Just How many Gun Owners ARE There in the United States of America?


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Blain
December 7, 2003, 07:47 PM
Anyone hazard a guess? Well, with a total human population of 281,422,000, I would estimate around 150 million of those own a firearm of some type.

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TarpleyG
December 7, 2003, 08:09 PM
I always hear 80 million thrown around. Sounds low but come to think of it, I really don't know THAT many people that own guns but the ones that do own at least 1/2 a dozen or more so who knows.

GT

Matthew Courtney
December 7, 2003, 08:15 PM
The census reports only about 203 million people in the US over the age of 18. Given 4-6 percent are illegal aliens, many more are legal aliens prohibited by state laws from firearms ownership, about 1 % is currently in jail and 3-5% are convicted felons, I doubt 74% of adults own weapons. I haven't even examined those confined to mental institutions or adjudicated as insane.

I am not arguing that prohibited persons do not own guns; I am asserting that gun ownership rates among prohibited classes are probably significantly lower. NY, Chicago, and D.C. likely have a regrettably low ownership rate.

I'd guess 90-115 million gun owners, with 80-107 million being lawful.

Remington Employee
December 7, 2003, 08:23 PM
Do you mean people that happen to own a firearm...or GUNOWNERS?
If you own a firearm and are not activley helping promote the shooting sports, teaching hunter's ED or politically active you fall into the first rather than the later.

Blain
December 7, 2003, 08:37 PM
:uhoh: Uhhhhhh......sure........sure........ :rolleyes:

Mad Man
December 7, 2003, 09:16 PM
In 1994, 44 million Americans owned 192 million
firearms, 65 million of which were handguns.
Although there were enough guns to have provided
every U.S. adult with one, only 25 percent of
adults actually owned firearms; 74 percent of gun
owners possessed two or more.


source: "Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms" U.S. Department of Justice. May 1997.

Text version of the brief is at http://www.ncjrs.org/txtfiles/165476.txt

PDF version of the brief is at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/165476.pdf



According to widely varying estimates, there are between 77 million and 90 million gun owners in the United States. Here are some of their characteristics.

39 Percentage of Americans reporting a gun in their home

47 Percentage of men reporting a gun in their home

27 Percentage of women reporting a gun in their home

40 Percentage of whites reporting a gun in their home

19 Percentage of non-whites reporting a gun in their home

46 Percentage of Southerners reporting a gun in their home

39 Percentage of Midwesterners reporting a gun in their home

26 Percentage of Easterners reporting a gun in their home

33 Percentage of Westerners reporting a gun in their home

52 Percentage of rural residents reporting a gun in their home

36 Percentage of suburban residents reporting a gun in their home

25 Percentage of urban residents reporting a gun in their home

67 Percentage of Americans who have ever fired a gun

86 Percentage of men who have ever fired a gun

51 Percentage of women who have ever fired a gun

66 Percentage of gun owners who own guns for target shooting

65 Percentage of gun owners who own guns for protection against crime

59 Percentage of gun owners who own guns for hunting

62 Percentage of gun owners who own a rifle

59 Percentage of gun owners who own a shotgun

64 Percentage of gun owners who own a handgun

4 Average number of firearms possessed by gun owners

(Sources: Gallup Polls of 1,012 adults from August 29-September 5, 2000; and 1,054 adults from February 8-9, 1999)


source: "Gun Ownership: The Numbers (http://reason.com/0105/sb-guns.shtml)" Reason. May 2001.



