Percentage of population that owns firearms


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browneu
February 24, 2011, 05:33 PM
I searched and found different reports on how many people own firearms. Some reports state that 21% owns while other reports are as high as 90%.

Does anyone have a definitive idea of what percentage of the US population that owns a firearm?

Or is this information hard to determine since there is no national registry.

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Dokkalfar
February 24, 2011, 07:22 PM
I would guess that the actual number of firearms owners is higher than any report, simply because most owners don't like to share that information with some random surveyor.

And your last sentence should answer your question :)

Frozen North
February 24, 2011, 07:34 PM
I can honestly say that everyone I know has a firearm of some type in their home. I would guess that rural areas are much higher than urban areas due to sporting use.

The folks in WI and IL are pretty tight lipped about their handguns. This may skew any surveys. I know folks in Chicago who would share their social security number with you before they admitted to having a .357 in their nightstand drawer.

kk0g
February 24, 2011, 07:51 PM
I searched and found different reports on how many people own firearms. Some reports state that 21% owns while other reports are as high as 90%.




Does anyone have a definitive idea of what percentage of the US population that owns a firearm?


No

Or is this information hard to determine since there is no national registry.

It's not hard to determine, it's impossible to determine........... just as it should be.

Geneseo1911
February 24, 2011, 08:09 PM
The Bureau of Justice Statistics Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics lists results of 14 Gallup surveys from 1959 through 1997. The results were as follows, including the '95 entry from another source. The sampling error of these surveys is generally just 1 or 2 percent (not percent of the percentages).

YEAR 59 65 68 72 75 80 83 85 89 90 91 MAR93 OCT93 95 96 97
%YES 49 48 50 43 44 45 40 44 47 47 46 48 51 35 38 42
(sorry I can't get the numbers lined up better) mod note -^- hope that helps

The number of guns seems to usually be quoted as just under 1 gun per person, however most gun owners own multiples. The page I pulled that survey from (http://www.gunsandcrime.org/numbers.html)goes on to discuss the data and why dips appear even though they are implausible. Obviously people lie when surveyed, especially when guns are under attack(see the dip between '93 & '95). I would put money on the real number being above 50%. Everyone I know has a gun in their house. A number of these are inherited guns, but they are still gunOWNERS. I think the 25% you see might be an accurate guess for people who shoot a gun regularly (by which I mean at least annually).

twoblink
February 24, 2011, 08:11 PM
You should take a survey of THR. After all, we represent the nation right?? :D 100% of THR'ers I know own guns.. hehehe..

Frozen North
February 24, 2011, 08:17 PM
I would not admit to owning a firearm to anyone. It is no more their business than what I have in my retirement account. I think many would feel the same.

bearcreek
February 24, 2011, 08:30 PM
I don't own any firearms. They're evil and hurt people. ;)

Cryogaijin
February 25, 2011, 05:45 AM
I would not admit to owning a firearm to anyone. It is no more their business than what I have in my retirement account. I think many would feel the same. You don't like talking guns with people? One of the best parts of my job (I work in hospitality in Alaska) is gunchatting with the various guests who come through for hunting.

One thing that makes me a bit "sad" for the country is how defensive some people get when I ask 'em what they have in their (usually overpriced) hardcase. It is rare for anyone to open up until I mention hunting with my 700 in aught six. (With half of them pulling a double take and asking if I didn't feel it was underpowered. . . Heh)

LibShooter
February 25, 2011, 06:22 AM
I would not admit to owning a firearm to anyone.

I respect your right to be taciturn, but don't get it. Why so secretive? When it comes up naturally in conversation I jump at the chance to talk about guns, theirs OR mine.

I would also happily take part in a legitimate survey.

UpTheHill
February 25, 2011, 06:44 AM
I grew up in NJ, spent 20 years in Mass. I now live in Maine for the past 11 years, and it's been very hard to realize that people won't act negatively towards me when I talk about guns, or even hunting. Especially in NJ, it was just something that "nice" people didn't do.

I suspect that in rural areas, gun ownership is near 100%.
in big cities I'm not sure, but I'd bet it is well under that, probably near or below 50%, and that's including grandpas old BB gun that's collecting dust and rust in the basement.

MartinS
February 25, 2011, 12:16 PM
To come at it another way does anyone have a good source for the annual sales figures of guns AND ammo? Thanks for that Gallup stuff.

browneu
February 25, 2011, 12:46 PM
Around 25% isn't a bad number. I would think we would have more ability to deter gun laws but that is another discussion.

