Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A Gallup poll released on Wednesday found that about six in 10 Americans favor stricter gun control laws.
The data, gathered from a survey conducted Oct. 1-10, showed 61 percent of Americans were in favor of implementing stricter laws on the sale of firearms. That number down from 67 percent from a survey conducted in March after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The two poll numbers represent the highest support for such legislation in about two decades.
Gallup found that support for stricter gun control laws was split along partisan lines as 87 percent of Democrats responded they were in favor of tightening gun legislation versus 31 percent of Republicans. Support among Democrats dropped slightly from 90 percent in March's poll, while support among Republicans fell 10 points from 41 percent, contributing to the overall decline.
Historic Gallup data has shown that support for stricter gun laws rises following a mass shooting, but begins to drop again as time passes.
"For instance, after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, support for stricter gun control jumped to 58 percent, though it fell to 49 percent less than a year later. Despite these occasional spikes and drops, support for tougher gun laws has generally risen since 2014," Gallup said.
The study also found Americans who don't own guns were nearly twice as likely to support stricter gun laws at 73 percent, than gun owners at 38 percent. Gun owners, however, were largely not in favor of loosening firearms laws, with 11 percent supporting less strict legislation.
While support for stricter gun control laws was high, the Gallup study found only 28 percent of Americans support a ban on handguns. Neither political party had a majority favor a handgun ban as 42 percent of Democrats were in support along with 10 percent of Republicans.
The poll data was based on a series of telephone surveys conducted Oct. 1-10 with a random sample of 1,019 adults aged 18 or older. The results featured a 4 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence level.