July 15, 2014

The demographics and politics of gun-owning households

FT_14.07.10_GunsAmericans with young children in their home are just as likely as other adults to have a gun in their household, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center.

Overall, about a third of all Americans with children under 18 at home have a gun in their household, including  34% of families with children younger than 12. That’s nearly identical to the share of childless adults or those with older children who have a firearm at home.

The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%).

To examine the demographic and political characteristics of gun-owners and their households, we examined data from the new Pew Research Center American Trends Panel survey of 3,243 adults conducted April 29-May 27, including 1,196 who said they or someone in their household owned a gun, pistol or rifle.

All respondents in the nationally representative panel had been interviewed in an earlier Pew Research poll and agreed to participate in future surveys. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points and plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for results based only on those in gun-owning households.

The survey results also would appear to challenge the conventional wisdom that gun ownership is far more prevalent in the South. According to the survey, southerners are just about as likely as those living in the Midwest or the West to have a gun at home (38% vs. 35% and 34%, respectively). The regional exception: Households in the northeastern United States, where gun prevalence is significantly lower (27%) than in other parts of the country.

But regional differences emerge when race is factored into the analysis. White southerners are significantly more likely to have a gun at home (47%) than whites in other regions. But because blacks disproportionately live in the South and are only half as likely to have a gun at home as whites, the overall rate for the southern region falls to 38%.

Other longstanding beliefs about the makeup of America’s gun-owning households are confirmed by these data. For example, rural residents and older adults are disproportionately more likely than other Americans to have a gun at home.

Americans with a gun at home also differ politically from other adults. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to be members of a gun-owning household. Political independents also are more likely than Democrats to have a firearm in their homes.

As a group, Americans who have a gun at home see themselves differently than do other adults. According to the survey, adults in gun-owning households are more likely to think of themselves as an “outdoor person” (68% vs. 51%) or “a typical American” (72% vs. 62%), and to say “honor and duty are my core values” (59% vs. 48%).

About six-in-ten gun household members (64%) say they “often feel proud to be American.” In contrast, about half (51%) of other adults say this.

Not surprisingly, members of gun-owning households are more than twice as likely to identify themselves as a “hunter, fisher or sportsman” (37% vs. 16%).

But on other dimensions tested in the survey, those with a gun at home differ little from other Americans. For example, they are as focused on health and fitness as those in non-gun owning households and are about equally likely to say they think of themselves as compassionate or as a trusting person.

Topics: Gun Policy, American Trends Panel

  1. Photo of Rich Morin

    is a senior editor focusing on social and demographic trends at Pew Research Center.


  1. Wayne LP2 years ago

    When you look at gun ownership at a more granular (state) level, it is interesting to see that the wealthiest and most-educated states have the lowest rate of gun ownership. Combine that with the other data in this article, and the demographics of gun ownership become much more vivid: most guns are owned by poor, uneducated white people.

    1. Allen2 years ago

      Without in any way accepting your premise I would observe that wealthy people are defended by a well-armed militarized police presence, while those same police use their arms _against_ those less privileged.
      And please do note that not all those who believe in Thomas Jefferson’s statement
      “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
      are necessarily either poor or uneducated.

    2. Rosalita Hernandez2 years ago

      “”most guns are owned by poor, uneducated white people.””

      For you to claim that there’s anything supporting that in the above data just shows you to be innumerate and mendacious.

      This data

      which directly surveys gun owners on household income shows the largest proportion in above-average income brackets, with the highest in the 75-100K range; the lowest income brackets are far LESS likely to be gun owners, while the very highest income brackets are still strongly likely to own guns – about 35-40% of total.

      Further, this pew data


      shows that gun owners are more likely to be college graduates, while those with High School or less are less likely to be gun owners.

    3. Sstwo Smith1 year ago

      And the areas without gune have the highest crime rates in the nation.

