This study from Pew Research clearly illustrates the enormous divide between Republicans and Democrats in their views about guns and gun laws. The headline of the study – “Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason” – hides what they really confirmed. When asked about “mass shootings” 79% of Democrats favor tougher gun laws, while only 29% of Republicans do. Let’s say it clearly: four out of five Democrats think tougher gun laws would reduce the number of mass shootings like Aurora or Newtown, while fewer than one in three Republicans thinks so.

When it comes to state nullification of federal gun laws, 80% of Democrats oppose state nullification, while just 37% of Republicans feel that way.

When asked about whether stricter gun laws would help prevent gun-related accidental deaths, just 32% of Republicans think they would, while 74% of Democrats think they would.

And what about the Second Amendment? The Pew study didn’t use the words “Second Amendment” in their study but asked instead whether it was more important to control gun ownership or to protect the of Americans to own guns. 74% of Republicans said it was more important to protect gun rights than to control gun ownership while 22% of Democrats thought so.

By the way, the Pew study also asked how many Republicans owned guns compared to Democrats. The question was asked about “personally owned” guns. 31% of Republicans said they personally owned a gun, while just 16% of Democrats did.

The study is helpful in understanding the great divide. Although I don’t think the separation between Republicans and Democrats is particularly helpful as those appellations imply “conservative” and “liberal,” which distinctions are less and less valid. Nevertheless from a marketing point of view, the job of those of us in the fight to convince, persuade, and garner support for our position on gun laws from those “on the other side of the divide” is, any way you look at it, daunting.  It almost causes me to wonder if we wouldn’t better expend our efforts on those who haven’t made up their minds, namely the independents who are, according to the Pew study, somewhere in the middle on these questions.

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