Trends in Gun Ownership

The proportion of households with a firearm has been in slow decline over the last quarter century (Table 6). In the early 1970s about 50% of adults lived in households that kept a firearm. This now has fallen about 34-35%. Similarly, the percent of adults living in a household with a gun fell from a high of 51% in 1977 to a low of 32-33% in 2000-2001. These declines are partly the result of a decrease in household size. From 1980 until 1997 the proportion of adults personally owning a gun held steady at about 29%. However, since then even this level declined to about 22-24% of adults personally owning a gun. There has also been a shift in the types of firearms that people own. As hunting has declined as a recreational pursuit (Smith, 1997), the proportion of adults in households with longguns has decreased from about 42% in the early 1970s to about 27-29% today. Partly compensating for this drop, the proportion of adults living in a household with a handgun rose from about 20% in the early 1970s to 24- 25% in the mid-1990s. However, this number is also now be waning with only 21-22% reporting living in a household with a handgun in 2000-2001. Likewise, the proportion ever having bought a handgun increased from 21% in 1996 to 25% in 1997-98 and then fell to 20-21% in 1998/99 (Smith, 2000).


source: "2001 National Gun Policy Survey of the National Opinion Research Center (http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/online/guns01.pdf)" Universtiy of Chicago. December, 2001.


FYI: "The population of the U.S. on April 1, 2000 was 281,421,906 (http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html)."

44 million = 16% of the population
77 million = 27% of the population
90 million = 32% of the population

Standing Wolf
December 7, 2003, 09:44 PM
The proportion of households with a firearm has been in slow decline over the last quarter century...

That settles it. I'm going to start looking for a new gun tomorrow to make up for a household of slackers.

geekWithA.45
December 7, 2003, 11:46 PM
I'm not real sure about the decline numbers....to tell you the truth.

:scrutiny:

I remember looking into this, and informally graphed them out, cross referenced against a graph of the noise level indicative of the public acceptibility of infringement.

My take on it is that the more publicly unnacceptable it is, or when yet another ban looms, people clam up.

I wonder how this all correllates with sales data, and NICS aggregates. The trend I've seen from other sources is that when danger threatens, either in the form of more legislation, crime sprees, or terrorist attacks, people vote with their wallets and buy guns. Lots of guns.

Soooo many interesting numbers to cruch, so little time to crunch them.

7.62FullMetalJacket
December 8, 2003, 12:23 AM
Yeah, like everybody tells the truth on the census survey.

My take is that in the Red states, gun ownership is stable or growing. Blue states shrinking due to stigma/inconvenience.

I would not truct the census for reliable data, though. More governmentspeak.

I have been acquiring at a brisk pace, with Christmas just around the corner.:D

Gotta make up for the slackers.:evil:

slh02
December 8, 2003, 12:35 AM
According to the research I gathered for one of my term papers, there is a conservative estimate of a little more than 200 million guns in the hands of citizens of the United States. I dont believe this estimate took into consideration illegal firarms possession, hence the conservative nature. If the estimates of an average of 4 guns to a gun owner is correct, than that would put it at what, 50-60 million conservatively?

Blain
December 8, 2003, 01:43 AM
No, there has got to be a HECK of a lot more than 200 million guns in citizen hands, a heck of a lot!

Bill Hook
December 8, 2003, 02:01 AM
To echo Remington Employee, who cares?

What matters is how many are registered voters and voting the 2nd amendment.

abdrdude
December 8, 2003, 02:36 AM
Not nearly enough gun owners in this country. Not nearly enough.

Sam Adams
December 8, 2003, 11:17 AM
I don't believe anything that people tell the census takers or other gov't officials, esp. on sensitive subjects. I've done extensive research on my family history, and I promise you that people lie - a lot. When it comes to freedom or survival, people will change their name, their age, marital status, whatever, just to be left alone.

As to the number of gun owners, I estimate that we've got at least 80 million gun owners, possibly as many as 90 million. The recent increase in CCW laws across the country has led to a large number of new gun owners, and certainly to a lot of new guns for existing owners. If each one owns an average of 3, then there are 240 million guns. However, I think that we probably have more. Based on what I've observed, gun owners tend to be collectors - they can't have just one. I know someone with more than 50 guns, mostly unregistered since they are antiques or were "found" in the "discard bin" by some non-com and given to him while he was in the service. Many others that I know own at least 10-15. Additionally, there were lots of war trophies brought home by troops in the 2 world wars, and probably a bunch of those were full autos - none of these appear in the govt's statistics. How many guns were brought in to the country "illegally?" (note that I don't recognize that concept - if you purchase an item from someone who is willing to sell it at the agreed price, that can't be illegal - but that's a whole other debate).

