For the first time since Pew began asking the question two decades ago, a majority of Americans now say that gun rights are more important than gun control — a striking shift in public opinion over both the last generation and just the last few years. As recently as December 2012, in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, 51 percent of people surveyed by Pew said it was more important to control gun ownership than protect the rights of gun owners.
That consensus has since disappeared, confirming the fears of many gun-control advocates that outrage after Newtown wouldn't last long.
What's most striking in Pew's new data is that views have shifted more in favor of gun rights since then among nearly every demographic group, including women, blacks, city-dwellers, parents, college graduates, millennials and independents. The two groups that haven't budged? Hispanics and liberal Democrats.
These numbers may capture the short memory of many Americans. But the long-term trend is undeniably grim for gun-control advocates, who seem to be losing ground even among their strongest traditional sympathizers.