A new poll from CBS News indicates that on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, 29 percent of Americans believe allowing more law-abiding citizens to carry firearms would help prevent gun violence.
CBS hides that particular statistic at the bottom of their report. But it aligns with the growing trend among Americans to take responsibility for their personal safety and security.
The number of concealed carry permit holders has risen dramatically in the last five years, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. In 2017 the number of permit holders grew by a record 1.83 million. That’s more than the previous record increase of 1.73 million, set just the year before.
States have issued a total of 16.3 million concealed carry permits, which represents approximately 6.53 percent of American adults. In light of the CBS News poll, this statistic indicates that a much larger number of Americans support concealed carry than actually hold permits. If only 6.5 percent of Americans possess a permit. Then, the majority of the 29 percent of Americans who support arming law-abiding citizens do not hold permits themselves.
The concealed carry movement, in other words, encompasses a much larger segment of the population than those who have made the decision to carry a firearm.
Also of note is the fact that “stricter gun laws” falls in third place behind “better mental health screenings” and “tougher sentences on criminals” for solutions to gun violence. While 32 percent of Americans believe gun violence is a “crisis” and 37 percent believe the problem is “very serious,” they do not believe that restricting Second Amendment rights is the best solution.
The survey also found that political affiliation affects one’s perception of gun violence in the U.S. Democrats were three times more likely to call gun violence a “crisis.” But, strangely enough, Republicans were more likely to call the problem “very serious.”
Politics also determines whether or not one believes gun laws should be stricter. Eighty-three percent of Democrats favor stricter gun laws. Only 29% of Republicans say the same. Ten percent of Republicans believe gun laws should be less strict. But the majority—57%—are happy with the laws as they are.
The survey also asked about perceptions of mass shooting. Americans are roughly split on whether a mass shooting concerns them. Forty-eight percent are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about a shooting in their area. And 52% are “not very” or “not at all” concerned.
There are two major takeaways from the CBS Poll. First, nearly one in every three Americans are willing to take responsibility for their own personal safety. Law enforcement cannot be everywhere at once. But the Second Amendment allows Americans to protect themselves until the authorities can arrive.
Second, as with many issues in 2017, views on guns and gun violence are becoming increasingly politicized. Many Americans still take the time to research the facts. But an increasing number of people are willing to believe whatever their favorite politicians tell them.