For the first time in more than 20 years, a poll has indicated that a majority of Americans are more concerned with protecting gun rights than passing more gun control, a finding that also reveals "a substantial shift in attitudes since shortly after the Newtown school shootings."
While 52 percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center said it's important to protect the right to own guns, 46 percent of respondents prioritized more control of gun ownership, Breitbart reported. Since the question was asked in 1993, this is the first time that a majority has held a position of defending gun rights instead of "[controlling] gun ownership,"
When broken down by party affiliation, support for the Second Amendment increased by 6 points among Republicans (76 percent) and Democrats (28 percent), 7 points among Independents (56 percent), 8 points among whites and 10 points among African Americans since last January.
The biggest shift has come in the black community, with 54 percent believing guns enhance personal safety.
In a poll taken immediately after the December 2012 Newtown shootings, public opinion favored gun control by 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent. Although a major drive to push more gun ownership restrictions through Congress had been launched by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the immediate aftermath of Newtown, the administration's plans eventually failed to hold in Capitol Hill.
Additionally, a new and even larger majority of 57 percent respondents said gun ownership does more to protect personal safety against crime than endanger it, up from 48 percent in 2012, according to the Huffington Post. This also explains the recent increase in gun sales.
Meanwhile, while Hispanics were the most pro-gun control demographic by a nearly 3-to-1 margin in the poll, conservative Republicans were the most pro-gun rights demographic by a margin of more than 4-to-1.
The Pew Research poll was conducted between Dec. 3 and Dec. 7, using live phone interviews to reach 1,507 adults who use both land lines and cell phones.