New Survey Reveals Where Americans Stand on Guns

The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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The Pew Research Center has new data on Americans' views on and gun violence.

The numbers offer insight into the enduring legacy of the . They also reveal why the debate over the right to keep and bear arms isn't going anywhere.

SEE ALSO: Backdoor Gun Registry Included in Multi-Trillion Dollar Bill

According to Pew, 30% of all Americans own a gun. A further 11% live in a household with someone who owns one. As you might expect, there's a gender gap, a partisan divide and a chasm between people living in rural areas versus city dwellers. That said, the sale of guns to first-time buyers has risen dramatically during the pandemic. Preliminary data showed that 20% of 2020 record-breaking gun sales came from nearly five million new gun owners.

As far as the primary purpose for owning a firearm, gun owners most commonly cite personal safety. However, respondents also gave secondary reasons, from enjoying hunting to having a service weapon in their line of work. 

Let us know in the comments below if you've purchased a gun recently and why!

The Pew Research Center reports:

Around half of Americans (48%) see gun violence as a very big problem in the country today, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April 2021. That's comparable to the share who say the same about the federal budget deficit (49%), violent (48%), illegal immigration (48%) and the coronavirus outbreak (47%). Only one issue is viewed as a very big problem by a majority of Americans: the affordability of health care (56%).

SEE ALSO: Frequency of Firearm Violence Prevention Greatly Underestimated

Another 24% of adults say gun violence is a moderately big problem. About three-in-ten say it is either a small problem (22%) or not a problem at all (6%).

Debate Over Root Causes

While the considers guns themselves the root of the problem, its opponents have a different view. They cite reports that police officers don't believe politicians have their backs. Without consistent public support, officers in crime-riddled cities like Baltimore say they don't feel empowered to act decisively. Detractors also point to George Soros' effective strategy of electing progressive prosecutors to transform the criminal justice system. (RELATED: Proposal to Eliminate Police Department Has Minneapolis on Edge)

While this new crop of district attorneys defends the defund the police movement and, in some cases, outright declines to prosecute suspects in high-profile violent crimes, crime continues to rise.

SEE ALSO: Unvaccinated Chicago Police Officers' Jobs, Retirement Benefits Threatened

Despite the left's arguments, the link between laissez-faire prosecutorial attitudes and ongoing gun violence in places like Chicago, St. Louis and Philadelphia seems undeniable. 

Like the controversy swirling around the causes of gun violence, answerers had varied responses for how to deal with the problem.

Roughly half of Americans (53%) favor stricter gun laws, a decline since 2019, according to the Center's April 2021 survey. Smaller shares say these laws are about right (32%) or should be less strict (14%). The share of Americans who say gun laws should be stricter has decreased from 60% in September 2019. Current opinions are in line with what they were in March 2017.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, views have shifted. Republicans are currently more likely to say gun laws should be less strict (27%) than stricter (20%). In 2019, by comparison, a larger share of Republicans favored stricter gun laws than less strict laws (31% vs. 20%). Both years, roughly half of Republicans said current gun laws were about right.

Room for Compromise?

At the same time, the survey suggests there is some bipartisan agreement, in theory, on gun policy proposals, but broad support evaporates when specifics enter the discussion. For example, 85% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats surveyed support the idea of restricting mentally ill individuals from owning guns.

So what do you think? Is it ever permissible to take someone's guns away if a family member or psychiatrist claims they're a danger to themselves or others? Tell us in the comments below and while you're at it, let us know what gun-related content you'd like to see next!

2 Comments
    Phyll2

    I would assume that a poll would always favor more gun laws because a majority of people do not own a gun. The laws do not affect them, they think, and of course offer the easy way out, blame the tool.
    For people like me however, who were brought up with guns, learned to handle them and believe they were enshrined in the Second Amendment as a curb on tyrants, guns are an absolute necessity to a free country. Of course I could drag out the tired old example of how all tyrants disarm the population first. Trouble is, it is not only a worn out record, it is absolutely true. Do you think Biden is going to do anything very communist until they can disarm the people like me. He’s already threatened us with jet fighters and nuclear weapons. That’s more than he’s done to Peking!
    Of course it will be handy to have firearms during and after the civil war that these guys are starting. You will need them for self defense, to protect your family and preserve what you have managed to save from the previous world, the one before the illegitimate president, before the Marxist coup, before the lockdowns, masks, and pandemic dictators in many states.
    I haven’t purchased a gun recently, the last one I bought was a 22 rifle so that my son could acquire some shooting skills but it seems his friends have already shown him much more powerful weapons than that since then.
    I hope that at least the cooler heads in the democrat party are realizing that we aren’t going anywhere and if they persist in their attempts to disarm America and force their tyranny on the citizens, they will be met with deadly force as it should be and is ordained in the Constitution. They can redefine all the words in the dictionary and call men, women and women, men until the cows come home, every day of the week, but they will lose this war that they seem so dead set on having. Karl Marx has no place in America. We will send his ghost back to Germany where it belongs, Emperor Biden.

    CLARENCE HODGES

    BOUGHT A 1911A1 .45 LIVING CLOSE BY CHICAGO AND WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE
    AND HOW LONG POLICE RESPONSE WOULD BE IF AVAILABLE YOU HAVE TO PROTECT YOUR SELF AND LOVED ONES, THERE’S NO OTHER WAY!!!

Comments are closed.

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