The loud voices of gun-rights extremists make it seem as though they have the majority of Americans on their side. To the contrary, they represent a smaller and smaller percentage of households in America and in Illinois.
The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC) has been asking this question every two years since 1973: “Do you happen to have in your home (or garage) any guns or revolvers?” The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 32 percent in 2010, according to the survey data analyzed by The New York Times.
The rate of gun ownership in Illinois is even lower: 20.2 percent, according to a 2001 study reported in the Washington Post. Since the percentage of gun ownership has continued to decline since 2001, it’s fair to assume that more than 80% of Illinois households do not own any guns. And even most gun owners support reasonable gun violence prevention measures like universal background checks, prohibiting assault weapons, and limiting the size of magazine clips.
The November 2014 ballot in Cook County contained an advisory referendum on requiring background checks for firearm sales and prohibiting assault weapon sales. It passed with 84% of votes cast in the suburbs (556,074 to 106,659 votes) and 90% in the City of Chicago (536,655 to 61,639) .
So remember: we have most of the people on our side. The gun rights extremists do not, no matter how many times and how loudly they say they do.