Opposition to Gun Control at 2-Decade High

Via the Washington Times:

Gun-rights supporters are now a majority among Americans, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday that marks a stunning turnaround from two years ago, when the Newtown school shooting had appeared to give gun control advocates the upper hand in the public debate.

It’s the highest approval rate in two decades, Pew said, and it’s driven by changing attitudes across nearly all demographic lines, including among black Americans who are increasingly likely to view guns as good for protection, rather than as a public safety danger.

According to Pew, 52 percent of the public says it’s more important to protect Second Amendment rights, while 46 percent say gun control takes precedence over rights. That’s a flip from after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when just 45 percent supported gun rights and a majority said gun control was more important.

Among whites, gun rights support has grown from 53 percent to 61 percent. Among blacks it’s risen from 24 percent to 34 percent. Only Hispanics have seen slippage, from 27 percent down to 25 percent.

Black Americans’ views have changed even more dramatically when asked specific questions about firearms use. Pew asked whether they viewed guns as good for protection against crimes, or dangerous to people’s safety, and the percentage of African-Americans who chose protection rose from 29 percent in January 2013 to 54 percent now.

Gun rights supporters had appeared to be on the defensive after the Newtown shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 young schoolchildren and a half-dozen faculty members at the elementary school.

But efforts to impose gun restrictions at the federal level foundered, though some states did move ahead with restrictions.

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