A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows for the first time in 20 years that more Americans favor gun rights than gun control.
According to the survey released Dec. 10, Pew found 52 percent of those surveyed say it’s “more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns,” while 46 percent say it’s more important to “control gun ownership.”
The poll is the latest in a string of surveys this year that show more Americans are pro gun and think gun control has gone too far. The results track with recent data from pro-gun groups that show a sharp increase in gun ownership among younger, more ethnically-diverse Americans then ever before.
“For the first time in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, there is more support for gun rights than gun control,” Pew said in a release. “Support for gun rights has edged up from earlier this year, and marks a substantial shift in attitudes since shortly after the Newtown school shootings.”
The poll also showed a large increase in the percentage of Americans who feel guns protect people from being victims of crime as opposed to those who think guns put more people at risk of harm, with 57 percent saying guns protect victims from crime — a nine-point increase over 2012.
Interestingly, the increase in confidence in guns tracked across racial and gender lines, with 54 percent of black Americans saying guns make citizens safer, and 51 percent of women agreeing.
“Over the past two years, blacks’ views on this measure have changed dramatically,” Pew says. “Currently, 54 percent of blacks say gun ownership does more to protect people than endanger personal safety, nearly double the percentage saying this in December 2012.”
The poll also found an increase in support for gun rights among respondents who lived in urban and suburban areas, and a drop in support among self-identified “liberal democrats.”