By Megan Cassella
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of all Americans support President Barack Obama's executive actions on gun control, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday, with a majority saying they would support the next president taking additional steps to tighten federal gun laws.
Obama, frustrated with inaction from lawmakers, ordered stricter gun rules last week that he can impose without Congress' help, angering Republicans who say he is overstepping the boundaries of his office.
Fifty percent of those surveyed said they supported Obama's executive actions. More than 80 percent of those from his own party said they were in favor of his steps, while 72 percent of Republicans opposed them and said his successor should try to dismantle them.
Guns have become a potent, polarizing issue in U.S. politics. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, a right that is fiercely defended. Congress has not approved major gun-control legislation since the 1990s.
Respondents from both parties support more research into the causes of gun violence, the poll showed. Nearly 80 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans said they would support the next president, who takes office next January after the Nov. 8 election, pushing for more research.
Republicans are split on efforts to tighten gun control more broadly. Forty-four percent of those polled said the next president should work to tighten federal gun control laws, while 49 percent were opposed.
Sixty-three percent of Americans overall said they would like to see the next president push for stricter gun laws.
The survey of 1,559 Americans was conducted from Jan. 8 to 12, with a credibility interval of 3.2 percentage points.
(Reporting by Megan Cassella; Editing by Peter Cooney)