NBC/WSJ poll shocker: Majority of Americans say owning a gun increases safety

Well, maybe NBC will be shocked to learn that 58% of Americans believe gun ownership increases safety. The rest of will wonder what the other 42% might be thinking:

Nearly six-in-10 Americans say that gun ownership increases safety, even as a plurality of respondents support gun-control organizations, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. …

In the poll, 58 percent agree with the statement that gun ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.

By contrast, 38 percent say that gun ownership reduces safety by giving too many people access to firearms, increasing the chances for accidental misuse.

Not only do a majority of Americans think that gun ownership increases safety, that number has been growing. Nineteen years ago, 52% said the opposite. That suggests that the media hysteria surrounding firearms — including its general ignorance in reporting on them — may have actually backfired.

Perhaps it might be simpler than that. Gun control has failed to stop in cities like Chicago, Washington DC, and other jurisdictions. The assault-weapons ban didn’t have any impact on crime with long-barrel firearms, which was already dropping when it was imposed and continued to drop after it expired. Gun-free zones, a relatively new phenomenon, have failed to impress criminals and convince them to break the law where people haven’t been disarmed. In fact, that alone might have convinced Americans that they’d be better off preparing for effective self-defense rather than hope someone else will rescue them in quicker time than it takes for a criminal to pull a trigger.

The partisan breakdown on these numbers is … interesting:

The numbers also highlight a stark divide by party, with 89 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of independents saying gun ownership increases safety, versus just 28 percent of Democrats who agree.

If anyone wonders why Democrats have been stuck on the margins of power, that’s one powerful indicator. They’re fortunate that gun issues are not usually at the top of voter priorities, or they might be even more marginalized than they are right now. This shows Democrats so far out of step with mainstream America that they might struggle to win elections (outside of their urban/coastal cores) for a generation or more, at least without Republicans shooting themselves in the foot.

This is a profound cultural and political disconnect. And as the NBC/WSJ poll demonstrates, it’s only growing wider.