us.”

Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel/AP

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Public attitudes toward private ownership of firearms have shifted over the years. In the 1990s, Americans were more inclined to favor stricter gun control. More recently, that mind-set has shifted toward greater support for Second Amendment protections of gun ownership.

But in the wake of recent mass shootings – especially the Dec. 14 killing of 20 first-graders and six adult staff at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. by a young man armed with an assault rifle with large-capacity magazines, handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition – another shift has occurred.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll taken shortly after the Sandy Hook massacre shows 58 percent of respondents saying they now favor stricter gun laws, up from 43 percent in October 2011.

Similarly, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll (also taken right after Sandy Hook) finds 55 percent agreeing that that gun control laws should be made more strict, 13 percent said they should be made less strict, and 27 percent said there should be no change.

2012 enters the record books. Were you paying attention? A news quiz.

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