Poll: Sandy Hook a sign of a larger societal problem

Updated
People pay their respects at a makeshift shrine to the victims of an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 17, 2012. Funerals began...
People pay their respects at a makeshift shrine to the victims of an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 17, 2012. Funerals began...
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

In the eyes of the public, Friday’s deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is fundamentally different from other previous mass shootings.

A Washington Post-ABC News survey, released Monday, showed more than half of Americans—52%—see the Newtown, CT., shootings as a reflection of broader problems in American society, versus 43% who viewed it as the isolated act of a troubled individual.

The percentage of those who saw it as a sign of bigger societal problems nearly doubled since the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting in July, in which 12 people died. Just 24% saw that tragedy as a broader problem, while 67% viewed it as isolated act. Those results were similar to the January 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., which killed six and injured former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and also the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, which left 32 people dead. Of those surveyed, 31% and 46%, respectively, viewed those massacres as a societal problem while 58% and 47%, respectively, viewed it as an isolated act.

The change in attitude comes as several Democratic lawmakers push for gun control measures, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Charles Schumer. In addition, National Rifle Association-endorsed Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) called for a ban on assault weapons on Monday’s Morning Joe.

For more on the gun control debate what Congress is doing following the shooting, tune into Hardball at 5 and 7 p.m. EST. We’ll have Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), NBC Chief Justice Correspondent Pete Williams, Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt and more.

Poll: Sandy Hook a sign of a larger societal problem

Updated