PastTense
February 25, 2011, 01:47 PM
Here is a 2005 Gallup survey:
"The poll, conducted Oct. 13-16, finds that 4 in 10 Americans report they have a gun in their homes, including 30% who say they personally own a gun and 12% who say another member of their household owns it. These results show essentially no change since this question was last asked in 2000....
The poll also shows that most gun owners use their guns for each of these three purposes: crime protection (67%), target shooting (66%), and hunting (58%)."
http://www.gallup.com/poll/20098/gun-ownership-use-america.aspx

dawico
February 25, 2011, 02:04 PM
There would never be an exact number, even if guns did become registered. In fact, a registry would probably skew the numbers more.

CoRoMo
February 25, 2011, 02:20 PM
I think it is somewhere around 37%.

At least I remember a member here posting a survey or study of some sort, and it used that number. Interesting thing is, those gun owners own enough guns to arm close to every last man, woman, and child in this nation. Only 37% of Americans own guns, but they own enough guns to arm the remaining unarmed 63%.

JohnBiltz
February 25, 2011, 02:51 PM
Its certainly higher since Obama got elected. Not being political but I remember what it was like in gun stores back then.

Owen Sparks
February 25, 2011, 08:28 PM
I know some people that own over 100 guns. That has to skew the statistics.

Tim the student
February 25, 2011, 09:03 PM
Any figure you get will have some errors in it. Count on it. There just is no way to reliably get that info.

Assuming that people are honest when they answer the question (which won't happen 100%), some polls are often user selected, or have bias built into them, which will skew numbers, or they are phone polls, which skews numbers. Using sales figures isn't reliable, nor are NICS numbers.

Gallup is usually pretty good, but they have issues too. Polls have a lot more that go in them than a lot of people realize; they are difficult to do well, especially on a national scale.

gym
February 25, 2011, 09:24 PM
I say closer to 75% of homes have a firearm, even if they don't admit it.

ArmedLiberal
February 25, 2011, 09:37 PM
Googled Gun Sales Stats 2009

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=gun+sales+statistics+2009&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=gun+sales+statistics+2009&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=ivns&ei=7mZoTdS2NI20sAOiwuSmBA&start=0&sa=N&bav=on.1,or.&fp=a2885925ea8ae0


14 Million gun sales in 2009.

SleazyRider
February 25, 2011, 09:39 PM
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

- Mark Twain

ol' scratch
February 25, 2011, 11:41 PM
I think it is somewhere around 37%.

At least I remember a member here posting a survey or study of some sort, and it used that number. Interesting thing is, those gun owners own enough guns to arm close to every last man, woman, and child in this nation. Only 37% of Americans own guns, but they own enough guns to arm the remaining unarmed 63%.

According to the census numbers, that is 113,592,424 ONLY 37 percent sounds small until you actually work out the numbers. We have OVER 100 million gun owners in this country. That is if you use the census from this year.

Congrats...We just became the largest Army in the world...

Gordon_Freeman
February 26, 2011, 12:52 AM
Unfortunately most people I know don't own guns. This really gets on my nerves. I don't have anyone to talk about guns with. It also bothers me that my own family members refuse to have the ability to defend themselves.

CharlesT
February 26, 2011, 03:31 AM
Why would anyone own a gun?

Every one knows the only thing to do is run away from a problem.
And, how could it POSSIBLY be fun to shoot a gun.

Tim the student
February 26, 2011, 03:57 AM
Unfortunately most people I know don't own guns. This really gets on my nerves.

Meet new people that shoot. Introduce shooting to those that don't shoot now.

I don't have anyone to talk about guns with.

Welcome to THR. :D

It also bothers me that my own family members refuse to have the ability to defend themselves.

They still do have that ability - just maybe not as effective as you would like. I choose a gun, but if for some reason I don't have a gun near by (like when I'm at school :cuss:) you can best believe that I'll make every dang thing near me into a self-defense tool. My Uniball will become a tactical eye remover, and my coffee mug will become a projectile. But, I'm not the guy that will lay down and prepare to die. I doubt your relatives would be if push comes to shove. Any chance you have ever shown them the Armed Citizen column?

Ohio Gun Guy
February 26, 2011, 06:41 AM
I own enough to make gun owners out of:

1. my kids when they are old enough
2. my neighbors, who may not be, but "*Could" be.


