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Poll: Americans Support Stricter Gun Laws

FILE -- Three variations of the AR-15 assault rifle are displayed in Sacramento, Calif. While the guns look similar, the bottom version is illegal in California because of its quick reload capabilities.

More and more Americans are in favor of tougher gun laws, but are pessimistic that lawmakers will do anything soon to bring about changes, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents support stricter laws, while most favor nationwide bans on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons, such at the AR-15, and on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more bullets.

Results also broke down along partisan lines. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats polled said they support stricter gun laws compared to 41 percent of Republicans.

The percentage of Americans who want the tougher laws is at the highest since the pollsters began taking the gun survey in 2013, about 10 months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newton, Connecticut, that killed 20 children and six educators.

A majority of the respondents said they favor a national approach to gun laws rather than a jumble of state and local regulations. Less than half of those polled, however, said they did not think lawmakers would enact tougher gun laws in the coming year.

The poll results revealed that Americans are not feeling safe and are concerned they or a relative will be a victim of gun violence.

The Associated Press-GfK poll was conducted July 7 to 11, shortly after the nightclub massacre in an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, and the fatal shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota by police at point-blank range. Most of the interviews took place after the sniper attack in Dallas, Texas, that killed five police officers.

However, the level of concern about being victimized "is not uniform." The poll says non-whites are significantly more likely to be very or extremely concerned about being victims of gun violence.

Alonzo Lassiter, who is African American, said he is worried about his 17-year-old autistic son being a victim of gun violence, either by a robber or the police.

"If somebody told him to get on the ground and put his hands up or told him to give up his headphones, he wouldn't readily identify those instructions," Lassiter said. "He may be an easy target."

Milonne Ambroise, a native of Haiti who has lived in the U.S. for nearly 50 years told pollsters "I'm looking for exits. This isn't something I did before."