Tags: Polls | bill of rights | constitution | pew

48 Percent of US: Gun Ownership Essential to Freedom

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Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017 11:48 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Forty-eight percent of Americans believe that the right to own guns is essential to their own sense of freedom. At the other end of the spectrum, the Pew Research Center found 19 percent who believe such a right is not important. In between are 33% who view the right to gun ownership as important but not essential.[1]

The right to carry a gun was codified in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, like the other items in the Bill of Rights, it was not created by the Second Amendment but predated the Constitution itself.[2] In addition to hunting, gun ownership was seen as a means self-defense, including defense against an unjust government.

The 19 percent who consider the right to gun ownership to be unimportant represent a much higher level of resistance than can be found for other foundational rights.

Only 1 percent consider freedom of speech unimportant. Ninety-two percent of Americans view it as essential to their own sense of freedom. Despite this overall support, 33 percent of colleges “maintain severely restrictive, ‘red light’ speech codes that clearly and substantially prohibit constitutionally protected speech.” Additionally, protests have caused 37 speakers to be disinvited from campuses over the past three years.

There is nearly as much support (91 percent) for the notion that voting is essential to freedom. However, once again, the theoretical support may be higher than the practical support. An earlier Number of the Day found that half of all millennials would give up their right to vote in exchange for getting student loans repaid.

Eighty-seven percent view the right to privacy as essential to freedom. Eight-five percent say the same about freedom of religion.

Footnotes:

  1. Pew Research Center, "Public Supports Aim of Making It ‘Easy’ for All Citizens to Vote," June 28, 2017
  2. American Bar Association, "Natural Rights, Common Law, and the English Right of Self-Defense," accessed October 10, 2017

Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.

Scott Rasmussen is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King’s College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics. His most recent book, "Politics Has Failed: America Will Not," was published by the Sutherland Institute in May.To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The right to carry a gun was codified in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In addition to hunting, gun ownership was seen as a means self-defense, including defense against an unjust government.
bill of rights, constitution, pew
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2017-48-11
Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017 11:48 AM
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