A majority of Americans support gun rights more than gun control for the first time in the 20 years that Pew Research Center has been conducting polls on the issue.
The latest survey
shows that 52 percent say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46 percent say it is more important to control gun ownership.
The support for gun rights has increased steadily in the last year following a number of mass shootings including the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012.
Since then, the number of people in favor of gun rights has shot up 7 points from 45 to 52 percent, while the number of supporters for gun control has dropped 5 points to 46 percent.
The findings also reveal that Americans think that gun ownership protects U.S. families rather than putting their safety at risk. Nearly three out of five Americans, 57 percent say guns prevent people from becoming crime victims, although 38 percent believe guns are dangerous for people’s personal safety.
When it comes to the division of race, 54 percent of blacks think gun ownership protects Americans rather than endangers personal safety, which nearly doubles the figure found in a Pew poll taken before the Newtown massacre.
More whites also believe that guns help to keep people safe, with 62 percent in favor of gun ownership, a 6 percent increase over a year ago.
Hispanics think gun control is more important than gun rights by a huge 71 to 25 percent margin, Pew reported.
As for the division between political parties, a majority of Democrats, 60 percent, claim that guns put people’s safety at risk, while only about 35 percent believe they protect people from criminals.
On the other hand, 8 in every 10 Republicans think guns are helping to protect people from becoming crime victims, up 17 points from 2012, as opposed to the small number who say guns endanger lives.
The survey was conducted between Dec. 3-7 among 1,507 adults and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
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