Golden State residents are witnessing first-hand the uselessness of gun control laws, and confidence in the anti-gun regime is slipping as violent crime slams the state’s major cities and more residents purchase firearms.
A survey released this week by historically anti-gun institutions UC Berkeley and the LA Times found that the percentage of residents who prioritize gun control over the Second Amendment is down by 7%. In 2018, 64% said it was more important to place controls on gun ownership than to protect the Second Amendment. This year, that number dropped to 57%.
The survey also recorded a drop in the number of Californians who believe gun control makes their communities safer. This year, 56% of voters said they believed stronger gun control laws help make their communities safer. That number constitutes a slight majority, but it’s down from 2018, when 60% of California residents thought gun laws make communities safer.
Pollsters who spoke with the LA Times believe the numbers reflect the recent surge in violent crime.
“I think it’s due in large measure to the increase in crime, especially violent crime,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo.
Others point to the precipitous rise in gun ownership to explain the changing views on guns. California saw a record surge in gun sales in 2020, according to a report from the state attorney general. Handgun sales were up 65.5% from the previous year while long gun sales spiked 45.9%.
That handgun number outpaced the national increase in gun sales, which rose by 60% in 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. If the same percentage of Californians purchase a firearm for the first time as the rest of the American population (40%), new gun owners in California purchased 274,000 handguns.
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“[Californians] are realizing that they are their own first line of defense,” Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, told the LA Times. “The more the general public actually finds out about some of the shooting events that happen in California, it is starting to realize none of those laws would have affected any of the mass shootings that we’ve had.”
There’s no question the nationwide unrest of the last year has affected Americans’ views about guns. Seven percent fewer Americans say gun laws should be more strict (2019: 64%; 2020: 57%) and 6% more Americans believe they should be kept as they are (2019: 28%; 2020: 34%), according to Gallup.
The percentage of Americans who say they have a gun in their home rose by 5% between 2019 and 2020, and opposition to a handgun ban has only been higher once in history.