Why Has Public Opinion Shifted About Gun Control?

Found here on peweresearch.org

Pew Research ChartIn short, 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.

For most of the 1990s and the subsequent decade, a substantial majority of Americans believed it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun owners’ rights. But in December 2014, the balance of opinion flipped: For the first time, more Americans say that protecting gun rights is more important than controlling gun ownership, 52% to 46%.

Why has public opinion shifted about gun control? As my colleagues at Pew Research Center have documented elsewhere, some of this is related to politics, as Republicans have become far more supportive of gun rights during the Obama years. The rise in support for gun rights has also spanned many other regional and demographic groups.

But there may be another factor behind this shift: Americans’ changing perceptions about crime.

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