Gun ownership drops in US, but support for gun rights grows

(AP) — A look at gun ownership and attitudes about gun control in the United States:

— Gun ownership has decreased among all age, race and gender groups since 1973. At its peak in that time frame, in 1977, 50.4 percent of households had guns. By 2014, just 31 percent of households did.

— The drop was most pronounced among younger Americans. Among 18- to 25-year-olds, the ownership rate fell from 45 percent to 13 percent.

— Black gun ownership has dropped 75 percent since 1973; white gun ownership has decreased 48 percent.

— In 2014, about one-fourth of whites, 26 percent, owned a gun. Among blacks, the rate was 10 percent.

— Gun owners are more likely to vote. In 2004, 31 percent of gun owners said they voted, versus 17 percent of those without guns. In 2008, 23 percent of gun owners reported voting, compared with 17 percent of non-gun owners. In 2012, it was 25 percent versus 19 percent.

— When asked which is more important, gun control or protecting gun rights, big gains have been recorded in those choosing gun rights, particularly in the past 15 years, leaving Americans nearly evenly split.  Those favoring gun rights — 29 percent of the population in 2000 — grew to 47 percent by last year.  Those saying gun control is more important declined from 57 percent to 50 percent in the same period.

— Though a big gap still exists between blacks and whites, both groups have moved to valuing gun rights over gun control. In 1999, 17 percent of blacks favored gun rights over gun control, compared with 34 percent in 2014. Whites went from 32 percent to 61 percent.

— Republicans have moved far more swiftly than Democrats toward favoring gun rights over gun control. In 1999, 42 percent of Republicans said gun rights were more important, versus 76 percent in 2014. Among Democrats, the increase was much smaller, from 19 percent to 28 percent.

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Source: Pew Research Center, General Social Survey by NORC at the University of Chicago

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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