*It amazes me, how when something bad happens in the area, people suddenly become more willing to consider gun ownership. I ALWAYS point out that it would be best to get one now, instead of when you may think you need one....as it may be to late. There was a really sad and fortunately rare occurance in our county where a recently released criminal killed 3 and kidnapped a 14 year old, sexually mollesting her, made her sit in the car with the dismembered bodies of her family, etc....... Suddenly, folks were considering thier defense options. I offered to sell a gun (Cheap) to a neighbor who was inquiring about borrowing one. (Borrowing is bad in these situations, imo). The problem is, that is 100% reactionary. Unless you have a repeat, jack the ripper, kind of problem; it doesnt do you any good.

rant over....:o

Flintknapper
February 26, 2011, 07:55 AM
I know of at least one person who thought the "percentage" was high! :D


"You cannot invade the mainland United States.
There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."

- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
(Japanese Navy)

SleazyRider
February 26, 2011, 08:24 AM
I can only speak with certainty about my own neighborhood, a rural-turning-suburban area of New York State about 60 miles northwest of Manhattan. I'm familiar with just about everybody within a mile radius or so:

About 75% own long guns of some sort; 25% own handguns, with perhaps 1 or 2% actively carrying concealed. Maybe 10% hunt or shoot actively. I'm not suggesting that these percentages can be applied to the rest of the country, or even to NYS, as regulations for gun ownership vary widely as do demographics.

As far as my own "circle of friends" is concerned---not representative of the general population by any means---about 80% own guns and hunt actively, with perhaps 10% regularly carrying concealed. Roughly about the same as my neighborhood.

Shooter James
February 26, 2011, 09:43 AM
Here in Illinois,when I go to GanderMountain, I see more and more people in the Firearms department. I've been told that sales are up 17% this year. I for one bought this year, to add to my collection. My wife has gotten an interest into learning and shooting. She is taking a class. I think it was a smart move on Her part. I'm proud of Her.

browneu
February 26, 2011, 09:50 AM
*It amazes me, how when something bad happens in the area, people suddenly become more willing to consider gun ownership. I ALWAYS point out that it would be best to get one now, instead of when you may think you need one....as it may be to late. There was a really sad and fortunately rare occurance in our county where a recently released criminal killed 3 and kidnapped a 14 year old, sexually mollesting her, made her sit in the car with the dismembered bodies of her family, etc....... Suddenly, folks were considering thier defense options. I offered to sell a gun (Cheap) to a neighbor who was inquiring about borrowing one. (Borrowing is bad in these situations, imo). The problem is, that is 100% reactionary. Unless you have a repeat, jack the ripper, kind of problem; it doesnt do you any good.

rant over....


This was very sad and gruesome Just like the incident in Bellefontaine. I think that if Tina's friend or one of the older couple had a gun the outcome would be different.

Guns for defensive purposes is like insurance. You don't think you need it until something happens. Then you're happy to have it.

NMGonzo
February 26, 2011, 03:32 PM
Why we even worry about China or whoever else invading us is beyond me.

Probably 30 million of able bodied defenders (high number, not army ready but ready to go and man a barricade and set an ambush)

OcelotZ3
February 26, 2011, 10:03 PM
Very few people I know (mostly people I work with) actually own a gun. That includes many conservatives.

2WheelsGood
February 26, 2011, 10:04 PM
Very few people I know (mostly people I work with) actually own a gun. That includes many conservatives.

How do you know? Not very many people know that I do.

oneounceload
February 26, 2011, 10:36 PM
Typically, I have seen reports that say there is 1 gun for every person in the country - about 350,000,000. Considering most folks own a lot more than one, I would venture that 15-20% of the households have a gun(s) - with a lot of folks living in crowded cities where ownership and access are limited, that % would not surprise me if it was true

buck460XVR
February 27, 2011, 11:23 AM
[/B]

According to the census numbers, that is 113,592,424 ONLY 37 percent sounds small until you actually work out the numbers. We have OVER 100 million gun owners in this country. That is if you use the census from this year.

Congrats...We just became the largest Army in the world...


..........unfortunately, 1 outta 3 is still a minority. This is why we as gun owners need to display gun ownership and their use in a responsible and positive way to the general public. We are fortunate that the antis are a minority also and that the deciding factor as to us keeping our gun rights is the other minority of those that are neutral to gun ownership. We will never change the minds of the antis, but we have a good chance at those that are neutral.

