While gun control remains a fervent goal of many activists and politicians in the wake of numerous mass shootings, a recent poll indicates a majority of Americans believe that gun ownership among citizens makes society safer.
The recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey was conducted earlier this month and the results were published just two days before students and demonstrators gathered in the nation’s capital and around the world to participate in anti-gun violence March for Our Lives events.
The results show 58 percent of respondents said they believe allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves with firearms results in a net increase in safety, according to NBC News.
Citing the possibility of accidental shootings and other misuses, about 38 percent of those polled said gun ownership creates a more dangerous society.
Those numbers reveal an apparent shift in the majority opinion on the issue in just under two decades since a deadly school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. In 1999, 52 percent of respondents to a similar poll indicated that gun ownership decreases safety.
Political affiliation revealed stark differences in opinion among those polled.
Nearly 90 percent of Republicans in the most recent poll shared the view that gun ownership makes the country safer overall. A clear majority of independent voters — 65 percent — shared the same opinion.
Among Democrats, less than 3 in 10 respondents said gun ownership increases safety.
Additionally, the results indicate more American households currently contain a firearm — 47 percent — than the 44 percent reported in 1999.
Though the poll suggests most Americans support the right to bear arms, additional responses reveal an increasing openness to gun-control measures and additional restrictions to that right.
Nearly half of all respondents — 48 percent — shared a positive opinion of gun-control organizations. In comparison, just 32 percent said they opposed such organizations, which is a smaller group than the more than one in three who “strongly” support them.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association appears to have sustained a hit to its reputation following mounting criticism of the lobbying group in the wake of last month’s deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Nevertheless, activists including the NRA’s Dana Loesch celebrated the poll’s results.
NBC/WSJ Poll Shocker: Majority Of Americans Say Owning A Gun Increases Safety https://t.co/2YWIL1DIBp
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 23, 2018
Forty percent of respondents said they have a negative view of the NRA, which was three points higher than the number of people who see the group positively.
Compared to a poll taken less than a year ago, the slip in NRA popularity is staggering. In April, support for the group outpaced opposition by a margin of 45 to 33.
According to NBC, the poll shows that the NRA is currently at its lowest level of support so far this century.
The poll also broke down the decline in the group’s popularity among groups, noting that support has dropped by as much as 15 points among white women, urban residents and moderate Republicans.
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