More Americans support gun rights over gun control, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.
According to Pew, 52 percent of respondents answered that it is more important to “protect the right of Americans to own guns.” In contrast, 46 percent said that it is more important to “control gun ownership.”
Pew notes that the results are indicative of a “substantial shift in attitudes” since the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn,. on Dec. 14, 2012.
In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, 51 percent of Americans supported stricter gun control laws, and 45 percent supported gun rights.
Now, 57 percent of Americans responded that gun ownership does more to “protect people from becoming victims of violent crime,” and 38 percent believe it does more to “put people’s safety at risk.”
Self-identified “conservative Republicans” are most likely to say that gun rights protect people from becoming victims of crimes at 86 percent.
According to the poll, 62 percent of independents support gun ownership, up from 53 percent in 2012. Women’s support for gun ownership increased by 11 percentage points, and “Conservative/Moderate” Democrats’ support increased by eight.
The largest shift in support for gun rights occurred among African-Americans, whose support grew by 25 percentage points.
Every demographic Pew surveyed increased their support for gun rights since January 2013, except for self-identified “liberal Democrats” and Hispanics.
The Pew study was conducted Dec. 3-7 with 1,507 voting age adults in all 50 U.S. states and D.C.