Gun rights have become a top concern for Americans.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newton, Connecticut, Americans’ views of guns have gone through a shift to the point where record-high numbers of citizens now say firearms are necessary for personal protections.

Crime rate increases have in part fueled a 25-year-high, the Washington Examiner reported.

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According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, support for gun control once soared to 66 percent, especially in the days following the Sandy Hook shooting and the concerted Obama administration effort to platform that tragedy into crackdowns on the Second Amendment. But that number is long gone.

Now, support for more gun control stands at 46 percent and gun rights, at 52 percent – the highest level in 25 years.

“We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership, not gun control, makes people safer,” Pew reported.

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Fully 63 percent of Americans believe a gun is the best defense against crime, Pew found.

As the Examiner reported, the Pew numbers coincide with the National Rifle Association’s record-high participation at its national convention, and soaring membership rate of five million.

“In the 1990s, the rate of violent crimes plummeted by more than half nationwide,” Pew said. “Public perceptions tracked right along, with the share saying there was more crime in the U.S. over the past year falling from 87 percent in 1993 to just 41 percent by 2001. In the new century, however, there’s been a disconnect. A majority of Americans (63 percent) said in a Gallup survey last year that crime was on the rise, despite crime statistics holding near 20-year lows.”

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