Poll Finds Disagreement On "Gun Violence," Gun Ownership

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Liberals and conservatives disagree on plenty. I mean, that’s kind of why there are two opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s because they’re polar opposites.

Most people, to be fair, live in the middle somewhere. They can agree on a few issues here or there. One of those issues you’d think they’d agree on is whether “gun violence” is a problem or not, but you’d be wrong.

Attitudes about gun violence differ widely by race, ethnicity, political party and community type, according to Pew Research Center research. While 73% of Democrats see gun violence as a big problem, only 18% of Republicans see it as a problem. When broken down further, it was shown that Black Democrats are more likely than white, Hispanic Democrats to say gun violence is a big problem.

In total, around half of all Americans (48%) see gun violence as a problem in the country, according to Pew.

And, honestly, both have a point. Homicides are up, which justifies Democrats’ view that “gun violence” is an issue. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to reject the term “gun violence” altogether. Why wouldn’t they? Is violence somehow worse because a gun is used rather than, say, a knife or a bat?

Not really.

In addition, it should be noted that while homicides are up, other violent crimes aren’t really following the same trends.

However, Pew also had questions about gun ownership.

Personal protection tops the list of reasons why gun owners say they own a firearm. The Pew Research Center also found that four in 10 U.S. adults live in a household with a gun, including 30% who say they own one. Gun ownership is closely linked with views on gun policies, which is true even among gun owners and nongun owners within the same political party, according to one Pew survey.

Some 44% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they own a gun, while only 20% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning persons say they own one, Pew research shows. Republican gun owners are least supportive of policies restricting access to guns while Democratic who don’t own guns are most supportive.

Of course, those numbers are based on people who admit to having a gun. A lot of people won’t tell pollsters whether they have one or not, mostly because no one seems to trust them not to have some way to tie answers to phone numbers or whatever. Either way, I know a lot of gun owners who outright lie about whether a gun is in the house or not, so those numbers may well be higher.

Unsurprisingly, though, they do find a link between gun ownership and views on gun policy. We’ve figured that to be true for years, which is why the surge in gun buying is such good news for gun owners overall. More new gun owners will eventually lead to more new gun voters.

The fact that liberals seem to believe “gun violence” is a significant issue, however, may well mean that more of them will start buying guns and, in time, change their views on the Second Amendment. If enough of that happens, maybe the Democrats will stop trying to take our guns, especially if it’s their base they’re talking about disarming.