A 2015 poll from Gallup found that Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are the least likely age group to support stricter gun control laws, according to NBC.
The poll found that 50 percent of Millennials support stricter gun laws compared to 57 percent of 30-49-year-olds, 56 percent of 50-64-year-olds, and 55 percent of those 65 and older.
These results are surprising because, as the NBC articles notes, Millennials are generally thought to hold disproportionately more liberal views than other age groups. They’re more likely to condone sex between unmarried people, LGBT lifestyles, and having children outside of marriage, according to Gallup Poll Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport.
Gallup’s findings, furthermore, cannot be explained by an indifference towards guns among Millennials. A different poll from ABC News/Refinery 29 shows that abortion, equal pay, and gun rights tied for the second most important issue for millennial women in this year’s election (11 percent).
The support for stricter gun control is famously difficult to pin down (most people don’t know the current laws in the first place), but these statistics might suggest that Millennials—having grown up in an increasingly dangerous and chaotic world—value the right to defend themselves and their families.
They might also suggest that the support for gun rights is different than other social issues and could cross the traditional boundary lines between age and politics. Or they might suggest that Millennials are better informed about gun laws and have a more realistic view of a criminal’s ability to get around the law.
But rather than explore any of these issues—or dwell at all upon Gallup’s findings—NBC chose instead to interview Millennials who support gun control.
According to the two activists NBC spoke with, gun control “isn’t about taking firearms from people.” It’s about “making sure the wrong people don’t have access to dangerous weapons through proposals such as increasing background checks, implementing waiting periods after purchasing guns, and a ban on semi-automatic guns.”
“We saw in the past two weeks the realistic interpretation by law enforcement and white establishments: time and again, it’s clear that the Second Amendment over-simplification that anyone can have a gun slung on their hip, and anywhere they please only applies to white people,” one of the activists said.
Another, a 19-year-old from Chicago, said that she’s never shot a gun, but that even if she did it wouldn’t change her stance on gun control. “I’ve never shot a gun and I hopefully never will,” she said. “That’s not necessarily something that’s on my to-do-list.”
She went on to explain how she “understands” the desire for self-defense and that she’s not “trying to infringe upon” it. But she failed to clarify how her support of a ban on semi-automatic weapons coincides with her supposed “understanding” of self-defense issues.
To be fair, NBC did interview a 24-year-old NRA representative and gave him the chance to state his position. But the majority of the quotations are from anti-gun activists, which is an odd choice considering the results of Gallup’s poll.
Traditional media, it seems, will take every opportunity to promote their agenda—even if the statistics point in exactly the opposite direction.