    4. Anonymous1 year ago

      I have a bachelors in ancient and medieval history and a masters in construction management and a comfortable living and I have a plethora of guns as do a vast majority of my peers. Poor, uneducated whites have poor, uneducated white guns and advertise their coached, misguided belief in the second amendment more prevalently than those who have studied the constitution and understand the 18th century political and social climate in which the second amendment was created. Thus it is ignorant to deduce from these data that only poor white people own guns. And by the way the people in wealthy states with a lower demagraphic gun ownership may not own guns but they employ people that do

  2. Bob Gaston2 years ago

    Gee, do you mean that people out in the country where they hunt and things like that, have guns? Who would have guessed?

    I’m guessing there was no attempt to count the illegally owned firearms in cities. Which I am sure would kite the urban number quite a bit.

    I’m also guessing there is currently no real wave of gun violence among white male conservative Republicans, who are over 50 years old, living in rural areas of the South and Midwest.

    What we need to know is where the hand guns used in urban murders obtained, and how the supply chain works.

  3. CBS2 years ago

    Consider including Maryland in your southern region as it is south of the Mason-Dixon line

  4. CP2 years ago

    Literally all I see in the comments is people whining about gun rights, blacks, and “if California wasn’t in the picture”.

  5. Aussie Pete2 years ago

    I weep for the USA. Highest gun violence deaths in the developed world. Over 6 times higher than the next worst country in the developed world Portugal. Gun violence (excluding suicide, and accidental shootings) accounts for 36,000 of you poor souls each year. Heroin overdoses about 9,000. Yet, you go to jail for selling heroin but become the pillars of society for selling guns. Insane.
    When the original Australian constitution was drafted, women and indiginous people could not vote, indiginous people were not even recognised as citizens. Times change and so do the laws. We’ve even had a female Prime Minister. The Second Amendment argument falls on deaf ears in other civilised countries around the world. “Greatest Country in the World?” I don’t think so and nor does the rest of the world. Wake up to yourselves.
    I am a Christian and I am sure that God is weeping with me for the ignorance of America.

    1. Barber jim2 years ago

      Sorry. Pete

      Well, there’s argument about whether the gun related homicides and other various crimes have actually increased or not. Some places have the homicide rate increasing at 3.2% along with armed robbery at 44%, while some other stats have them remaining about the same. At the very least, we do know that the policies have not significantly decreased crime. That’s not even being debated. Which…considering that the Australian government spent a considerable amount of money on the laws, seems at the very least, disappointing.

      Read more: louderwithcrowder.com/obama-prai…

      1. elizabeth adams2 years ago

        When someone uses lowderwithcrowder as their source it’s best to ignore their rant.

    2. Mike2 years ago

      Only in our large cities where there is strict gun control is there a problem. Where there are more guns there is less violent crime.

    3. Bob2 years ago

      Sir you have your facts wrong. You call yourself a christian but I’m betting you believe in abortion. Something God would never agree with. Pull the log out of your eye before you try to pull the speck out of someone else’s eye.

      1. elizabeth adams2 years ago

        Nothing like assuming someone believes in abortion. I believe in good gun control but I don’t believe in abortion. Oh, and I don’t believe in a “God”.

        1. Kennedy2 years ago

          I belive in abortion. It’s a real thing. Definitely real, like steaks and heartburn. Those are real too.

  6. granville eberwein2 years ago

    would have been interesting to see stats on the 3 west coast states separate from the rest of the ‘west’.

  7. Lynda2 years ago

    I’m not terrified Kathryn Barbour I own a gun! I do however fear GOD, AS WELL SHOULD YOU! He never expected us to be deaf dumb and blind SHEEPLE!

    1. Greg2 years ago

      Hm. I bet if he was the creator of it all, including the people, then he would have fully expected it since he knows all. So, did he not love all and know he would be sending us to hell instead? Or, better yet, he just sent the poorly regulated guns to take care of the issue with the crazy folk.

      And, if we’re going to bring into and use a god as a justification for our perspectives, then I will assume that “Lynda” represents a female, in which case you should shut up and listen to what I tell you because I am a man.

  8. Robert Allan Hafetz2 years ago

    When they say blacks own less guns then whites are they counting illegal guns?

    1. Eric2 years ago

      I’m hoping this question is sarcasm.

      1. Dan2 years ago

        Why? That’s rhetorical… we know you have the PC programming to be “anti-racist”, “blind to color”, that’s clearly implied in your comment.

