Support for gun rights is on the rise, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center released Wednesday.

Fifty-two percent of adults say it is more important to protect the rights of gun owners than to control gun ownership, compared to 46 percent.

In January 2013, not long after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., 45 percent of adults said gun rights were more important and 51 percent favored gun control.


Americans are also more likely to say that gun ownership does more to protect people from being crime victims than endanger people's safety, at a rate of 57 percent to 38 percent, according to the poll.

Conservative Republicans, African Americans and women are significantly more likely to say that gun ownership does more to protect people from being victims than they were two years ago.

But Pew found that certain demographic splits for the broader favorability of gun control have not shifted.

Whites are still likely to see gun rights as more important, while both blacks and Hispanics see gun control as more important.

Those who have never attended college or those who have attended some college continue to support gun rights over gun control, the poll finds. Americans who have graduated college think gun control is more important than gun rights, with those with postgraduate degrees favoring control by the widest margin of any group.

The percentage of Americans who favor stricter gun control has fluctuated in the aftermath of mass shooting incidents. But no recent tragedies have led to significant legislative reform.

A Gallup poll in October found that 47 percent of Americans favored stricter gun control, less than favored keeping laws the same or making them less strict.

The poll was conducted from December 3 through 7 with a sample size of 1,507 and a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.9 percent.