A new poll shows the country is deeply divided when it comes to tighter gun controls, with a majority of people favoring stricter laws, a large percentage opposed and only a handful who don’t have an opinion on the matter.
A TIME/CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday shows Americans favoring stricter gun control laws 55 to 44 percent and only 1 percent having no opinion.
The same poll showed a 3 point jump in President Obama’s approval ratings from the month before, an upward trend since last year’s low 47 percent in January 2012.
President Obama, who promised tighter restrictions on guns after last month’s mass shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school, unveiled a sweeping, multi-layered approach Wednesday that included 23 executive actions designed to address gun crime, mental health and school safety.
When it comes to stricter gun laws, the poll showed a 3 percent increase from the the last time TIME/CNN asked Americans whether they support greater gun control, back in May 2003 when 52 percent said they did compared to 43 percent. The numbers also show a general downward trend in public support for stricter government measures since the 1990s.
In 1993, the year of the FBI’s siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas — an incident in which more than 80 people died — and the subsequent passage of the Brady bill, support for gun control spiked at 70 percent with only 27 percent opposing it at the time. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act instituted background checks on firearm purchases. The next year, the 1994 Crime Bill passed Congress; it included a ban on certain types of military-style so-called assault weapons.