More than half the nation now supports gun rights over gun control, but a new survey finds that the issue has become one of the most divisive in the race for president.
The Pew Research Center revealed that 52 percent of the country believes it is more important to protect the Second Amendment right to own guns compared to 46 percent who want gun control.
The change from the last presidential election, when gun control advocates held a slight edge during President Obama’s reelection push, is fueled by an historic gap between partisans on the issue, said Pew.
“By more than four-to-one (79 percent to 19 percent), Clinton supporters prioritize controlling gun ownership over protecting gun rights. By about nine-to-one (90 percent to 9 percent), Trump supporters express the opposite view – that it is generally more important to protect gun rights than control gun ownership,” said Pew.
That 70-point difference is more than triple the gap seen in the 2000 race between former Democratic Vice President Al Gore and then Texas Gov. George W. Bush and nearly double the 2012 gap between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
“In 2000, there was a 20-percentage-point gap between the shares of Al Gore and George W. Bush supporters who said it was more important to control gun ownership than protect gun rights (66 percent vs 46 percent). By 2012, when Barack Obama ran against Mitt Romney, that difference had increased to 41 points (62 percent vs. 21 percent) and today it stands at 70 points (79 percent of Clinton supporters vs. 9 percent of Trump supporters),” said Pew.
Second Amendment advocate Larry Keane, blogging for the industry’s National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the results should be a wakeup call for Clinton.
In a “Memo to Mrs. Clinton,” he wrote, “One might think that these numbers would give anti-gun Democrat office seekers pause – and indeed, Mrs. Clinton has attempted to tone down her public rhetoric for now. Yet, we still hear calls to bring back the failed national ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ from candidates clearly working on motivating their base, and not even attempting a broader appeal. Yet despite the steady drumbeat of misleading and inaccurate mainstream media coverage, support for such a ban has slipped from 57 percent to 52 percent in the past year,” he wrote.