Poll: 9 years old is the 'appropriate age' to begin shooting guns

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Gun Control,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Polls,Firearms,NRA

By a margin of slightly more than two-to-one, Americans overall would feel safer with a gun in their house than not, but less than a quarter of Democrats agree, according to a new survey.

Pollster YouGov found that 42 percent would feel safer with a gun in the home. Just 20 percent would feel "less safe.” Some 31 percent said they would feel "about the same."

The comfort level Americans have with guns was highlighted in another poll question about the "appropriate" age at which children should start shooting.

While those polled said they started shooting at a mean age of 16, they said that the "appropriate age for someone to fire a handgun, shotgun or rifle for the first time" is a mean age of 9 years old, when children are in the fourth or fifth grade.

The findings were divided politically. Most Republicans, 59 percent, would feel safer with a gun nearby, but only 24 percent of Democrats agree.

The poll looked at several elements of the gun debate, including civilians carrying weapons, gun use and gun ownership.

Some 44 percent said they would feel less safe with more people carrying guns, though that also broke down on political lines with 69 percent of Democrats feeling less safe versus just 24 percent of Republicans agreeing.

YouGov’s poll of about 1,000 found that 25 percent “personally own a gun,” but that 63 percent have fired one.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.