Results from a just-released Gallup poll (Gallup's annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011) show that a record-low 26 percent of Americans favor a ban on the possession of handguns in the United States. According to the poll, when Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60 percent favored banning handguns.
The poll also found support for other gun control measures at historical lows. For the first time, Gallup found greater opposition to (53 percent), than support for (43 percent), a ban on semi-automatic guns and guns misleadingly dubbed "assault weapons."
The poll found that support for stricter gun laws is also at a record low, reporting that 44 percent prefer that gun laws be left as they currently are. All key subgroups polled show less support for stricter gun laws, and for a ban on handguns, than they did 20 years ago. In 1991, 68 percent of Americans favored stricter gun laws and 43 percent favored a ban on handguns. Those percentages declined to 43 percent and 26 percent, respectively, today.
The Gallup report stated that, "Americans have shifted to a more pro-gun view on gun laws, particularly in recent years, with record-low support for a ban on handguns, an assault rifle ban, and stricter gun laws in general," and that, "The reasons for the shift do not appear related to reactions to the crime situation, as Gallup's Crime poll shows no major shifts in the trends in Americans' perceptions of crime, fear of crime, or reports of being victimized by crime in recent years."
The poll went on to note that, "Perhaps the trends are a reflection of the American public's acceptance of guns. In 2008, Gallup found widespread agreement with the idea that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to own guns."
The results of this latest poll make clear -- again -- that more and more Americans overwhelmingly support our Second Amendment rights and lawful gun ownership and reject gun control.
To watch a related CBS News video, please click here.