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Monday, October 16, 2017

Are Millennials Moving Rightward on Guns?

That's the question that Politico asked in this article last week.  Looking at recent Pew Research data, those ages 18-29 are least likely to support a ban on so-called "assault weapons".
Polling in gun politics is notoriously murky—much lies in the crafting of the question—but demographers have consistently reported a conservative streak in millennial attitudes on guns. Respondents aged 18-29 are the least likely in the country to support a renewed ban on assault weapons, at 49 percent, a fact that has helped drive nationwide support down to a record low. Pew’s data suggest that those falling in the youngest age range have dropped the furthest in support for “gun control” since 2000 (when the alternative is presented as “gun rights”). And when the question concerns the National Rifle Association’s top legislative priority, concealed carry, millennials appear to lead the country. According to Gallup’s version of the question in 2004, the notion that concealed guns made for safer spaces polled at 25 percent; 11 years later, it registered at 55 percent nationally. The greatest support came from those ages 18-29, at 66 percent, a full 10 points greater than the next highest scoring demographic.
While the same group is the most favorable to socialism, when it comes to the issue of guns, it remains one of the few arenas in which a younger generation’s views are not moving leftward. For the gun ban crowd which seems to think their time will come as the gun owning population gets older and dies off, "the data can disappoint".   Later in the article however the writer notes that while this segment of the population may not be as supportive of gun control as other demographic groups, they also are not monolithic.  They tend to support concealed carry but are not absolutists, which is where the writer gives the gun ban lobby hope:
Speaking with Malden, I was struck by the sense that I was staring into the eyes of the gun control movement’s best opportunity: White, gun-owning males disillusioned by the NRA. This was the next wave of undecided citizens, still making up their minds about guns. Roper told me he thinks the tens of millions of gun owners who lie beyond the NRA’s reach—like him—are the fulcrum in the gun debate. Where will they go? The NRA? Or someplace else?

“A lot of people are waiting,” Roper said, speaking of young gun owners. “A whole lot.”

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