        In fact it is fair question he asks as the lousy article does not say whether the answers were anonymous. If not then obviously people will lie about owning illegal guns. Whether there is a difference in illegal ownership between ethnic groups is also not stated. You assume there is not because you are “not racist”.. if you had reasons you would have given them. I could try to wade through biased police reports and “academic” papers to the truth but I can’t be bothered. It is all moot.

        Have guns and be prepared.

  9. Kathryn Barbour2 years ago

    In my anecdotal experience, no one is as terrified as a person with a gun. Of course I can’t count in those who did not inform me they owned a gun, so this may not be an accurate impression.

    1. Bruce2 years ago

      Terrified? My experience is different. Excessively fearful people tend to be afraid of guns. Those with guns seem to be more secure in their homes and persons.

      1. Alex Colvin2 years ago

        Since those with a gun in the house are, as you say, “less fearful” what do they fear that they need a gun for?

        1. Mak2 years ago

          Why So Few Scientists Are Studying the Causes of Gun Violence

          Congress has prohibited funds for research advocating gun control since 1996

          Only one of many studies on public safety and gun ownership.

          “Although correlation is not the same as causation, it seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths. Conversely, high crime rates may instigate widespread anxiety and fear, thereby motivating people to arm themselves and give rise to increased gun ownership, which, in turn, increases availability. The resulting vicious cycle could, bit by bit, lead to the polarized status that is now the case with the US.”

          “Regardless of exact cause and effect, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that countries with higher gun ownership are safer than those with low gun ownership.”

          The US had about .9 guns per person, but since only around 30 to 38% of the public owns guns, this means that gun owners own multiple guns. Basically Latin America and Africa are far more hotheaded , killing more citizens with less guns.
          The USA is wonderfully high in gun suicides — with twice the number of gun suicides as gun homicides.

          All that said, there is information available about the terror among gunowners about predatory wildlife vs, nonowners, and the primary excuse seen in this comment column IS fear.
          In the town in which I have the misfortune of residing, there are reports of gun homicides every week, in a county of around 100,000.
          It is most often related to methamphetamine ownership, or possession of other drugs. Perhaps that statistic is worth observation, as I see very few in life who do not use neurotransmitter-altering compounds.
          At one time, Europeans subjugated the world, because they were sole possessors of guns. SouthPacific islanders who warred like the pre-gun native americans, with extremely small life loss (and extremely long memories), were once delightfully free of imposed governance. In fact, Hawaii’s Kamehameha was one of many who importuned Euromissionaries/invaders for guns as reward for alliance, creatingthe Hawaiian nation.
          Guns, then, are far more related to violent coercion, and this is what gunowners seek. Is a civil society one that threatens or implies threat? Indigenous North Americans had far more internally-cohesive cultures before guns and introduced brain-destroyers like liquor.

          We cannot go back, but when looking at truthmove.org/workspace/photos-c…
          We see a condition that cannot hold. There is hope yet!

        2. Ernie Schroder2 years ago

          I carry a gun roughly 12 hours a day, every day. I can use it effectively. I fear no one but those who seek to disarm me.
          Why? I own a bar and although I try to keep drama to a minimum, I have had to unholster my weapon to stop an attack by a knife Wielding druggie looking to rob me.

          Dayum! The look on his face when he realized he brought a knife to a gun fight was priceless.

        3. Eric2 years ago

          Alex, since those with a fire extinguisher in the house are, as you say, “less fearful” what do they fear that they need a fire extinguisher for (or a garden hose, for that matter, or a spray attachment on their kitchen faucet)?

  10. Sebastian2 years ago

    “Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims” – Anyone knows what is the reason? In 2013, Hispanics population was 17%, whereas Black population was 13%. Interesting to understand why. Perhaps because of social economics circumstances? In case you want to find out which state has the highest and lowest gun ownership rate, this heat map may be helpful. It has colour-coded interactive map to highlight the states demographicdata.org/facts-and-fi…

  11. Steven Pundt2 years ago

    I wonder what the percent the West would be if California was removed?

