More crime-wary Americans turn to guns - poll
Analysis of the most recent Pew Research Center poll showed that 52 percent of Americans believed it was more important to protect the Second Amendment rights to own firearms, while 46 percent favored controlling gun ownership. In 1993, only 34 percent favored Second Amendment protections, while 57 percent were for gun control.
— Gun Rights Update (@gunrightsupdate) April 20, 2015
Support for restricting the use of guns has dropped most dramatically among white Americans who believe crime is on the rise. Just 37 percent among that group favor stricter gun laws, compared with 78 percent in 1990. However African-Americans also went from favoring the view that guns put people’s safety at risk (53 percent in 2012) to believing guns prevented people from becoming victims of crime (54 percent in 2014).
Today, 63 percent of Americans believe having a gun in the house makes them safer, and only thirty percent think otherwise. In 2000, that proportion was inverted, with 51 percent believing having guns in the house was more dangerous and 35 percent thinking it safer.
While figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that the actual rate of violent crimes was close to a 20-year low, 63 percent of Americans thought crime in the US was on the rise, a 2014 Gallup poll showed. Pollsters were at a loss to explain the discrepancy.
“We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer,” wrote Andrew Kohut, the founding director of Pew Research Center. “Why public views on crime have grown more dire is unclear, though many blame it on the nature of news coverage, reality TV and political rhetoric,” he added.
In the 1990s, Americans worried about violent crime tended to
favor stricter gun control laws. Today they are more likely to
favor gun ownership instead. “People who thought crime rates
were increasing were 9 percentage points more likely… to support
stricter gun control laws. Today, they are 8 points less
likely,” Kohut said.
He pointed to a 2013 Pew Research survey showing that protection had become the top reason for gun ownership. In 1999, the top reason cited for gun ownership was hunting.