Are Millennials Moving Right on Guns? – POLITICO Magazine

Are younger Americans more progressive? One would be hard pressed to disagree. The under-30 crowd has led a fight on transgender rights and new forms of racism. In the culture wars, conservatives have met defeat at the hands of much younger activists for gay marriage, drug legalization and Barack Obama—a politician whose rock-star nimbus was then, improbably, taken up by a senescent Vermonter and card-carrying socialist. According to surveys last year, 43 percent of 18-29-year-olds now hold a favorable view of socialism. These are the millennials. Alex P. Keaton they are not.

But gun politics is where the easy caricature of America’s radicalized youth marching toward socialism ends. It remains one of the few arenas in which a younger generation’s views are not emphatically moving leftward in any obvious way. And for those who would expect or hope otherwise, the data can disappoint.

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Polling in gun politics is notoriously murky—much lies in the crafting of the question—but demographers have consistently reported a conservative streak in millennial attitudes on guns. Respondents aged 18-29 are the least likely in the country to support a renewed ban on assault weapons, at 49 percent, a fact that has helped drive nationwide support down to a record low. Pew’s data suggest that those falling in the youngest age range have dropped the furthest in support for “gun control” since 2000 (when the alternative is presented as “gun rights”). And when the question concerns the National Rifle Association’s top legislative priority, concealed carry, millennials appear to lead the country. According to Gallup’s version of the question in 2004, the notion that concealed guns made for safer spaces polled at 25 percent; 11 years later, it registered at 55 percent nationally. The greatest support came from those ages 18-29, at 66 percent, a full

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