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51% Of Gun-Owners Believe Mass Shootings Are Something We Must Accept

Torrey Wiley/Flickr

Most gun owners feel they need personal protection from criminals, muggers, thieves, and terrorists.

Recent polling by CBS News reveals just how differently gun owners and non-gun owners think about the Second Amendment, its usefulness, and how we should go about addressing the affects that firearms have on society as a whole.

At the heart of such differences appears to be near incompatible worldviews:

To most gun owners, guns are "part of what makes America great" (53 percent). They also say guns make America "free" (61 percent) "strong" (55 percent) and safe (59 percent).

For many non-gun owners, guns make America "dangerous" (55 percent) and "scary" (38 percent) and represent "one of the country's biggest problems."

One of the more divisive topics surrounding firearms legislation is mass shootings, an issue that takes center stage with some frequency in the U.S. Just over half of gun owners believe Americans must simply accept mass shootings as part of life.

Most Americans (63 percent) believe that mass shootings like those in Las Vegas, Newtown or Orlando can be prevented, but there is a split between gun owners and non-gun owners. Half (51 percent) of America's gun owners believe mass shootings are unfortunately something we have to accept in a free society. Most non-gun owners (67 percent) say mass shootings can be stopped if we tried.

Most gun owners point to personal protection as their reason for owning a gun, and eight in ten at least somewhat believe they could use their firearm to resolve a situation in necessary.

Asked what real physical threat they feel they need to defend themselves from, the top answer from gun owners is, almost universally, criminals, muggers and thieves, and a majority (60 percent) also says terrorists.

Most non-gun owners, on the other hand, view the proliferation of firearms as a national concern:

Forty-three percent of non-gun owners call guns in America one of the nation's biggest problems, and men and women non-gun owners feel the same. About seven in ten women who don't own a gun feel laws should be made stricter, and almost half of women non-gun owners feel the country would be safer if fewer people -- or no one -- owned guns.