Even with gun control becoming a priority for President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, Americans are expressing a firm belief in gun ownership. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 51% of Americans say that having guns in the home make them feel safer:
Lost amid the debate is the fact that for the first time a majority of Americans say having a gun in the household makes it a safer place to be, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By a wide 51 to 29 percent margin, more people say a gun in the house makes it safer rather than more dangerous.
That’s a near complete reversal from a Gallup poll in 2000, when the public split 35 to 51 percent on whether guns make the home safer or more dangerous.
People with guns in their homes lead the way in touting the safety benefits: 75 percent say they make the house safer, compared with just 30 percent of those with no gun at home who say the same.
Notice the swing from 13 years ago. The tables have completely turned in support of gun ownership — and this comes at a time when politicians in Washington are trying to use a senseless tragedy to push long-held anti-gun ideas. Talk about losing the messaging war.
Why do Americans feel safer with a gun in the home? Because it gives them piece of mind. For every tragic story, there are many others that show that guns prevent crimes and save lives.
The Cato Institute put out a study early last year — Tough Targets: When Criminals Face Armed Resistance from Citizens — that documented many different uses of firearms for defensive purposes over an eight year period. The authors, Clayton Cramer and David Burnett, note that “tens of thousands of crimes are prevented each year by ordinary citizens with guns,” including guns in the home.
There will always be instances of tragedy with firearms. But President Obama and lawmakers should focus on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill —most of whom obtain their weapons in an illicit manner, such as theft or straw purchases — rather than pushing policies that seek to make it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to obtain a weapon for self-defense.