Pew survey: Public takes conservative turn on gun control

Public attitudes on a pair of contentious national issues -- gun control and abortion -- have moved in a more conservative direction over the past year. In both cases, the changes have been driven in part by relatively large shifts among men, while opinions among women have not changed very much.

For the first time in a Pew Research survey, nearly as many people believe it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns (45 percent) than to control gun ownership (49 [percent). As recently as a year ago, 58 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership while 37 percent said it was more important to protect the right to own guns.