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For decades we’ve seen a steady movement in public opinion away from the 1980’s era belief that gun control is the solution to all of our nation’s crime problems. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, that trend momentarily reversed, but the latest Pew Research poll shows that the post-Newtown gun control fervor was nothing more than a blip and support for gun ownership and gun rights has never been higher — especially among a surprising demographic . . .

From the press release of the study:

For the first time in more than two decades of Pew Research Center surveys, there is more support for gun rights than gun control. Currently, 52% say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46% say it is more important to control gun ownership.


The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 3-7 among 1,507 adults, also finds a shift in attitudes about whether gun ownership in this country does more to protect people or put people’s safety at risk. Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) say gun ownership does more to protect people from becoming victims of crime, while 38% say it does more to endanger personal safety. In the days after Newtown, 48% said guns do more to protect people and 37% said they placed people at risk.

So, let’s just highlight these findings real quick in bullet-point format.

  • 52% of Americans believe it is more important to protect gun rights than to increase gun control
  • 57% of people believe gun ownership protects people from crime, while only 38% believe it endangers safety

There’s news recently that the Democrats might be trying to slip some gun control legislation into the last few days of the legislative session before they are unceremoniously kicked out of power, but according to these numbers the vast majority of Americans no longer agree with their position. Especially since the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, people seem to be realizing that the police won’t always protect them, and that they need to be able to defend themselves. The images of shop owners defending their stores with firearms seems to have resonated with a large number of people and finally gotten them off the fence.

What’s surprising is which demographic has made the largest improvement in respecting gun rights.


When I looked at this table, the first thing I noticed was that it seems the country is becoming more polarized. The increase in people believing it is more important to protect gun rights than control gun ownership isn’t coming from converts to the cause — its coming from people who were previously undecided. Both sides of the equation increased in popularity, but while support for gun control went up 1% support for gun rights jumped 9%.

What this indicates to me is that we might never win over the hardcore gun control supporters, but our message that civil rights and the right to self defense needs to be protected for everyone has really resonated with the fence sitters. Logic and statistics has won out over the shrill cries and emotional appeals from the gun control crowd.

Then I went back and noticed which demographic made the biggest change, and I was surprised to see that it was the black community. Two years ago, only 29% of black people believed that guns protect people from crime and over 50% thought guns put people’s lives at risk. It’s an understandable belief, since the black community is disproportionately represented in the murder and violence statistics that they would want the objects being used against them taken away. But this latest poll shows a remarkable 25% swing, with 51% of blacks now believing that guns protect people.

My opinion is that this is a result of the Ferguson riots and the recent news of police brutality, where black people no longer feel that the police are there to protect them and they want to take control of the situation themselves. It’s a similar mentality that led to the Black Panthers open carrying rifles in California, an action that caused the white Governor and legislature in that state to ban open carry to keep scary black people from having guns.

The poll is a problem — for Democrats. We learned on Monday that Hispanic voters don’t want more gun control, and this latest report continues that trend where minorities are finally realizing that their right to self defense is an important civil right that they need to defend. The Democratic party has bet the farm on pandering to minority issues, but they have also fervently maintained that increased gun control is a core value of their party and something that they want to strive to increase whenever possible.

These latest polls show that the desire for gun control is becoming more and more out of touch with what the country wants, and while the liberal side of the Democratic party still believes in the cause of gun control the moderate to conservative side saw an eight point jump in believing that guns protect people from crime rather than cause harm.

What will be interesting to see is if the Democratic party leaders embrace this change and recognize that gun control is not the answer, or if they fall back to their authoritarian tendencies and believe that they know better and try to cram gun control down the throats of their constituents.

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  1. Outstanding! We need to do more of what we are doing. Also we need to reach out more to our Hispanic citizens. More law abiding gun owners is a very good thing!

  2. But I thought that 90% of Americans wanted more guns sense reform? Was I being LIED to?

    Its fun to be winning.

    • I think the 90% (more or less) number came from a poll from Quinipiac University poll that essentially equated criminals getting guns with lack of background checks. It isn’t hard to see that if you were successful in getting people to equate crime with no “background checks” that 90% would answer that way. I assume the ~10% against background checks were like myself, people that understand that the whole background check “issue” is a exploit of people’s emotions and a artifact of misunderstanding what it is. It is interesting that the 90% “reason” has become a meme for justification for politicians and propagandists.

      • IIRC, that poll was simply asking about the efficacy of background checks as they were at the time. Because most people are sheep don’t really care, they answered in support of background checks. Then somebody on the left re-read their copy of Mein Kampf and decided to trot out a Big Lie. Suddenly Quinnipac’s poll was really asking about expanded background checks all along.

