September 25, 2023
A shocking new poll shows 88% of Democrats think “controlling gun violence” is more important than protecting gun rights. (Dave Workman)

A new national survey shows 60 percent of poll respondents—including an alarming 88 percent of Democrats—think it is more important to control gun violence than it is to protect gun rights.

According to a report in The Hill, the newly-released NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll shows the highest preference for gun control over gun rights in the past ten years. Shockingly, 40 percent of people who own guns “report feeling the same,” The Hill said.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, reacted quickly.

“This is a stunning revelation,” Gottlieb said. “While we have always advocated for safer communities and have supported citizen initiatives aimed at locking up criminals, it is appalling that such an overwhelming percentage of Democrats are so willing to throw the Second Amendment under a bus to achieve some false sense of security.”

The poll was released on the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where responding police waited in the hallway while the killer was shooting.

While 88 percent of Democrats give gun control a higher priority than protecting the right to keep and bear arms, 67 percent of Republicans think just the opposite.

They think protecting rights is more important. Fifty-five percent of Independents also think controlling so-called “gun violence” is more important than protecting gun rights.

This is nothing new for Democrats. A look back at similar polling by The Economist/YouGov shows that in April of last year, showed only 9 percent of Democrats think the right of people to own guns is more important than protecting people from “gun violence,” while 57 percent prioritize protecting people, and 29 percent think both are equally important.

Thirty-nine percent of Republicans, on the other hand, said protecting the right to keep and bear arms is more important. In comparison, only 10 percent thought protecting against violence took priority, and the plurality (49%) said protecting both is important.

Jump ahead to November of last year, and a similar survey found 63 percent of responding Democrats gave more importance to protecting people from violence while the same 9 percent stuck to their gun rights. Thirteen percent of Republicans thought protecting gun rights was more important. In comparison, 29 percent felt protecting people from violent crime had the edge, but 47 percent of GOP respondents still said protecting both were important.

According to the Marist Poll, “More than one in four Americans (27%) say banning the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons would be the most impactful in reducing gun violence in the United States. 17% think mental health screenings for all gun buyers would make the most difference. Background checks for gun purchases at gun shows and other private sales (13%), red flag laws (12%), and allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom (10%) follow. A notable 20% of Americans do not think any of these options would have an impact.”

On a somewhat brighter note, the Marist Poll revealed that 58 percent of survey participants support “stand your ground laws,” which eliminate a “duty to retreat” before acting in self-defense. Forty percent disapprove overall, and the political breakdown once again shows Democrats in an unfavorable light. A whopping 81 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Independents approve of “stand your ground” laws, but 60 percent of Democrats do not approve.

Perhaps equally gratifying to the gun rights community is the revelation that “a growing proportion of Americans (35%) also say their first reaction to a mass shooting is more people need to carry guns.” The last time this question came up, in 2019, support for armed citizens was at 25 percent.

Why are such poll results important? Increasingly, public opinion polls suggest people think rights are subject to such surveys. Even MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow understands the difference between rights and privileges.

“The thing about rights is they’re not actually supposed to be voted on,” Maddow reportedly has stated. “That’s why they’re called rights.”

Politicians all the way up to Joe Biden seem to shape their positions on guns based on poll results, whether it is the support for so-called “universal background checks” or bans on so-called “assault weapons.”

Regarding the new poll, CCRKBA’s Gottlieb said he is equally disappointed that many Independents and even some Republican poll respondents were also willing to prioritize controlling crime over protecting individual rights.

“The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our Bill of Rights and most state constitutions for a reason,” Gottlieb noted. “If we don’t protect all of our rights vigorously, pretty soon we will end up with none of them.”

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.Dave Workman

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