Guns now second most important problem in America, poll finds

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Olivia Sandom, Senior at Julia R. Masterman, and Bryan Taylor, Senior at Academy at Palumbo, during the student walk out against gun violence at City Hall

Olivia Sandom, a senior at Julia R. Masterman, and Bryan Taylor, a senior at Academy at Palumbo, protest gun violence during the student walkout Wednesday at Philadelphia's City Hall. (Miguel Martinez)

NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion.

In advance of the March for Our Lives rally March 24 in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country  organized by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we examine public opinion on the politics around the issues.

New March data on the most important problem facing the nation found that guns are second only to the government.

Americans’ preference for stronger gun laws is now the highest since 1993, with 67 percent of U.S. adults saying the laws covering firearm sales should be stricter, up from 60 percent in the fall.

And a new survey of teachers nationwide determined that about 20 percent — most already gun owners — would volunteer to undergo training and carry a weapon in school. Teachers taken as a group, however, are strongly opposed to the idea and believe it would threaten school security.

The U.S. House approved a school safety bill Wednesday that includes training school officials and first responders, increasing school security, and providing funds to develop programs to deal with possible threats. The noncontroversial measures passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Public support for universal background checks is above 90 percent, and new data show that it is viewed as the single most effective measure to prevent mass shootings.

And public opinion of the tax overhaul shepherded through Congress by Republicans has been improving modestly, but remains underwater. President Donald Trump said during a recent fundraiser in Missouri that the changes are “very popular,” according to the Washington Post.

They’re not, according to the poll.

Listen to the audio above to hear the full conversation.

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