Americans' appetite for banning the possession of handguns has fallen to a record low. Only 26 percent now support a handgun ban for all citizens except the police or authorized persons, reports pollster Gallup.

Support has fallen sharply since 1959, when Gallup first began asking respondents about such a ban. At that time, 60 percent of respondents supported a ban. A majority of Americans began opposing such a measure in 1975.

Gallup's annual Crime Poll also showed, for the first time, greater opposition (53 percent) than support for a ban on semi-automatic guns or asault rifles. In 1996, two years after Congress passed its assault-weapons ban, about 57 percent of respondents supported such a ban.

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