This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 15, 2014:
Life has lately been hard for the anti-gunners and those opposed to the Second Amendment. According to Pew Research, it isn’t likely to get easier any time soon. For 20 years, Pew has been asking Americans a simple question:
What do you think is more important – to protect the right of Americans to own guns, OR to control gun ownership?
In 1993, the Second Amendment guaranteeing American citizens the right to keep and bear arms had few friends. According to Pew, just 34 percent of those polled thought it was more important than passing more gun control laws, while 57 percent favored more gun control legislation.
Its popularity hit bottom in March, 2000, about a year after the Columbine High School massacre in a Denver suburb, with just 29 percent supporting it compared to 66 percent wanting more controls.
Since then, however, Pew has been measuring a resurgence of support for the beleaguered guarantee, with polls taken just before the monstrous attack on innocents by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut in December two years ago showing 46 percent favoring it – a 17 point gain in little more than a decade.
Following Newtown, the Second Amendment took a modest hit as the national anti-gun media made sure that President Obama and his cadre of anti-gun extremists got front page and nightly news coverage as they tried to turn the tragedy to their advantage. A Pew poll taken following the massacre showed support dropping to 42 percent, a low that hasn’t been touched since.
The latest poll from Pew now shows 52 percent of Americans supporting the Second Amendment, while those favoring more restrictions have slipped to 46 percent, the lowest level seen since Columbine.
The biggest change, and the one the media has downplayed or ignored altogether, is the attitude change among black Americans. When Pew asked Americans in December 2012 whether gun ownership does more to protect people than it endangers personal safety, 29 percent of blacks thought that gun ownership helped protect people. But just one year later, in December, 2013, an astounding 54 percent of blacks thought gun ownership helped protect people from violence. In that poll, even Democrats as a whole changed their tune, albeit only slightly, with just 33 percent of them in 2012 thinking so while 35 percent of them thought so in 2013. As Pew noted in its latest study:
Across many demographic and political groups, opinion has moved in the direction of greater support for gun rights since January 2013….
The only demographic that remains fixed against the increasing support of the Second Amendment is, according to Pew, liberal Democrats. Their support for it has actually dropped slightly since Pew’s poll in December, 2012, while more of them now support further restrictions on gun ownership than they did a year ago.
Every other demographic – be it whites, blacks, college graduates, high schoolers, Republicans, Independents, parents, singles, urbanites, suburbanites, rurals, as well as every age group from 18 through oldsters have increased their understanding of, and consequent support for, the Second Amendment.
It’s not that the liberals and their friends in Congress and billionaires on Wall Street haven’t been trying to tip the argument in their favor. Obama’s threats from the first have turned him into “America’s Number One Gun Salesman” according to a popular bumper sticker. Bloomberg’s millions funding anti-gunners on the left have produced little more than an awareness of his real intentions. As the NRA noted, Americans’ votes “aren’t for sale at any price.” After funding anti-gunners in the midterms, about the only victory these millions have purchased is the anti-gun initiative in Washington State where members of Oathkeepers will be descending on Sunday to protest it noisily and publicly. As Oathkeepers noted in its call to action:
We will rally at the capital, openly exchange guns, unveil and plan to break apart the legislation, and violate i594 in every possible way. Because ALL law that violates the Constitution is not law, it is VOID!
Whether the national media shows up to report on the event remains to be seen. What is clear is that the Pew poll is no black swan, no aberration. Gallup reported back in November that “53 percent of Americans now believe that having guns at home makes them safer, nearly double the percentage reporting the same belief 14 years ago.” When the National Rifle Association looked at the Gallup poll, they were surprised to find the same stubborn demographic disagreeing:
Only among Democrats does a majority still believe that having a gun at home makes them less safe.
And then there’s the FBI’s annual report on crime issued in November showing that more guns owned by Americans hasn’t increased the crime rate, as anti-gunners have repeatedly warned. Instead, said the FBI,
From 2012 to 2013, the nation’s murder rate decreased [by] five percent, to at least a 57-year low.
The 2013 rate was down 56 percent from the all-time high recorded in 1980, and down 54 percent since 1991, when total violent crime hit an all-time high.
All of which definitively refutes the warning from the anti-gun group the National Council to Control Handguns – now called the Brady Campaign – issued in the 1970s that there would be “consequences terrible to imagine” if Americans continued to be allowed to buy guns. Back then, Americans owned an estimated 40 million firearms. Today, estimates range from 270 million to 310 million.
What has changed is Americans’ understanding of the real enemies of freedom. As Thomas Jefferson tellingly noted:
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.
The anchor of the Bill of Rights is increasingly being understood to be the second amendment. Without it, all the others are endangered. Pew’s latest poll reinforces that increased understanding among Americans.
Washington Times: Support for gun rights at highest point in two decades
Pew Research’s press release: Growing Public Support for Gun Rights
Pew Research’s full report: Growing Public Support for Gun Rights