BELLEVUE, WA – Today’s revelation by Gallup that a record low number of Americans support a legal ban on handgun possession by private citizens demonstrates a positive change in the public attitude about personal protection and the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment Foundation said.

According to Gallup, only 26 percent of Americans favor a handgun ban. The annual Gallup Crime poll was conducted Oct. 6-9.

“American citizens have become increasingly aware that they are the true ‘first responders’ when a crime happens in their presence,” noted SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “The public’s attitude about gun ownership has changed dramatically in the last decade, and especially since the Supreme Court’s Heller ruling in 2008 and our victory in the 2010 McDonald ruling, affirming the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right.

“The public has also realized that all the doom and gloom rhetoric from gun prohibitionists about more crime and violence associated with increased gun ownership has been wrong,” he continued. “More Americans today own firearms than they did a generation ago, yet violent crime rates are at their lowest levels in many years.”

According to Gallup, there is also greater opposition to a ban on semiautomatic sport-utility rifles, often wrongly identified as “assault weapons.” Only 43 percent of those polled think these guns should be banned, down ten percent from the 2001 poll. Support for stricter gun laws has also declined, with 44 percent believing laws should be left as they are, and 11 percent favoring less strict laws.

“The pendulum has definitely been swinging in favor of expanded gun rights,” Gottlieb observed. “For too long, people were fooled by hysteria and misinformation from gun prohibitionists and their cheerleaders in the press. But their alarmist rhetoric has failed the test of time, and now Americans by greater percentages than we’ve seen in generations are realizing that gun rights are important, to our security as a nation and to public safety in our own neighborhoods.”