Americans’ opinions on gun rights have flipped. For the first time, more Americans value gun owners’ rights than they do gun control.

According to Pew research, the percentage of Americans who thought gun rights were more important was only 29-34 percent during the 90s. In the 00s, that number shot up and down between the 32 and 45 percent. Around the turn of the current decade, the numbers were roughly even for several years, but in December 2014 the number of Americans who value gun rights surpassed those who prefer gun control for the first time. The numbers are currently 52 percent and 46 percent.

gun rights

Pew chart: “% saying it is more important to…”

Another of Pew’s findings was that the percentage of Americans who say that they feel safer with a gun in the home has risen even more steadily. Thirty-five percent said they felt safer in ’00. Today, 63 percent say they feel safer.

Pew suggested two reasons that might be behind the change in favor of gun owners’ rights: Republicans have pushed for gun rights during the Obama years, they noted, but also, more Americans perceive that crime is on the rise today than they did decades ago.

But, Pew noted, unlike previous decades when more Americans believed high crime should be dealt with by strictening gun control laws, today more American’s believe crime should be dealt with by increasing gun ownership.

The shift in favor of gun rights is across the board with regards to perceptions of crime. More American’s who believe crime is rising favor more gun ownership, but so do American’s who believe crime is the same or decreasing, Pew found.

By James Haleavy