  3. If they lose in 2016, I would predict a quiet shift away from this issue. They won’t make any fanfare about it, but the money for and and influence of gun control advocates with the Deomcratic party will start to dry up. If they win in 2016, the status quo will remain for another administration, but not much beyond that due to millennial’s distinctly libertarian tilt. As this age group becomes more politically active with age, I think we will start seeing both parties move towards recognition of individual rights out of necessity. The Republicans will have to drop the social issues of the Bush years, and the Democrats will have to drop gun control.

  4. That’s good news, but there are still lots of problems. We have unconstitutional laws, dirty politicians in power, and the “vote for free sh!t” crowd will throw gun rights under the bus to elect the next Democrat. And that Dem might be Hillary (despite her epic incompetence) because “it’s about time we had a woman in there.”

    • I don’t think Hillary is much of a possibility. America might be ready for a woman president, but I don’t think we’re ready to elect an old lady president. Hillary will be almost 70 by the time the next president is sworn in. Couple that with the three trainloads of baggage she comes with, the general pattern of history (flip-flopping the White House between parties every 2-3 cycles), her 2008 run (Americans don’t generally like to vote for people who have previously lost elections), and the general mood in the country after eight years of Obama, and she’s got a really tough hill to climb. I think we’ll have our first female president in the next decade or so, but I don’t think it’ll be Hillary Clinton.

      You’re right, though, that we still face a lot of challenges. But reversing the tide of the last four decades starts with getting public opinion on our side, which we’re clearly doing.

        • Indeed. 90’s nostalgia might be all the rage, but I don’t think the people of America are really hungry to see much more of Bill Clinton than is absolutely necessary.

      • 2016 is almost certainly going to be a victory for the Democrat candidate (just look at which states went where in these past mid-terms, and then count the electoral college votes). And Hillary is the favorite in that race so far.

  5. Hopefully gun control becomes the elephant in the room for democrats. Gay rights was the elephant for republicans in the last two elections (no pun intended) forcing many independents to vote democrat. Gun rights is a pretty clear partisan issue so I think this poll is pretty important.

    • Right now it won’t be an elephant in the room so long as Democrats can compete with Republicans on other social issues (which they know that they’ll win either way long-term). If Republicans become less socially conservative and more libertarian, then quite a few people who vote for Democrats today might switch to them, and then gun control could become a significant point of pressure.

  6. Inside the numbers: minority and urban populations support gun control 60+%, even though they say guns protect you from crime.

    Until minorities realize background checks, and drug and gun laws generally, target minorities ability to defend themselves against urban crime, we still have a very long way to go. When you rely on the power of the state (i.e police) to protect you, dont be shocked when things go awry. The state (i.e. police) have had the power to kill you without consequences at least since humans could write.

    • Very good point. And one our side should define the language on before the gun control lobby corrupts it.

    • This and the allusion to the Ferguson riots are mainly driving factors. Minority, in particular, African Americans, have long been suspecting the cops don’t care and aren’t there to help their communities even while gangs preyed on the innocent living in the community. Somewhat sadly, the Ferguson, Cleveland, and Eric Garner cases have reinforced this belief that the cops are not on their side.

      Aside, I say sadly because some have bought into false narratives created by race hustling activists and the media (no difference, I know), and it has blended unique cases with unique circumstances into one theme with half truths embedded.

      This is happening while the gangs run wild so good people in these communities are trying to protect themselves since they believe the police won’t. This is a positive development, one that needs to be built on as we can highlight how politicians want to make it harder to protect themselves and reinforce that sometimes those same politicians will cow the police to relent to a mob ala Ferguson riots day 1. These are lessons for all though not just a minority community.

  7. In some ways this is more of a relief than pro-gun laws& court rulings. But then I remember how fickle public opinion can be….

    PS. I refuse to participate in polls.

  8. And it’s a Pew poll to boot! I expect the numbers are probably even better in reality. But Shannon still has the editorial board at USAToday on her side, it seems–for what that’s worth…

  9. I keep shouting that we are winning. Maybe people will believe me now. I have seen fence sitters and ambivalent people enthusiastically jump on board. I have not seen a single person rid themselves of firearms.

    While the masses in Coastal California, downstate New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Cook County Illinois are still drunk on gun control Kool-Aide, there is a sea change everywhere else.

    • Only Baltimore and D.C. suburbs in Maryland support gun control. The rest of the state is against it. Unfortunately the former two control state politics because of the amount of population and money.

      Western Maryland wants to break away and form its own state or join up with West Virginia.

    • The idea is not to get complacent however. Victory is never assured, only bought for periodic installments. We need to keep this on the offensive. Avoid what Calvary Commander Maharbal remarked to his General Hannibal “You, Hannibal, know how to gain a victory; you do not know how to use it.”

  10. Have to steal from another poster the other day, “Shall not be infeinged”, at what point do we stop talking about voting on issues that legally we cannot vote on?