  12. Jim black2 years ago

    Regardless of what you think for or against gun ownership. Regardless of your beliefs of it is right or wrong to own a gun. Despite statistics and all of the information on the benefits of gun laws or reasons to not have them. It is in the founding laws the 2nd amendment something the creators of this country felt so strongly about so that a government would not have such a great power over its people again. It is said that our government shall not infringe on the right to own guns. And while assault rifles and some of the more devastating weapons that exist today were not around to make a point of excluding these types of guns, there still cannot be laws that are created to stop people from owning a means of keeping absolute power out of the hands of anybody who governs a large body of people.

    1. Donna Stephens2 years ago


      Thank you sir, I couldn’t have said it more eloquently.

    2. Jeff Robertson2 years ago

      In regards to the term “assault rifle”, true assault rifles are capable of automatic fire. The similar in appearance rifles available to the public are semi-auto only. There are traditional hunting rifles that hold 5 rounds and fire as fast as you can squeeze the trigger in semi-auto fashion. True, the high capacity magazines available allow “more shots at the ready”, if a criminal has killing as his objective no law or regulation will effect the end result in a non totalitarian society. Your best hope is that someone nearby has training and a firearm to stop the situation.

      1. Tony2 years ago

        Why leave it up to hope when I know we, as a nation, can take steps towards keeping the arms out of a crazed terrorist.

        Also, I would like to point out that it doesn’t say we have the right to *ALL* arms but arms in general. That means you could ban all but one kind of gun and it is what allows the banning of any type of gun in the first place. Otherwise people could be legally allowed to have mini nukes, firing them from a Fat Man.

    3. Julie2 years ago

      And the authors of the Constitution also EXPECTED these laws to CHANGE. It’s called an amendment.

      1. Martin Medved2 years ago

        Sweet then I can ban your free speech and put you in jail for opinions I disagree with. The Founders did talk about Amendments being changed. LOl.

        1. Tony2 years ago

          You realize the first amendment only applies to criticism of the government, yes? It doesn’t allow you to free speech in all circumstances as is. I do understand that with the aforementioned amendment that doesn’t matter and anything could literally be law. I mean the last amendment that was ratified was done so it May 7, 1992. Times change and as such so do laws, I mean free speech in and of itself IS an amendment to begin with!

          1. Anonymous1 year ago

            Please provide supporting evidence for your opinion on the first amendment.

  13. phil2 years ago

    Studies prove that you are more likely to die if you own a gun, then if you don’t. Stop trying to explain why guns are better, if every statistic out there helps prove that guns don’t help. And saying that criminals won’t break into your house if you have a gun is stupid, because most criminals don’t know if you have a gun or not.

    1. Dylan2 years ago

      That is a false, biased statement.

      1. Alex Colvin2 years ago

        Since it’s false, please explain why, if general safety is on the decline, — which you seem to be implying — why gun sales are not? If, guns make us safer, why are there sales figures skyrocketing? Shouldn’t gun sales be diminishing as safety rises. how do you account for this odd disparity?

        1. Damon2 years ago


          Your “odd disparity” doesn’t exist. A very recent Pew Research Center study found that violent crime in the United States is down 45% since 1993, while gun ownership has increased nationwide. In fact, since 1993, the number of states that allow some method of firearm carry has increased from 37 to all 50.

          Gun sales are skyrocketing, yes. Crime is dropping. Hmmmm . . . that data doesn’t fit with the picture you’re trying to paint, does it? Damn those inconvenient facts!

          1. Mansu Musa2 years ago

            Define “crime”

    2. Brad Carlisle2 years ago

      Phil if that were true , wouldn’t gun deaths be escalating instead of decreasing? In the western states everyone knows you have a gun , very few hot break ins .

    3. Robert Allan Hafetz2 years ago

      Only one study stated that and it has been widely debunked. It was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They inflated the gun related death figure by including suicides and legal shootings in self defense. They also omitted the CDC statement that guns stop 500,000 violent crimes a year. An honest study would compare homicide rates and or accidents. When thats done the anti gun fanatics cant make their case. The US is 112th in homicide in the world. Change that to gun death and we become number one as long as you exclude the Islamic nations. Accidental death by guns is 600 a year out of 100 million gun owners and 300 million guns. Drs. kill 124,000 by error alone. Always look for the term gun death and you know they have manipulated the sample.

