More than a year has passed since the senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. That event put all gun owners on high alert because it stirred up debate about gun laws in the United States and gave President Obama the ammunition he needed to renew efforts to make those laws stricter and to even ban certain types of firearms entirely. Immediately following the Newtown tragedy, 58 percent of respondents to a Gallup poll wanted stricter gun laws. In the latest Gallup poll concerning public attitudes about firearms and gun laws, that number has dropped to 49 percent. However, gun owners should not let down their guard just yet.
Majority Oppose Ban on Handguns
Every gun owner’s biggest fear is that a ban on handguns in the United States will become a reality. Naturally, every gun dealer in the country is worried about that too. The latest Gallup poll should alleviate those concerns to a certain extent. A full 74 percent of respondents are opposed to instituting a ban on handguns. Back in 1959, only 36 percent of respondents opposed such a ban, so a lot of headway has been made in the last several decades. It appears that gun stores do not have much to worry about, but that does not mean anti-gun activists have lost.
Who Supports Stricter Laws Concerning the Sale of Firearms?
Many people are opposed to making gun laws stricter than they are because they feel it is a slippery slope. The concern is that the laws will grow stricter and stricter until the sale of guns is effectively banned. Therefore, most gun owners oppose making the laws even stricter. In the Gallup poll, 49 percent wanted the laws to be stricter. 62 percent of people wanted stricter gun laws back in 2000, so things are loosening up a little.
It is sometimes possible to predict future trends by considering how different age groups respond to poll questions. In the case of implementing stricter gun laws, gun owners will be pleased to know that support is stronger among people ages 55 and over. It is weakest in the 18-to-34 age group. Younger people do not seem to think that gun sales should be hampered by stricter laws. Confusingly enough, however, 27 percent of those in the 18-to-34 age group support a handgun ban while 18 percent of those between the ages of 34 and 54 support such a ban. These conflicting results highlight the importance of continuing to fight for Second Amendment rights.
Attitudes about Gun Laws are Split Down Political Lines Too
There are some very glaring differences in attitudes concerning gun laws between liberals and conservatives, and the same is true about Democrats and Republicans. The Gallup poll asked people to classify themselves when responding, and the results are quite illuminating. 72 percent of liberals and 77 percent of Democrats support stricter gun laws while 33 percent of conservatives and 23 percent of Republicans support such laws. Meanwhile, 33 percent of liberals and 37 percent of Democrats support a ban on handguns while just 17 percent of conservatives and 16 percent of Republicans support such a ban.
While the poll shows favorable results for people from both ends of the spectrum, it also proves that attitudes about gun laws and gun ownership are all over the place in the United States. Anyone who has ever gotten into a debate about these issues knows how emotionally charged things can get. Anyone who is concerned about protecting their Second Amendment rights should not only oppose a handgun ban but should also oppose any efforts to make gun laws stricter in this country. There is little doubt that efforts to make gun laws stricter are made with the ultimate goal of banning firearms entirely.