  11. I think the Sandy Hook Elementary School spree killing was a watershed moment. People recoiled in horror and were understandably desperate for a solution. Of course gun grabbers rode in like white knights in shining armor with promises to end “gun violence” and attracted many followers initially.

    Two years has passed now and people have had a chance to reflect. Over and over again people are realizing that government “solutions” for violent criminals are a farce. Rather, people are realizing that they are responsible for their own security. Most importantly, more and more people are realizing that a firearm is an excellent tool for self-defense and don’t want government interfering with their ability to purchase and carry their firearms.

    That is why we are seeing the results in that poll. And I believe those results are here to stay. Remember, there have been several events where spree killers attacked schools, businesses, and military installations since Sandy Hook Elementary School. And yet support for gun rights is at the highest point in recent history. I am glad that we have facts, logic, and emotion in our favor. That is why people are coming over and staying on our side.

  12. Looking at the graph, I noticed the upward trend starting near 2005. Could it be that many people woke up to the 2nd Amendment after seeing the Governments actions in New Orleans after Katrina.
    Just sayn’

  13. People are starting to get the message, that they are responsible for their own survival!

    That is except for the liberal dem’s, see chart above. They would rather die than admit they were wrong. After all it is a slippery slope because Obamacare, immigration, their jobs, and taxes are going to follow closely!

  14. I live in a predomintly Filipino neighberhood. Heard a very lively discussion roundly condeming obamacare and various other policies from the oval office. Asians in general and Filipino’s in particular really like guns. At least in my experience.

    As for blacks. I could never understand a black or a jew not wanting free access to guns. Maybe their attitude is changing. Getting pulled over for driving while black must be a bone chilling experience. Blacks are 13% of the population. What is it the sovereign citizens are always saying about the 3%?

  15. As confidence in government declines, confidence in gun control also declines. People who do not trust their government do not trust gun control.

    Distrust of government is at an all-time high. In addition, confidence in the mainstream media, government’s shill-in-chief, is at an all-time low, as is confidence in the justice system and the courts.

    When people cannot trust their government or their media, they will trust their guns. As they should.

  16. There’s always an upside and downside to social reform movements. The upside is when they get everyone to agree with their point-of-view. This is why activists always go to great lengths to claim (usually falsely) that they have a moral imperative giving them the right to demand that you think and behave the way they want you to behave. The downside, of course, is when people just stop listening to them. When this happens no amount of moralizing will make much difference. This is what is happening to the gun-control movement. The handwriting was on the wall when their best efforts produce exponential growths in the NRA and millions of phone calls to politicians in favor of 2nd. amendment rights. Despite the best efforts of Bloomberg and Shannon and the Moms, gun-controllers are more marginalized now than they were before Sandy Hook. As the gun controllers are discovering, social movements can fail.

  17. WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHIL….ummmm…Shannon Watts?? I don’t think her or her midg…umm.. vertically challenged master can take this 🙂

    Let’s hear Obama say “the majority of Americans want this” now.

  18. Only 1500 people polled. Call me when you poll up to single digit percentages of the population. That’s not even a signifigant percentage of my city’s population.

  19. Who are these people that change their minds on such weighty issues? I’m so far from the tipping point on most issues that I’d pretty much have to have a stroke to think differently about them. It’s almost as if our country’s direction is driven by the 5% of the electorate that aren’t all that good at making decisions.

  20. Serious question to anyone that has said in the last year that “Open Carry Texas is pushing away the fence-sitters”: How do you square that assertion with these poll results?

    Do you dismiss the poll because it’s Pew or a small sample size? Or, do you offer some other rationalization to dismiss it? Do you stick by your adamant assertion that OC activism hurts 2A support?

    I’m still curious if there is any contra-indicating data that actually does show that OC demonstrations/activism is driving support away from 2A rights…data, not opinion or fantasy.

  21. The antis need to do the following every time a criminal is arrested and found to be in possession of a gun I would like to know the answers to the following questions:
    1)Did the criminal have a permit to purchase (FFID card)?
    2)Is the criminal a member of a RKBA organization (NRA, GOA…)?
    The most important one
    3)Did the laws which already exist prohibiting the criminal from committing the crimes for which they are under suspicion stop him from the commission of the crimes?
    NO? so what are more laws going to accomplish make it more illegal? Stop blaming the tool for its misuse and start holding the individual responsible for their actions. Stop punishing the rest of society for the actions of individual criminal. Criminals don’t obey the law.
    That should be a start.

  22. “What will be interesting to see is if the Democratic party leaders embrace this change and recognize that gun control is not the answer, or if they fall back to their authoritarian tendencies and believe that they know better and try to cram gun control down the throats of their constituents.”

    Hey, these are Democrat pols we’re talking about – guaranteed “they fall back to their authoritarian tendencies and believe that they know better and try to cram gun control down the throats of their constituents.”

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