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Americans favor stricter control over gun rights

A strong majority of Americans still favor stricter gun control laws, according to a new national Morning Joe/Marist poll.

A strong majority of Americans still favor stricter gun control laws, according to a new national Morning Joe/Marist poll. The new figures indicate that support for gun control is not waning, as another national poll found in March.

The Morning Joe/Marist poll found that 60% of Americans—83% of Democrats, 43% of gun owners, and 37% of Republicans—support stricter laws.  That number is virtually unchanged from the 61% who favored the laws in another NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that asked the same question in February.

The Morning Joe/Marist poll also found an uptick in the number of Americans who prioritize controlling  gun violence over gun rights: 53% of Americans believe stopping gun violence should have a higher priority, a step up the 49% that another Marist poll found last month.

Congress has struggled to find politically viable legislation to move forward on the matter, despite the strong support from the public.

While 87% of those surveyed believe in background checks for private and gun show gun sales—a key provision of the Senate’s background check bill—Republicans have vowed to fight such legislation. Only 12% of Americans oppose universal background checks; just 1% in the Morning Joe/Marist poll said they were unsure on the issue.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans favor banning assault weapons, but the bill was dropped in the Senate because it lacked the votes to pass. Democrats are expected to offer the ban as an amendment to the legislation, but it is not expected to pass.

Chuck Todd, msnbc host and NBC News chief White House correspondent, broke down the findings.

"You see why this is going nowhere on Capitol Hill," explained Todd, on Wednesday's Morning Joe. "If you look at it by party and you say there's an overwhelming majority because there's a majority of Democrats who would like gun laws to be more strict and a majority of independents who would like that. But if you look at it with Republicans, it's a majority that do not believe gun laws should not be more strict, it's a majority of Republicans who do not want the assault weapons ban. The only place where there's a significant Republican support in line with Democrats and independents is on the issue of expanded background checks."

The party breakdown is stark: 63% of Republicans favor protecting gun rights over controlling gun violence, while only 34% prioritize controlling gun violence. Meanwhile, 77% of Democrats believe controlling gun violence should be the priority; 22% prioritize gun rights. Independents are divided evenly: 48% prioritize stopping gun violence, 48% prioritize gun rights.

"It's a reminder," he added. "If a majority of Republicans aren't on this, it's not getting through the House--none of this is getting through the House."

The poll was conducted March 25-March 27 among 1,219 national respondents using both landline and cell phones. It has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.0 percentage points.