The January 5 article by the Pew Research Center (5 facts about guns in the United States) was a response to President Barack Obama’s new initiatives regarding gun control. The Center wanted to see what public opinion’s was on guns and gun control. The article is split into five main findings, with many facts sprinkled throughout.
The first finding is that across the United States, people are in more support of greater gun control. According to the article, 85% of the public—both Republicans and Democrats—are for making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. This also includes having greater checks on people with mental illness.
However, the next point seemed to be somewhat contradictory. While many people support a law for greater gun control, actually enforcing that law in practice was disagreed on quite a bit. The Pew Research Center stated that while 63% of Tea Party Republicans wanted a law for stricter background checks, only 28% wanted the bill to actually pass.
The third point focused on how well each party represented the public’s views. Here, the Republican Party—by six percentage points—more accurately represents public opinion.
The fourth point focused on the National Rifle Association (NRA). As the world grows more politicized, opinions do too. When comparing the two extremes, conservative Republicans against liberal Democrats, opinions are more disparate than ever, as the majority of Republicans think that the NRA has the right amount of control over gun control, while the majority of Democrats think the NRA has too much control.
Finally, the last, and most interesting point the research points out is the reason for owning a gun. Gun owners no longer own a gun to hunt—guns are now for protection.
Analysis & Justification
Being a common source for studies, polls, and research, the facts and statistics discovered by the Pew Research Center here can be trusted without much skepticism, and provide facts that don’t seem too out of the usual. The writer, Hannah Fingerhut, has written for the Center many times before, and is very clear about when studies are done, and links all of them in the article so others can go back and check her work. This transparency is required for this type of review. Finally, Fingerhut even references other polling organizations have found similar results, so the reader can double-check the statistics quickly and easily.