I'm going with 85 million gun owners and 3.5 guns per, so that works out to 297.5 million. The DiFi's of the world should be very afraid - it isn't going to be so easy for her and her fellow travelers to enforce the "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in" wet dream that they have.

moa
December 8, 2003, 12:50 PM
Evan Marshal, who does statistics on guns such as best one stop shot handgun rounds, estimates there are 300,000,000 guns in the USA.

Nathanael_Greene
December 8, 2003, 01:12 PM
I agree with those who say the polls undercount the percentage of gun owners.

If someone called my house and asked me, I'd say "No," only because there's no other way to say "None of your business, pal."

Bartholomew Roberts
December 8, 2003, 02:14 PM
Mad Man has some useful and informative links; but it is worth noting that the two researchers who conducted the NSPOF link (44 million estimate) support gun control and are usually funded by anti-gun foundations. 44 million is the lowest estimate I've seen.

Here is another number: 111 million

That is the number of people who voted in the 2000 elections. Looking at that number and the lowest estimates of gun owners, it is pretty clear that most gun owners don't vote their guns. If even half of them did, there wouldn't be a party in the United States that would dare propose gun control.

I know my personal goal for 2004 is going to be to find 5 inactive gun owners and get them registered and voting their guns in the 2004 elections.

WilderBill
December 8, 2003, 02:48 PM
I expect there are a lot more than are reported.
It is logical to rule out convicted felons etc., however those are the very people who will not be likely to tell a poll taker they own any firearms.
They are also the least likely to be concerned about the legallity of owning firearms.
Also, if you are asked how many you own, do you answer with the truth or how many you filled out paperwork on?
It would be interesting to know just how many firearms a inherited each year. Many of them could be older than any records of them.
I'd bet there are a number of folks that don't consider themselves to be firearms owners that have forgotten "great uncle John's" old shotgun in the attic.

WhoKnowsWho
December 8, 2003, 09:33 PM
4 Average number of firearms possessed by gun owners

Even my wife is above average in that regard! :D

Frohickey
December 8, 2003, 10:56 PM
Wouldn't a rough guesstimate would be the number of Form 4473s?

gunsmith
December 8, 2003, 11:48 PM
without a fight,lookout!

Bill Hook
December 9, 2003, 01:48 AM
I know more than a few yellowdogs who'd give up their guns "for the children" and vote a straight socialist ticket each election.

What matters is those gun owners who are committed to RKBA, not going through the motions of shooting when it strikes their fancy or believing they're "okay" while the next guy or his guns are "bad." Sen. Feinswine is a gun owner, in case anyone forgot.

Billmanweh
December 9, 2003, 02:02 AM
I know a few people who just happen to have a gun of some kind in the house, but wouldn't streniously oppose registration and don't see any problem with an assault weapon ban, etc.

I'd be curious to hear how many people are dues paying NRA members, versus say AARP membership.

ninjaj448
December 9, 2003, 12:09 PM
The bulk of these 'polls' and 'census' were taken during the Clinton regime. Enough said.

Frohickey
December 9, 2003, 03:14 PM
Remember Don "I need a gun/CCW permit to protect myself because I propose a lot of gun control laws' Perata? :cuss: :fire: :barf:

Dave R
December 9, 2003, 05:22 PM
I always thought it was 80 millions HOUSEHOLDS that own guns. Right?

Mad Man
December 11, 2003, 04:19 PM
I'd be curious to hear how many people are dues paying NRA members, versus say AARP membership.


The AARP "reprsents more than 35 million members. (http://www.aarp.org/leadership/Articles/a2002-12-18-aarpfactsheet.html)"

I believe the NRA has 3 to 4 million members, while Handgun Control claims something like 1/2 million.


In May 2001, Fortune ranked the most powerful lobbying groups, aka "The Power 25 (http://www.fortune.com/fortune/power25)." The second number represents the previous (1999) ranking.



