While rabid anti-gunners constantly repeat the rallying cry of “too many guns,” recent research proves such an attitude is not in line with the views of most Americans. When Rasmussen released a new poll report last month showing that most Americans—by a wide margin—would rather live in a neighborhood where residents are allowed to own firearms than one where firearms are banned, anti-gunners seemed shocked. But they should not have been.
The survey asked: “Would you feel safer moving to a neighborhood where nobody was allowed to own a gun, or a neighborhood where you could have a gun for your own protection?” Only 22 percent of those polled said they would feel safer living in a neighborhood where nobody was allowed to own a gun. Sixty-eight percent said they would feel safer in a neighborhood where guns were allowed, and the other 10 percent were not sure.
The reason the results shouldn’t have been surprising to anti-gun activists is because they reflect a documented change in attitude toward private firearm ownership. Just last November, Gallup’s most recent survey on gun ownership indicated 63 percent of Americans believe a gun in the home makes it a safer place. Conversely, only 30 percent believe a firearm makes the home more dangerous—one of the anti-gun movement’s main talking points.
In fact, the recent results come at a time when various polls show both strong and growing support for gun rights. For decades Gallup has asked Americans the question, "In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict or kept as they are now?" Since the 1990s, the percentage of respondents that answer "more strict" has significantly trended downward, while the percentage of those hoping to see firearms laws "kept as now" or made "less strict" has risen to the point where they now comprise a majority.
It’s satisfying to know that our argument—that responsible gun ownership by private citizens makes homes, neighborhoods and society safer—is not only correct, but that Americans are continuing to embrace it more each year. But we must continue to make that point on a daily basis, and not attempt to declare victory based on this attitude shift.
To those who have spent years arguing that private firearm ownership is inherently dangerous and should be infringed in any number of ways, reports of this growing support for gun owners must be very distressing. But despite volumes of evidence opposing their views, time has shown the anti-gun movement won’t simply go away. Even now, despite overwhelming support for gun ownership, politicians in Congress and state legislators around the country continue to propose legislation that would greatly restrict private firearm ownership.
It’s gratifying to be reassured, once again, that a vast majority of Americans realize that private firearm ownership is a good thing, not a bad thing. We should build on that momentum and continue to spread the good news—that guns save lives—to anyone who will listen.