TheWanderingRed
February 28, 2011, 02:54 PM
UpTheHill is right. Even here in VA if I bring up firearms at work with anyone other than the ex-military or ex-leo guys I get strange looks.

gym
February 28, 2011, 09:54 PM
There are more people who have guns than you may think. They just don't talk about it.

FruitCake
March 2, 2011, 07:39 AM
I've noticed myself a large increase at my local gun stores customers. I've even converted 5 antigun friends. I believe in "its better to have one and not need it than to not own one and need it" 100%. We've had an increase in home invasions lately that the media likes to hide and if they do report it they don't make a big deal out of it. At least with a firearm and proper training your odds are better.
Criminals these days can do anything they want (rape, murder, kidnap) and amazingly they still have rights.
And then you have to sit in court for years and look and the murderer that killed your family being defended by the law.
:mad:

vito
March 2, 2011, 08:20 AM
I'm not sure that knowing the number, or percentage of households with guns is very useful information. I have two sons-in-law who have a gun in their home (one of which I provided to him) that are unloaded, with either no ammo in the house or ammo is stored where it is not accessible if needed. I have a brother who has an old 22 rifle that he hasn't fired in about 40 years and hasn't owned any ammo in the same time period. What does it mean if someone has a gun in the home but is unwilling or unable to use it for self defense? When talking about guns with co-workers I find that I am almost alone in stating that I believe it is worthwhile to own a gun or guns for home defense (of course, I do work with primarily women). The fact that a rabid anti-gun rights individual could get elected as President tells me that concerned gun owners who want to protect their 2nd Amendment rights are in a minority in this country.

eye5600
March 2, 2011, 12:37 PM
According to the census numbers, that is 113,592,424 ONLY 37 percent sounds small until you actually work out the numbers.

But you know that's not right since it includes 37% of all the infants and children.... I suspect that 37% of households is pretty close.

22-rimfire
March 2, 2011, 01:23 PM
I suspect that about 30% of the adult population own at least one firearm. The large numbers in my opinion are concentrated with folks that own more that a couple firearms like most of the folks here at THR.

wally
March 2, 2011, 01:48 PM
Funny how my anti-gun friends got interested all of a sudden when hurricane Rita was bearing down on us!

In the aftermath of Ike, learned my neighborhood could arm a decent size banana republic :) Probably why Houston had a pretty much uneventful aftermath.

Mr.Davis
March 2, 2011, 03:03 PM
The 90% figure refers to estimated total number of firearms vs. total population. The best estates I've seen put the number of armed households somewhere around 40%.

medalguy
March 2, 2011, 11:38 PM
I don't own any guns since the horrible boating accident. :neener:

KBintheSLC
March 3, 2011, 01:03 AM
I can honestly say that everyone I know has a firearm of some type in their home. I would guess that rural areas are much higher than urban areas due to sporting use.

Actually, urban areas have plenty of gun owners too. A city just east of here has a total ban on concealed carry, yet every two-bit thug over there has a gun.

xcgates
March 3, 2011, 06:42 AM
Count me as a person who will talk guns face to face, but in official situations, and surveys in which I don't have full trust in, won't admit to much.

So I'm going to go with it is a number that is hard to determine, which is exactly how I like it.

Rusty Shackleford
March 3, 2011, 03:53 PM
Fellas, don't panic about the low numbers of people in surveys that are gun owners.

Also don't panic about how few people you know personally that own guns.

Do YOU talk to casual acquaintances about your hobby? I don't. Would YOU answer a random phone survey inquiring about whether you have guns in the home? I sure as heck wouldn't.

If they aren't close friends (ex: I see them outside of work or school voluntarily more than twice a month), they have no idea about my thoughts on the subject or ownership. And of my actual friends, over 80% have guns, but not one of them would admit to it in any kind of survey. And the other 20% would have guns if they had a few hundred dollars to spare (they are students).

The bottom line on surveys is that you have no idea who is doing the asking and there's no telling how they intend to spin the information they gather.

22-rimfire
March 3, 2011, 04:35 PM
The bottom line on surveys is that you have no idea who is doing the asking and there's no telling how they intend to spin the information they gather.

That is pretty much how I see it. So I would never answer a survey (say via telephone) where I am directly identifiable as owning a firearm. But the same survey might as if you favor more gun control measures. The answer to that question is NO.

Many people I know know that I own at least a couple guns. These are mostly friends or work mates.

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