THE POWER 25
Top Lobbying Groups
After winning the presidency, the Grand Old Party may not get everything it wants, but a new Washington establishment has undoubtedly taken hold with George W. Bush. This year's Power 25 survey--FORTUNE's list of Washington's most powerful lobbying groups--reflects the change. For the first time in four years, the Power 25 has a new No. 1: the heavily Republican National Rifle Association.



1-25
Rank Association
2001:1999
01 : 02 National Rifle Association of America
02 : 01 AARP
03 : 02 National Federation of Independent Business
04 : 04 American Israel Public Affairs Committee
05 : 06 Association of Trial Lawyers of America
06 : 05 AFL-CIO
07 : 07 Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America
08 : 19 National Beer Wholesalers Association
09 : 15 National Association of Realtors
10 : 14 National Association of Manufacturers
11 : 16 National Association of Home Builders of the United States
12 : 13 American Medical Association
13 : 31 American Hospital Association
14 : 09 National Education Association of the United States
15 : 21 American Farm Bureau Federation
16 : 17 Motion Picture Association of America
17 : 20 National Association of Broadcasters
18 : 08 National Right to Life Committee
19 : 25 Health Insurance Association of America
20 : 10 National Restaurant Association
21 : 12 National Governors' Association
22 : 40 Recording Industry Association of America
23 : 11 American Bankers Association
24 : 28 Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America
25 : 23 International Brotherhood of Teamsters




OpenSecrets.org (http://www.opensecrets.org/) is a great web site to track political cash flow, although it's not the most user friendly interface. Given the nature of the best, it's not surprising that trying to find the truth can be a bit complicated, even with such a resource as the web.

Mad Man
December 11, 2003, 04:28 PM
I always thought it was 80 millions HOUSEHOLDS that own guns. Right?

I don't know anybody who claims that.

There are a little over 100 million households in the United States.

I always thought the claim of "80 million gun owners" came from an estimate of 40 million gun owning households, and then assuming that both adults in the household are gun owners. I could be wrong.



Mad Man has some useful and informative links; but it is worth noting that the two researchers who conducted the NSPOF link (44 million estimate) support gun control and are usually funded by anti-gun foundations. 44 million is the lowest estimate I've seen.


Cook and Ludwig also "discovered" that there are over 3 million defensive gun uses per year, which is about 1 million more than the Kleck study they were trying to discredit.

It is tempting to dismiss the low number simply because the researchers are anti-gun, and their bias may have played a part in it. But it also works the other way, too, and we should not fool ourselves into believing that there are more of us than there actually are.

In any case, 15% to 30% of the population might be a sizable voting bloc, but we are not a majority. Given that most gun owners tend to be older, I don't see our numbers being replaced as they die off.

Balog
December 11, 2003, 04:38 PM
No, there has got to be a HECK of a lot more than 200 million guns in citizen hands, a heck of a lot!

Why is that?

Mad Man
December 11, 2003, 07:20 PM
Gary Kleck (http://www.guncite.com/gcwhoGK.html) discusses in length gun owners and the size of the civilian gun stock in chapter 3 of Targeting Guns (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0202305694/qid=1071186679//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl14/103-3824567-3168642?v=glance&s=books&n=507846). (Note: Targeting Guns is an updated version of his earlier book, Point Blank).

Since I don't feel like reproducing the entire tables at the end of the chapter, here are some highlights. If you are really interested in the subject, go out and get the book. It is an invaluable resource.

from Table 3.1 "Size of U.S. Civilian Gun Stock 1945- 1994"

1945: 046,909,183 guns = 351.6 guns per 1,000 people

1950: 057,902,081 guns = 381.3 guns per 1,000 people

1955: 067,107,346 guns = 408.2 guns per 1,000 people

1960: 077,501,065 guns = 430.6 guns per 1,000 people

1965: 089,478,922 guns = 462.4 guns per 1,000 people

1970: 111,917,733 guns = 548.7 guns per 1,000 people

1975: 139,915,125 guns = 657.1 guns per 1,000 people

1980: 167,681,587 guns = 737.9 guns per 1,000 people

1985: 190,658,136 guns = 801.3 guns per 1,000 people

1990: 212,823,547 guns = 853.3 guns per 1,000 people

1994: 235,604,001 guns = 905.0 guns per 1,000 people

Domestically manufactured guns, minus exported guns, plus imported guns.


from Table 3.4 "Who Owns Guns?"

