Elections & Campaigns: Millennials More Likely to Support Open-Carry Laws
Democrats see a political opportunity in gun issues after the outcry from recent mass shootings. But a key constituency of Dems — young people — are more likely to say carrying a weapon makes us safer.
A majority of Americans believe that if more people carried concealed weapons (after a criminal background check and training), we’d all be safer.
A total of 56% of those polled thought more weapons in more (trained) hands would be the safest thing for the nation.
A breakdown of that total is enlightening. Yes, rural residents (at 63%) are more likely than those living in the “big city” (50%) or suburbs (52%) to be in favor of increased concealed carry.
Men are more likely than women to be in favor of additional weaponry (62% to 50%). College graduates are just as likely as those with high school or less to be in favor of concealed weapons (both at the national average). Only those with postgraduate education fall out of the mainstream, at 35%.
Republicans are more likely than Democrats to see an advantage in increased concealed carry (82% to 31%).
But the biggest surprise in this poll was the age breakdown. The youngest in the country, those between 18 and 29 — the millennial generation — are the most likely to favor increased concealed carry. Two-thirds of millennials believe the country would be safer if more individuals carried weapons. Only 50% of those over 65 agree.
Young people are more likely to believe increased gun ownership would make the country safer than rural residents.
The AP, meanwhile, reports that after “15 years of a virtual gag order on guns in presidential politics, Democrats are talking again.”
The Dems see an opening, according to the story. President Obama is considering more executive action on gun control and Hillary Clinton says she “will not be silenced” on the issue.
The idea is that a spate of mass killings has changed minds since 2000, when a last-minute rally held by the National Rifle Association in southern West Virginia is credited with turning that state, and the national election, to George W. Bush over Vice President Al Gore.
AP reporter Kathleen Hennessey writes, “Democrats say support for new gun laws is broader now and the politics of the issue have shifted enough to make the push for tougher measures a political winner, even if there remains almost no chance for success in Congress.”
The recent Gallup poll hints that gun control is not such a simple issue. Dems have long appeared to have given up on the rural vote. But young people have been a vital component of the Democratic coalition. If Gallup is right, however, young people have their own ideas about guns and the safety of the nation.