Two years after the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, more than 50 percent of Americans believe they have the right to own a gun, a Pew Research Center study released Wednesday said. Second Amendment rights remain a major point of contention, but for the first time in more than 20 years of Pew Research Center surveys, a majority of Americans believe U.S. citizens should be allowed to own a fire arm.

Support for gun control has increased since the Newtown massacre that saw Adam Lanza kill 20 children. When 1,507 adults were asked recently if gun ownership puts people at risk or serves as protection, 57 percent of Americans said ownership leads to protection, up 9 percent from Dec. 2012, according to the Pew survey.

Gun rights continue to be a partisan issue. Roughly 80 percent of Republicans polled said guns protect people from being crime victims. About 35 percent of Democrats agree, the survey found. When gender is concerned, nearly 61 percent of men want to protect their rights to own a gun and 43 percent of women agree, the Pew study said. 

Among different racial groups, Hispanics were the only group whose percentage dropped when it came to the right to own a gun. In 2013, 27 percent believed Americans had the right, but a year later it dropped down two points. However, amid whites and blacks polled, the numbers increased from last year. Roughly 61 percent of whites polled are in favor of gun rights, up 8 percent, and 34 percent of blacks polled agreed, a 10 percent increase from last year.

Congress has refused to tackle gun control legislation in the years following the Sandy Hook massacre. Gun control advocates want stronger background checks for people who purchase guns, the Hill wrote. Nearly 100 school shootings have occurred since the Newtown deaths, the Huffington Post reported. 

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