A majority of Americans oppose an “assault weapons” ban for the first time in 20 years of New York Times’ polling on the topic.
According to NYU political scientist Patrick Egan, the opposition to such a ban is up 16 percentage points from the numbers seen in 2011. Moreover, support for an “assault weapons” ban is down 19 percent. On January 15-19, 2011 Americans polled at 63 percent in favor of a ban and 34 against. On December 4-8, 2015, American polled only 44 percent in favor of such a ban, with 50 percent polling in opposition.
The real swing in numbers can be seen by contrasting the latest figures with the first poll NYT took on the topic during January 2-3, 1995. At that time support for a ban was at 67 percent, while opposition to a ban was at 27 percent.
These numbers square with a post-San Bernardino Breitbart News report showing that AR-15 sales have been skyrocketing since the December 2 San Bernardino attack. The situation was best summed up by Lynchburg, Virginia’s Patrick McNamee, manager of L. Oppleman Pawn Shop. McNamee said AR-15s flew off the shelves after the San Bernardino attacks and the demand around the country was so great that when he called suppliers to have more ARs they said they were out.
On December 8–two days after President Obama renewed his call for an “assault weapons” ban–News Advance quoted McNamee saying, “When the best salesmen in America speaks, sales peak.”