Many largely anti-handgun demographic segments — women, liberals, gays, college kids — have become much less anti-gun:
Domestic handgun production and imports more than doubled over four years to about 4.6 million in 2009, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun-industry trade group.
“I’d never considered a gun,” [53-year-old divorced Boston Tai Chi instructor] Natanel says. “I thought they were scary. I wanted nothing to do with them. I didn’t think anyone should have them.”
Twenty years ago, 76 percent of women felt that way about handguns, and 68 percent of all people in the country were wary enough of firearms of any kind to tell Gallup pollsters that they backed laws more strictly limiting their sale. Then what Gallup calls “a clear societal change” began.
In October, a Gallup poll found record-low support for a handgun ban — at 26 percent among all, and 31 percent among women. The poll, which has tracked gun attitudes since 1959, documented a record-low 43 percent who favor making it more difficult to acquire guns and record-high numbers of women and Democrats saying there is a firearm at home. Forty-seven percent said someone in the household owns at least one gun, the highest reading in 18 years.