Poll: Most Americans Feel Safer With Guns In The Home

March 31, 2014

A new survey released by a major internet polling company shows a small minority of Americans believe keeping a gun in the home is dangerous, with a slight majority feeling guns in the home makes them more safe.

The poll, conducted by YouGov and released March 25, shows 42 percent of those surveyed think a gun in the home makes them safer, with only 20 percent saying they’d feel less safe. Not surprisingly, the poll showed a wide political gap in how people see guns, with only 24 percent of Democrats saying they’d feel safer with a gun in the home, compared to 59 percent of Republicans saying guns make them feel safer.

The survey comes as many states are relaxing gun control laws, while still others — particularly in the Northeast and California — are debating stricter controls.

The wide-ranging poll also looked into racial, income and regional differences on gun ownership. In a finding many gun control advocates might find surprising, 32 percent of blacks said they’d feel safer with guns in the home, as opposed to 19 percent who said they’d be less safe.

The survey showed 35 percent of those surveyed owned a gun or lived with someone who did, with 60 percent saying there’s no gun in the home. A full 70 percent of Democrats said they had no gun in the home, with nearly 50 percent of Republicans owning guns.

The poll also asked how safe Americans would feel with more guns carried outside the home. Only 21 percent said they’d feel more safe with more guns on the street, with 44 percent saying they’d feel in more danger — a finding in sharp contrast to recent momentum to increase concealed carry rights in many states.

But well-known crime researcher Dr. John Lott says he’s not surprised YouGov got such a sharp reaction to more guns outside the home, which asked the question: “Do you think you would feel more safe or less safe if you knew more people were carrying weapons?”

“The problem here is ‘more people were carrying’ is an extremely broad category,” Lott said on his Crime Prevention Research Center blog. “For example, the question would also include more gang members carrying guns around. The answers given to this type of question varies dramatically based on whether the question includes if the person carrying the gun has a concealed handgun permit.”

In another interesting finding, the poll showed that those surveyed believed that nine years old was about the right time to expose kids to firearms for the first time.