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Confiscated guns displayed by the New York City Police Department in October 2021. Photo: Bryan Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Support for stricter gun control laws in the United States has fallen, polls by Quinnipiac University and Gallup published this week show.

Why it matters: The drop in support coincides with a major spike in gun sales and estimated violent crime rates that has continued into 2021, though criminologists are largely divided on what caused the crime increase.

By the numbers: Quinnipiac found that among 1,378 surveyed adults, 45% supported stricter gun laws, a drop of 9 percentage points from a survey it did in April 2021. Opposition to new gun laws rose from 42% in April to 49% in November.

  • 91% of polled Democrats said they support stricter laws, while 84% of Republicans and 54% of independents said they oppose them.
  • 40% of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. would be safer if more people owned guns, and 48% said it would be less safe.
  • Gallup found in its poll of 823 adults that support for stricter gun control has fallen five percentage points to 52%, the lowest reading it's recorded since 2014.
  • 91% of surveyed Democrats supported stricter laws in its poll, and 56% of Republicans said the laws should be kept as they are.

The big picture: Some experts have suggested that socioeconomic changes — like increases in unemployment — set off by the coronavirus pandemic have contributed to the violent crime spike. Others have proposed that disruptions to policing from the virus and police brutality protests are a factor.

  • Analysts have produced research that suggests the upticks in gun-related homicides was not caused by record gun sales because many of the new purchases were by people who already owned guns, Axios' Bryan Walsh reports.
  • As of October, 44 states and the District of Columbia had enacted around 200 gun and community violence-related laws this year, while federal gun control initiatives have largely stalled, Axios' Stef W. Kight reports.

Meanwhile, the Quinnipiac poll also found that a bipartisan majority of Americans believe that the Supreme Court and its justices are mainly motivated by politics rather than the law.

  • The survey suggests that Americans are losing faith in the Supreme Court as the nonpartisan final arbiter of the law and the Constitution.

Methodology:

  • The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,378 U.S. adults nationwide from Nov. 11 to Nov. 15 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
  • The Gallup poll surveyed 823 U.S. adults from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Go deeper: Why we struggle to count violent gun crime

Go deeper

Arkansas' LGBTQ+ inclusivity lags behind

Expand chart
Source: Human Rights Campaign; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Human Rights Campaign released its 10th annual municipal equality index, which analyzes how inclusive cities are of the LGBTQ+ community, and NWA’s Fayetteville and Springdale made the list.

How it works: Human Rights Campaign measures across five categories — non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.

40 mins ago - Health

First known U.S. case of the Omicron variant identified in California

PhotoL Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

Supreme Court appears likely to roll back abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.