By a seven-point margin, the public currently says it is more important to control gun ownership (49%) than to protect the right of Americans to own guns (42%). There are substantial partisan differences over the issue, and most of the patterns of opinion on this question are little changed from past surveys.
Democrats and Republicans are divided by a 45-point margin when it comes to proposals to control gun ownership. Most Democrats (72%) say gun control is more important than protecting gun ownership rights, while only 27% of Republicans agree. Conversely, 69% of Republicans put the priority on protecting rights of gun ownership compared to 20% of Democrats. Independents are more divided, with 47% favoring protection of gun ownership rights while 42% say controlling ownership is more important.
The gender gap also is stark: Women prioritize controlling ownership over gun rights by a 24-point margin, while men prioritize gun rights by a 10-point margin. Racial differences also are striking, as African-Americans overwhelmingly say gun control is more important than gun rights (68% to 24%), while opinion among whites tilts in favor of gun rights (51% to 42%).
Northeasterners continue to stand out compared to other regions of the country, supporting gun control over gun rights by about a two-to-one margin (65% vs. 29%).Those in other regions are more evenly split on this question. Read more