Two-thirds of Americans want next president to tighten gun laws

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 2:10pm

Half of all Americans support US President Barack Obama’s executive actions on gun control, a Reuters/Ipsos poll has found, and about two-thirds say they would support the next president taking additional steps to tighten federal gun laws.

Obama, frustrated with inaction from lawmakers, last week ordered stricter gun rules that he can impose without Congress’ approval, angering Republicans who say he is overstepping the boundaries of his office.

Fifty per cent of those surveyed said they supported Obama’s executive actions. More than 80 per cent of those from his own party said they were in favour of his steps, while 72 per cent of Republicans opposed them and said his successor should try to dismantle them.

Guns have become a potent, polarising issue in US politics. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, a right that is fiercely defended. Congress has not approved major gun-control legislation since the 1990s.

Respondents from both parties support more research into the causes of gun violence, the poll showed. Nearly 80 per cent of Democrats and 66 per cent of Republicans said they would support the next president, who takes office next January after the November 8 election, pushing for more research.

Sixty-three percent of Americans overall said they would like to see the next president push for stricter gun laws.

Republicans are split on efforts to tighten gun control more broadly. Forty-four per cent of those polled said the next president should work to tighten federal gun control laws, while 49 per cent were opposed.

The survey of 1,559 Americans was conducted from January 8 to 12, with a credibility interval of 3.2 percentage points.