The Washington Times - December 19, 2012, 03:43PM

Americans say the best way to stop mass shootings like last week’s school rampage in Connecticut is to increase police at schools and focus on mental health issues — and give lower priority to banning semi-automatic guns, according to the latest Gallup polling (click here for the poll).

The poll found that 87 percent thought putting more police at schools would be at least somewhat effective, and 84 percent thought increasing spending on mental health would help, but only 63 percent thought a ban on semi-automatic firearms would be “very effective” or “somewhat effective,” making it fifth on a list of six options Gallup offered.

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Indeed, Americans said that trying to curtail the amount of violence depicted on television and in video games would be more effective than a gun ban.

The findings suggest that the public’s appetite for new gun laws may not be as high as some gun-control advocates had thought in the wake of last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Gallup said that most striking was how those surveyed seemed to think there was little that could be done.

“It it is clear that Americans are not overwhelmingly convinced that any of the actions would be highly effective in preventing future school shootings,” the polling organization said.