    4. Dan Johnson2 years ago

      Please cite statistics and sources for your comment.

    5. AnJo12 years ago

      I thought the chances of dying were 100% for everyone, whether or not they own a gun. When did that change?

    6. Anonymous1 year ago

      Please provide supporting evidence for your opinion on the first amendment.

    7. Anonymous1 year ago

      Who is likely to not die?

  14. Sherry2 years ago

    Is there a corelation between being a military vet & gun ownership? ie. Are vets more likely to own a handgun?

    1. Kristin2 years ago

      I personally would say yes they are, I don’t know a single vet that doesn’t own one (my husband, father, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, brothers…all vets, all gun owners).

  15. Irish2 years ago

    Where is the study on those who legally own guns vs illegally?

    1. Chip2 years ago

      That would have been an interesting variable to throw into the study. One associated problem, however, would be avoiding the bias arising from respondents not wanting to disclose that they are violating the law.

    2. Old Mick2 years ago

      The problem with statistics about illegal guns is that the people who own them tend to be people who are not honest on surveys…imagine that…

  16. Peter2 years ago

    A lot more people commit suicide with cars than guns, so why don’t you people who want to tell me how I live, drop that line out of your excuses? All those ‘one car accidents’, usually run straight into a tree, bridge abutment, etc. People that even try to blend ‘guns’ and ‘suicides’ shows inability to think critically. Or, in some cases, to think at all.

    1. doesnt matter2 years ago

      last year 19,392 people committed suicide with guns, compared with 11,078 who were killed by others. So lets not act like its a small thing here

      1. mike2 years ago

        If someone wants to commit suicide, if they dont have a gun, they will hang, wreck, sit in a closed garage with a running car, take pills, etc.. So that doesnt matter, atleast they didnt suffer like those other ways,,,

      2. RLEMERYSGT2 years ago

        So where again is your proof an inanimate object was the root cause of their mental illness……..ECHOES OF SILENCE!

      3. Bruce2 years ago

        Japan has a suicide rate much higher than the U.S. and everywhere else in the world, yet has virtually no civilian gun ownership .

      4. Brad Carlisle2 years ago

        Thats out of a population of over 300 million. Yes it is a small thing.

  17. Dana2 years ago

    I live in northern Maine, EVERYBODY owns a gun. Probably close to 80%. I think we had one murder 2 years ago.. in the “big city” an hour away. The problem isn’t guns, it is society. The rest of the country needs to get back to the simple life of helping thy neighbor like we do up here and stop trying to put band-aids on broken legs.

    1. Chris2 years ago

      I live in Florida… everyone owns a gun… there are shootings everyday and everywhere! Grocery stores, gas stations, malls, night clubs and bars… so personal experience doesnt mean anything. Just because it is one way in Maine doesn’t mean that’s how the entire country is. Look at data more gun ownership = more shootings, its not rocket science its a simple statistical correlation.

      1. Wick2 years ago

        You should take your own advice and look at the data. The crime rate in america has been going down and the gun ownership up. Take a look at the cities with the most shootings, Chicago. Chicago has the strict gun laws, yet shootings still occur. By your logic of “statistical correlation”, more guns does not equate to more crimes. How many of the crimes committed with guns are illegal? Why should legal gun owners be penalised for the actions of criminals. Perhaps, we should ban alcohol to prevent drunk driving, ban cars to prevent car accidents, ban knives to prevent stabbings, ban water to prevent drownings, and ban food to prevent food poisoning. You can’t just ban everything you personally dislike, like a spoilt kid.

        1. Nate2 years ago

          Actually gun ownership in the US is down to just under a third of Americans, when it had previously hovered around 47%. So your assertion is immediately wrong. Second, there’s no correlation anyway as a desperate/hopeless person with no opportunity won’t know you really have a gun and probably won’t care anyway.

