PEW: Majority of Americans Say Gun Ownership Protects Them from Crime

David Guralnick/AP
David Guralnick/AP

On August 13, PEW Research Center released a new poll which shows the majority of Americans are convinced gun ownership protects them from crime.

PEW asked whether gun ownership protects people from crime or “risks safety,” and “54 percent” said owning a gun protects a person from crime. Only “40 percent” said owning a gun “risks safety.”

That “54 percent” of Americans believe gun ownership protects them from crime is very telling, as that figure was down to “48 percent” in December 2012–the month of the heinous Sandy Hook Elementary attack. Since that time, gun control proponents like Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, Michael Bloomberg, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and President Obama have been relentless in their push for new gun laws. Groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have run campaign after campaign to try to convince Americans that just owning a gun puts them at risk of danger.

Yet the number of Americans who believe guns actually serve to keep them safe rose 6 percent between December 2012 and July 2015. Taking the pro-gun position from a near majority of “48 percent” to a clear majority of “54 percent.”

The PEW Poll also asked questions about specific gun control policies, and it is interesting to note that the Democrats stand out as the political party most supportive of gun control–“85 percent” of them support a national gun registry–while post-graduates are the education demographic most likely to say gun ownership is a safety risk rather than increased protection against crime. That those who went to college the longest hold this view gives us some insight into what professors must be teaching in classrooms and lecture halls around the country.

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