For the first time in at least two decades, significantly more Americans say it’s more important to protect the right to own guns than it’s more important to control gun ownership, says a Pew Research Center survey reported by NPR. The survey found that 52 percent of Americans sided with gun rights compared with the 46 percent who favored gun control. This is a continuation of a shift that was briefly interrupted by the 2012 Newtown, Ct., school shootings.
In 2007, Pew found only 32 percent of Americans said it was more important to protect the right to own guns, while 60 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership. The most dramatic shift in opinion took place among black Americans. In 2012, only 29 percent of black respondents said owning a gun helps protect people from crime, but this year, 54 percent said so. Many women also changed their view, Pew says, citing the 51 percent who said owning a gun protects people from becoming victims of crime in 2014, compared to only 40 percent who said so in 2012.