TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Public interest in gun control has dropped in the two years after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center reports that Americans are more concerned about gun ownership rights than gun control. It's the first time that ownership rights have been a top priority since the center started its annual survey more than 20 years ago.
Support for gun control spike after the attack in Newtown, and Tommy Rompel, owner of Black Weapons Armory in Tucson, said he saw an increase in first-time gun buyers around that time.
Sales have dropped from the rush nearly two years ago, but Rompel said he believes people understanding that owning firearms is a right that the government cannot hinder is the reason for the recent change in public opinion.
"They're sick of the government intervening in people's lives and creating all these laws that just interfere and don't help anything," he said. "They want less interference from both parties, because both parties essentially do it."
The survey of more than 1,500 people also found an increase in the number of people believing that guns in the home do more to protect people from crime.
"You have the right to protect yourself and that's what it's based upon," said Rompel. "It's not about guns. It's not about killing. It's about protecting the individual."
Roughly two dozen people gathered at Saint John on the Desert Presbyterian Church in Tucson for a memorial service Friday night for gun violence.
Pastor Lesley Abrams said it's important for the community to talk about sensible laws for gun control in public. She said there was a passionate push for it in Tucson after the deadly January 8 shooting, but the effort has since dwindled.
"We were all at that point very, very gung ho about we've got to do something," she said. "And yet that seems to have faded away, we seem to be a little less worried about that anymore."
Abrams said no one is interested in taking guns away from their owners, but she would like to see something done to make our society more peaceful.
Candlelight vigils like the one on Tucson's eastside were organized in nearly 200 cities across the United States on Friday.