According to a new study, America's deep political divide is a reflection of the country's attitudes toward gun control. The Pew survey released Thursday found a significant decline in overall support for gun control, despite some common ground on key issues. When people were asked if it was more important to protect gun rights or control gun ownership, 51 percent favored gun control and 47 percent favored gun rights. In 2000, two-thirds of those surveyed claimed they supported gun control. Despite that difference, people are in broad agreement over several specific gun control measures. 89 percent of those surveyed supported preventing the mentally ill from buying guns and 84 percent of all adults supported background checks for private sales and at gun shows.

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