Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

American Gun Attitudes Continue to Trend Pro-Gun

Friday, October 20, 2017

American Gun Attitudes Continue to Trend Pro-Gun

In today’s hyper-media environment, the over-reporting of polling results is an unfortunate reality of modern political discourse.  Instead of informing policy debates, this reliance on polls is often to drive a political agenda and suggest the American people want something when just the opposite is true.  

We’ve seen this time and again on gun issues.  Although the media will never acknowledge it, a “snapshot” poll of American attitudes on gun issues simply fails to tell the whole story.  Hillary Clinton and other anti-gun politicians who are shunned at the ballot box can attest to this fact.   

On the other hand, an opinion trend is entirely different.  A trend can show the direction of opinion change over time, and where the public exhibits a tidal shift in their attitudes on an issue, the momentum becomes an unshakable truth that cannot be denied, politics notwithstanding.  

Although seldom reported, the long-term trends on gun issues show a remarkable shift in American opinion over the last three decades.  Where a majority of Americans once supported gun control, this is clearly no longer the case.  From handgun and semi-auto bans to mandatory licensing and registration, our fight to restore the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans has moved the public to adopt decidedly pro-gun opinions over time.   

A poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News taken in late August is a great example of long-term opinion trending in our direction.  The poll asked a number of questions related to government policy generally, but there were responses to three items on guns that bode ill for anti-gun advocates and their ongoing assault of our gun rights.

First, Americans were asked whether they worried that the government would go too far in restricting gun rights or not far enough to regulate access to firearms.  The results are striking.   

50 percent said they were more concerned about government overreach on guns, while 45 percent said they feared the government would not do enough to restrict access to guns.  At first blush, one could suggest that this means the American people are about evenly split on gun control, with more worried the government might go too far in restricting our freedom.  But that’s just the “snapshot.”  Looking at the long-term trend on this question, a more complete picture emerges.  

When this exact question was asked in 1995, 58 percent of respondents took the gun control option while 35 percent favored gun rights.  This is a 15 percent increase in the number of Americans fearing government restrictions and a 13 percent reduction in those wanting more gun control.  This double-digit shift in American attitudes is remarkable, and tells something much deeper about gun policy opinion than the 50-45 split initially suggests. 

Next, the poll asked respondents, “Do you, or does anyone in your household, own a gun of any kind?” 48 percent replied “yes,” suggesting that 120 million Americans own firearms.  This is great news, and helps to confirm the recent expansion of gun ownership in the United States.  

But looking at the deeper trend, something even more significant emerges.  This poll question has been asked several times over the years, and 48 percent is the highest level recorded in the poll’s history.  In 1999, the poll observed a 44 percent rate, and between 2011 and 2015, the number ranged from 39 to 42 percent when the poll was fielded four different times.  Taken at its low point, this shows a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of respondents indicating they live in gun owning households.  

Finally, there was a question that illustrates precisely why these long-term trends matter more than any “snapshot” poll can possibly show.  When asked to pick among a host of policy issues that matter when voting, the gun issue was number one, chosen by 35 percent of respondents, beating out the environment, immigration, abortion, drug use, religion, gender equality, and gay rights. 

There is little doubt that the 35 percent indicating “gun rights or gun control” were choosing the gun rights side of the equation and vote accordingly.  Moreover, it indicates that more and more Americans are coming to oppose gun control and embracing the universal right to self-defense and our firearms freedom.

The NRA remains the most powerful political force on the American landscape, because of the dedication of our members and supporters to securing our firearms freedom for generations to come.  Nobody can match our intensity or passion, and this polling trend data shows we are slowly but surely convincing the American public to join our side in the ongoing struggle.  

 

 

IN THIS ARTICLE
Chris W. Cox Polling
Chris W. Cox

BY Chris W. Cox

NRA-ILA Executive Director

Follow This Contributor

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of NRA, since 2002. As NRA’s principal political strategist, Cox oversees eight NRA-ILA divisions: Federal Affairs; State & Local Affairs; Public Affairs; Grassroots; Finance; Research & Information; Conservation, Wildlife & Natural Resources; and Office of Legislative Counsel. Cox also serves as chairman of NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), the Association’s political action committee; president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which focuses on non-partisan voter registration and citizen education; and chairman of NRA Country, an effort to bring country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

TRENDING NOW
Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, wants you to know he’s committed to keeping AR-15s “off the street.” But he’s also committed (for the time being) to selling other types of firearms.

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Friday, October 11, 2019

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Earlier today, Governor Newsom signed the seven anti-gun bills listed below into law.  

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Monday, October 14, 2019

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Prior to the October 13 deadline, Governor Newsom signed the final anti-gun and anti-hunting bills, AB 1254 and SB 172 into law.  

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

Last week, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed carry permit holders in the U.S.

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

News  

Friday, October 4, 2019

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

Last week, a retired Tulsa, Oklahoma law enforcement officer testified in a Congressional hearing that she “would not comply” if Congress passes a ban on firearms. Her bold assertion earned her national media attention and ...

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

Virginia’s anti-gun politicians are serious about attacking law-abiding gun owners, but are indifferent about actual gun crime. As highlighted in a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon by Stephen Gutowski, the Virginia Department of Justice Services ...

Kamala Harris and Her Perplexing Anti-Gun Ideas

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

Kamala Harris and Her Perplexing Anti-Gun Ideas

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), one of the two-dozen Democrat presidential hopefuls vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020, has been promoting her anti-gun platform for many months. This isn’t really news, as ...

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

On Sept. 25, the Democrat-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.” That framing of the issue underscored the erroneous notion that Americans need protection from ...

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

The Nov. 5th election may be the most consequential ever for our Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. That’s because every seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is up for grabs and gun control ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.