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Americans now favor stronger gun laws

WASHINGTON — Stronger gun laws are favored by 58 percent of Americans, the highest percentage in eight years, according to a national poll conducted after 20 young students and six teachers were gunned down in Newtown, Conn.

The results of the USA ­Today/Gallup poll released Thursday show 58 percent of respondents favor making laws that cover the sale of firearms more strict. That’s the highest level since 2004, when 60 percent favored stronger gun laws. Thirty-four percent called for weaker laws, the same level as in 2004.

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In October 2011, 43 percent favored stricter gun laws while 44 percent said the laws should remain unchanged.

Gallup’s poll is the latest indicating increased support for new gun regulations after the Dec. 14 killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted Dec. 14 to 16 showed 54 percent favoring stricter gun laws and 43 percent opposing them. In a January 2011 ABC/Post poll, 52 percent supported stronger laws, with 45 percent opposed.

The Gallup survey found 92 percent favoring background checks of all gun buyers, including those at gun shows, and 62 percent supporting a ban on the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines. By 51 to 44 percent, respondents opposed a ban on assault weapons.

Vice President Joe Biden is leading a White House task force examining gun regulations and other issues such as mental health and violent entertainment. The National Rifle Association has proposed stationing armed guards in schools around the country.

The poll of 1,038 adults was conducted Dec. 19 to 22 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.

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