April 1, 2010

Crossfire

46%

Americans split on gun control, with the public evenly divided over whether it is more important to protect the rights of gun owners or to control gun ownership.

The role of guns in America is certainly a divisive issue. Indeed, the public is literally split on the issue. As many say it is more important to protect the rights of gun owners (46%) as say it is more important to control gun ownership (46%). The split is little changed from April 2009 (49% control gun ownership vs. 45% protect gun rights), but is far more pro-gun than in the past two decades. In May 1999, shortly after the shootings at Columbine High School, more than twice as many Americans said it was more important to control gun ownership (65%) than to protect the rights of Americans to own guns (30%). Support for gun control remained a majority position through much of the 2000s, but has fallen 12 points since 2008, while support for gun rights has seen a nine-point rise. Support for the right to own guns increased substantially among men — particularly white men — high school graduates, independents and people living in the Midwest and South. Read More