According to a new poll, there has been a major public opinion shift on the rights of gun owners vs. gun control. The poll, conducted by Pew Research Center, found the following somewhat surprising results:
While support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.
We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer
Pew suggests the dramatic shift in support for gun rights may be tied to public perception of an increase in crime rates. By more than double, Americans believe owning a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.
In a September, 2014 article, The New York Times reported that FBI statistics on violent crime show the opposite. During the period from 1993-2013, it found:
- The homicide rate fell by 51 percent
- Forcible rapes declined by 35 percent
- Robberies decreased by 56 percent
- The rate of aggravated assault fell by 45 percent
Despite the FBI statistics, Pew believes that public perception of crime rates may be due, in large part, to constant reports in the media about violent crime.
Nonetheless, Pew found that even among those who believe crime rates have declined, support for Second Amendment Rights has increased as well:
Crime rates will rise and fall, as they always have. Public support for gun rights vs. gun control will do the same. But should Second Amendment Rights be protected - or threatened - by either?