          1. P Lance Sheldon1 year ago

            Actually, actually, the number of guns per capita has gone up. This can be calculated fairly accurately based on gun sales numbers. Whether or not the percentage of people owning guns has gone up is not a measurement that can be made reliably. The honesty of survey’s respondents varies depending on political climate, generation culture etc. And survey is the only means by which to “measure” ownership percentage.

      2. Bobby2 years ago

        It’s not the gun that’s doing the murder its the people So just saying more guns more shooting is not true it’s just the people from the north are different then the people from the south and Florida isn’t that bad if you live north of Palm beach if you live south then yea people attitude and the atmosphere down here south of Palm beach I would say there’s a lot of shooting but not all of florida

        1. Susan S2 years ago

          Having the gun allows the opportunity for serious injury and death. Having the gun means something that could have been fists, or kicks morphs into dreadful wounds or death. Guns in the household equals more death. That is a fact. No gun, less death.

          1. AnJo12 years ago

            Susan, I’m a 60+ year old woman with no training in the martial arts. So if someone broke into my house and I didn’t have a gun, then the fists or kicks would be raining down on me, instead of the bullets ending up in him/them. To you, that may seem horrible, but can’t you understand how to me, it actually seems like a pretty good plan?

      3. Jax2 years ago

        Chris, that is exactly the point Dana was making…everyone in Maine (so s/he says) owns a gun, but they have very few firearms-related killings. The problem is not firearms or the ownership of firearms–the problem is people. You just highlighted that people in Florida suck, that’s all.

        1. Jack2 years ago

          I also live up in Maine and yes a majority of the people have guns in their houses

      4. Bruce2 years ago

        If that was true, then the study described above would show much lower homicide rates among Blacks & Hispanics, who have lower rates of firearms ownership, than among non-Hispanic whites, who have much higher rates of firearms ownership.

      5. Robert Allan Hafetz2 years ago

        For the past 40 years violent crime has declined and at the same time gun sales increased by the millions. Thats called a negative correlation. That inverse relationship proves more guns dont increase violence. Violence is concentrated in the cities where democrat social policies control every aspect of life. Thats called a positive correlation. Its those policies that create violent people.

        1. Alex Colvin2 years ago

          Your inverse/negative correlation is erroneously applied. With a decrease in gun crime one ought to be seeing a decrease in gun sales. Less fear should predict and decrease in gun sales, not the reverse. The inverse correlation and socio-economic factors you cite do not account for this.
          Most sociologists will tell you that folks don’t arm themselves when they feel “safe’ in their communities. Just the reverse. So either folks are arming themselves for no logical reason or the crime level is being unreported. Or, the “fear” is being synthetically manufactured by the NRA “stranger-danger” machine driving up sales. I suspect the latter is the case.

      6. Sstwo Smith1 year ago

        I have two signs in my yard:

        #1: We don’t call 911 for protection, but they do a very good job of removing the bodies.

        #2: My neighbor is against the 2nd amentment, so I promise that I will honor his beliefs and not use my guns to protect him.

    2. dan2 years ago

      last year there were 25 killings in main. Just last month 5 people were shot and 2 killed in just one day. OUCH

  18. Libderp2 years ago

    So the more dependent you are, the less you need a gun.

  19. BigCityintheMidwest3 years ago

    Am I the one that lied and said we had no guns when that call came in?

    1. OrangeDeath932 years ago

      Very smart. I own 3 pistols, two rifles, and a shotgun. Every time I am asked if I have a gun I either answer No or none of your business. Else the Stalanists will take your kids away and put them in foster kid so they can become future sex workers.

  20. Brian3 years ago

    What is presented as a “paradox” should be common sense. In areas where it is common knowledge that gun ownership is high, criminals are less likely to break into home and kill potentially gun-wielding victims.

    Put another way, people who are most capable of defending themselves do defend themselves, and live to talk about it.

    1. Rfree3 years ago

      whites are less likely to be shot by someone else, but far more likely to shoot themselves. sadly, white gun suicides way more than offset the claimed “self-protection”. and no, white people who commit gun suicide usually do not live to tell about it….

      1. James3 years ago

        @ Rfree your comment is absurd. It assumes that every suicide committed with a gun wouldn’t have happened otherwise had that person not had access to a gun which is totally and utterly preposterous.

