Most Americans Believe Gun Ownership Increases Safety

A new poll shows that 58 percent of Americans believe gun ownership is a good thing.

The squeaky wheels of the gun control crowd seem to be making the most noise in the wake of last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. With the school protests and this weekend’s march, the gun grabbers appear to be dominating the conversation.

In the midst of the debate, here’s some good news. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that 58 percent of those surveyed believe that gun ownership increases safety.

These numbers come in advance of Saturday's march in Washington D.C. — and across the country — calling for an end to gun violence and mass shootings after the February 14 shootings in Parkland, Fla.

In the poll, 58 percent agree with the statement that gun ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.

By contrast, 38 percent say that gun ownership reduces safety by giving too many people access to firearms, increasing the chances for accidental misuse.

One encouraging finding in the poll is that the number of those who favor gun ownership – along with those who actually own guns – is higher than it was nearly 20 years ago.

These findings represent a reversal from 1999, when a majority — 52 percent — said gun ownership reduces safety. And they come at a time when 47 percent of American adults say they have a firearm in the household, which is up from 44 percent in 1999.

Needless to say, the greatest percentage of those in favor of gun ownership came from Republicans, by a staggering margin of 89 to 28 over Democrats.

There’s a bit of disheartening news in the poll in that half of those surveyed are in favor of gun control organizations.

Forty-eight percent of Americans say they support gun-control organizations, including 34 percent who strongly support them. That's compared with 32 percent who oppose gun-control organizations.

The poll also shows that the anti-NRA propaganda campaign is proving effective.

As a plurality of Americans say they back gun-control organizations, the latest NBC/WSJ poll finds the National Rifle Association with its worst net positive-negative score since the 1990s.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents view the NRA positively, while 40 percent see it in a negative light. That’s a noticeable shift from April 2017, when it was 45 percent positive, 33 percent negative.

It’s tough to look at some of these numbers and say that the poll brings mostly good news, but some of the biggest comfort we can take from it is that gun ownership – and support for it – are higher than ever. Here’s hoping that trend continues.

No. 1-4

Regardless of where you stand on the gun issue, it is dumb to crow about "Americans believe" <insert factual statement>. What matters is whether the fact is correct or not as Americans have been wrong about lots of things before.


You took 58% and turned that into "most"?

Greg Halvorson
Greg Halvorson

How absolutely PATHETIC that the percentage is so low…. Truly, we're a nation in steep, STEEP decline.

Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson

On the NRA being unpopular, we have to remember that there are lots of people who dislike the NRA because it is too willing to compromise. The National Association for Gun Rights has about 4.5 million members and Gun Owners of America has 1.5 million. While there's likely some overlap between the three groups, these two groups alone have at least 4.5 million members and potentially represent as many as 6 million gun owners (compared to the 5 million in the NRA) who view the NRA as not doing enough to protect gun rights.