Pew survey finds sharp drop in overall support for gun control

Letter to the editor: This shooting hits close to home for GOP
US Children, Especially Black Ones, Far More Likely to Die Gun-Related Deaths Than Others Worldwide

24 June, 2017

The report, billed as one of the most comprehensive studies on childhood gun injuries in the USA, found that almost 1,300 children under the age of 17 die from gunshot wounds each year, while close to 5,800 suffer some sort of injury. About three-quarters or more of non-gun owners say they would support each of these proposals, while roughly half or less of gun owners say the same.

"Ensuring that all children have safe, stable, nurturing environments remains one of our most important priorities", Fowler added.

Siegel said that the group's next research steps are to identify the most effective methods and policies for isolating the small number of people who are most likely to commit acts of violence using guns. More than 33 percent of whites own guns, as do 24 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics. Thirty percent said they owned a gun, while another 36 percent say they are considering owning a firearm in the future. The right to own a gun did the worst of all the freedoms surveyed.

Advocates for gun violence research worry that gains made during the Obama administration might be reversed under President Donald Trump, who received strong backing from gun-rights groups.

Perhaps the starkest differences, though, have to do with Americans' perceptions of how levels of gun ownership impact crime.

Two-thirds of people say they own a gun mainly for protection, with hunting the next largest reason, at 38 percent.

Forty-four 44 percent of adults surveyed said they personally knew someone who was shot, accidentally or on objective, and 83 percent believed gun violence was a very big or moderately big US problem. A little over half of those who have never owned a gun say they have fired one at some point. Boys, particularly African-Americans, were the most vulnerable for risk of gun homicide, and suicide, which accounted for more than a third of gun-related deaths, sharply increased from 2007 to 2014.

Americans like their guns: Makenzie Wynn poses for a picture at the 146th annual meeting of the National Rifle Association on April 29, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fully seven-in-ten Republican gun owners believe that more gun ownership would lead to less crime, compared to just 24 percent of Democratic gun owners and 13 percent of Democrats who don't own guns at all.

While there are many areas of agreement on gun safety between those who own firearms and those who do not - not allowing the mentally ill to buy guns, preventing those on no-fly lists from buying firearms and talking to children about gun safety - an area of huge disagreement between owners and non-owners is how owners should store their guns.

A third of Americans say that they don't now own a gun and can't see themselves ever doing so.

White men are especially likely to be gun owners, but ownership crosses demographic boundaries. Half of Americans who are not gun owners agreed.

Even among gun owners, Republicans and Democrats don't see eye to eye on gun policy. But starting after former President Barack Obama took office, GOP views swung dramatically toward favoring more unfettered gun rights.

A new, wide-ranging Pew Research report, also released Thursday, sheds some light on the attitudes underlying Americans' opinions about firearms.

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