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U.S. is a pro-gun nation, especially from a Republican viewpoint, survey finds

September 21, 2009 |  3:08 pm

Hunters on dawn patrol in search of doves.

The October issue of Outdoor Life arrived in the mail today, and inside are recent poll results that might be of interest to hunters and fishermen.

The polls, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, asked whether the Constitution guarantees the right to own a gun and what was behind the recent increase in gun sales.

Among Americans polled, 75% said the Constitution guaranteed the right to own a gun. The percentage of "yes" answers was higher among Republicans (92%) and lower among Democrats (64%). Among others, 71% answered yes.

As for the second question, 57% of those polled cited fear of increased government restrictions as the reason for a spike in gun sales; 23% said it was because of a fear of crime, while 20% were unsure.

What Outdoor Life left out was that Americans appear to be evenly divided regarding the much hotter issue of gun control: 44% of respondents said stricter laws are needed, while 44% said they're not. The other 12% were unsure.

Republicans and Democrats were evenly divided as well: 63% of Republicans polled said they opposed stricter gun laws while 62% of Democrats said stricter laws are needed.

A Rasmussen poll conducted last October found that 63% of U.S. voters believed Barack Obama would be more inclined to restrict gun rights than John McCain, his rival in the presidential election (84% of Republicans answered yes to this question).

To be sure, it was no coincidence that the run on guns and ammo began when it became clear who would win that election.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Hunters on dawn patrol in search of doves. Credit: George Wilhelm / Los Angeles Times