Gun owners are more likely to find the right to own guns, right to vote, right to privacy, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech more essential to their own sense of freedom than those who do not own guns, a new poll released on Thursday shows.
The Pew Research Center's report on guns in America found that 94 percent of gun owners believe freedom of speech is essential to freedom compared with 92 percent of those who do not own a gun. Ninety-two percent of gun owners believe the right to vote is essential compared with 89 percent of non-owners. Eighty-nine percent of gun owners believe the right to privacy is essential compared with 86 percent of non-owners. Eighty-eight percent of gun owners believe freedom of religion is essential compared with 85 percent of non-owners.
The largest gap between gun owners and non-owners on fundamental freedoms came when Pew asked about the right to own guns. Seventy-four percent of gun owners said the right to own a gun is essential where as only 35 percent of non-owners said the same thing, a 39-point gap.
Overall, the poll found that 47 percent of respondents feel the right to own a gun is essential to their personal sense of freedom, 34 percent feel it is important but not essential, and 19 percent feel it is not important. The right to own a gun did the worst of all the freedoms surveyed. None of the other freedoms garnered more than 2 percent of respondents who thought it was not important to their own sense of freedom.
42 percent of respondents said they either own a gun or live with somebody who does, 59 percent say at least some of their friends own a gun, and 72 percent have fired a gun before.