Gallup: Public blames mental health system more than guns for mass shootings

Forty-eight percent of people blame the mental health system “a great deal,” while 40 percent blame the easy access to guns — a number that has dropped 6 percentage points since 2011, shortly after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz.

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Aaron Alexis, who allegedly killed 12 people with a shotgun before being shot down at Navy Yard on Monday, was reported to have suffered from mental health disorders, including paranoia and a sleeping disorder. 

While 57 percent of Democrats believe easy access to guns is a major cause of mass shooting, only 22 percent of Republicans feel the same. Thirty-eight percent of independents blame access to guns. 

Democrats, Republicans and independents agree that the failure of the mental heath system is a major factor in mass shootings, with nearly a majority of each party holding that view. 

Support for stricter guns laws spiked to 58 percent in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, which left 27 people dead, including 20 children. 

That number dropped to 48 percent Friday. President Obama and congressional Democrats pushed for a packaged of gun control legislation earlier this year, but it fizzled out after a compromised package failed to pass the Senate. 

Meanwhile, a poll released by The Associated Press found that 44 percent of the public believes the federal government is doing a good job protecting Second Amendment rights, a 13 point drop from two years ago. The AP poll was conducted before the Navy Yard shooting. 

The AP poll surveyed 1,008 adults and contains a 4 percentage point margin of error. Gallup polled 1,023 adults and the survey has a 4 percentage point margin of error.