Respondents owning a guns: 27.8%

Respondents owning a handgun: 16.2%

Households owning a gun: 41.8%

Households owning a handgun: 22.7%

1990, 1991, and 1993 GSS, combined.
GSS = General Social Surveys done by the National Opinion Research Center

Earlier in chapter 3, Kleck writes that the GSS is "among the few national surveys done face-to-face in the Rs' [respondents] homes, a format where Rs necessarily are identifiable. Since 1990, the GSS has yielded gun prevalence estimates three to 6 percentage points lower than other surveys done at the same time, a differnce that cannot be entirely attributed to sampling error (Table 3.2)."


The U.S. population in the early 1990s was about 250 million (http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen1990.html), with a little over 90 million households at the time.


28% of 250 million people is 70 million gun owners.

42% of 90 million households is 38 million households.

7.62FullMetalJacket
December 11, 2003, 11:31 PM
Mad Man,

Thanks for the data. You can really lay it out :D

RCPilot
December 12, 2003, 09:29 AM
Mr. Angry guy has some good information there. But also consider this: 100% of gunowners own a gun, but what % knows how to safely use one? That is an important question to ask also. Stay safe

RustyHammer
December 12, 2003, 02:49 PM
I think Tamara probably has enough to make up for those who don't!

Mad Man
December 12, 2003, 07:30 PM
Evan Marshal, who does statistics on guns such as best one stop shot handgun rounds, estimates there are 300,000,000 guns in the USA.


And he also estimates that 90% of those guns will stop an attacker with one shot.

Mad Man
December 12, 2003, 07:32 PM
Just for comparison purposes, here are the numbers for other groups (from The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2004 (http://www.worldalmanac.com/index-n.htm), pp. 368 - 382).


The U.S. popluation was 288,368,698 on July 1, 2002.

There were 232,647,000 whites (80.7% of the population), 36,746,000 blacks (12.7% of the population), and 14,795,000 members of "other" races (5.1% of the population).
I don't know where the missing 1.5% is, since that appears to be too large of a number to be a rounding error.



Projecting from the 2000 Census, in 2002, there were

38.8 million (13.5%) Hispanics

38.3 million (13.3%) African-Americans

13.1 million (4.5%) Asians

4.3 million (1.5%) American Indians/Alaskan natives

943,000 (0.3%) native Hawaiin and other Pacific Islander

The above list is of poeple who declared themselves either one race or a combination, which is why there is a 1 1/2 million discrepancy in the two listings for African-American/black. The 2000 Census was the first time that respondents were given the choice to declare more than one race.


In 2002, there were 35.6 million people (12.3%) age 65 and older. Note that this is the membership number of AARP I cited in an earlier post on this thread. AARP represents people 50 and over.


In 2002, 34.6 million people (12.1% of the population) lived below the poverty level.

The poverty level income was $9,183 for one person, $11,756 for 2 persons, $14,072 for a family of 3, and $18,556 for a family of 4.
Median household income was $42,409.


Whether the actual number of gun owners is 44 million, 70 million, 80 million, or 90 million, we are a very large "minority" group.

7.62FullMetalJacket
December 12, 2003, 08:07 PM
Whether the actual number of gun owners is 44 million, 70 million, 80 million, or 90 million, we are a very large "minority" group.

You are assuming cohesion within the group. In order to be a "group" we must act as a group. We do not. There are serious gun owners which fight the fight, and then there are the non-partisan, conflict resolutionists that do not care and do not vote. :barf:

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