      2. Armed and Dangerous3 years ago

        Rfree, not sure why you keep saying suicides more than offset the claimed self protection numbers. According to DOJ, CDC and FBI stats, just over 19,200 suicides were committed by the last count out of the 30,000 “gun deaths” (which include ALL gun related deaths, including justifiable deaths. The two guys hired by the DOJ to do a study, ( as well as many others over the past several years) who are well known anti-gun rights guys came-up with numbers that far, FAR outweigh the suicides. In fact, here are the stats the DOJ actually use, as well as several others. It’s all out there, just research it a little. Even if we cut the numbers below in half, or by 1/4th, they still FAR outweigh the suicide numbers.
        Times per year guns prevent crime;

        NCVS 108,000
        NSPOF (raw) 23,000,000
        NSPOF (vetted) 4,700,000

        Private sector:
        Kleck-Gertz 2,400,000
        Lott 2,100,000
        About thirteen or so other surveys 700,000 to 3,600,000 times per year. NO STUDY has shown anything LESS than 108,000. The last time I checked, 108,000 is far more than 19,200.

        I for one has “brandished” my carry gun twice in my life that prevented what was most likely going to be a serious crime or bodily harm. I never reported it, nor has ANYONE I’ve ever known who owns a gun and has had to draw it EVER reported it to the police. The perp saw the gun, knew he was about to have a very large hole put into him so he turned and ran away. So just how many more are there out there that have “racked” the pump shotgun and scared off a would be robber and never called the police, or drawn their carry gun and done the same? FAR more, by ten times or more, than suicides, and MOST of those suicides are Military veterans, to the tune of 11,000+ per year due to PTSD or other things they simply couldn’t cope with. Something I am willing to bet you’ve never dealt with…

  21. Richard Snow3 years ago

    In our neck of the woods a gun is a tool, not much different from a hammer or a chainsaw. A few years back it was used to ventilate 55 gallon steel drums for use as a burning barrel. They tend to be plastic now so that’s out. We still need to dispatch an occasional rabid wild animal but generally it just sits on the gun rack until it’s needed.

  22. 2brknot2b3 years ago

    Tells me if whites own more guns, and have less chance of being murdered, perhaps there is some correlation between ownership of guns, and death rates. Would shoot holes in Bloomberg’s various organizations, Brady Campaign, AAGV, and other anti-gun, people control organizations. If they are trying to disarm everyone, that would basically mean they are trying to disarm white folk shot at disproportionally lower rates, but with much higher rates of gun ownership, so as to bring up the homicide rate in white communities. Sounds like a leftist propelled genocide to me. Doesn’t it to you?

    1. Scott3 years ago

      OK, here’s two items that shoot a hole in that idea: motherjones.com/politics/2013/01…


      To summarize their findings: more guns equals more firearm related fatalities and gun ownership increases your likelihood of being the firearm fatality statistic.

      1. Lynchmtn3 years ago

        …however, Scott, the data also show that in areas with more private gun ownership, the overall rate of murder by all means collectively (e.g., knives, hammers, baseball bats, et.al., is significantly lower. And as a career researcher, I can tell you that the difference is statistically significant with a substantial edge. And if you go one step further and include non-death crimes (e.g., robbery, car-jacking, etc.) the margin is even more dramatic.
        So, here are the basics: More gun ownership results in fewer per capita murders. You’re just as dead by a baseball bat as you would be by a gun.
        How uber-liberals continue to ignore these facts just boggles the mind.

        1. rfree3 years ago

          as a career researcher, I recommend you do a little more research. about 90% of violent gun deaths by the generally more conservative white adults who own guns is…killing themselves with the gun. 75% of liberals choose not to have a gun because they know that having a gun in the house greatly increases the chance of accidental or deliberate harm of someone who lives in the house, and this more than offsets the claimed self-protection benefit for most people. see: medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-f…

          gun ownership rates in states are partially correlated to gun murder, but have an excellent correlation with rates of gun deaths from all causes (suicide, homocide, and accident). only focusing on murder somewhat obscures what is really going on with guns in regard to personal safety and preservation of life.

          1. Jamie3 years ago

            It seems somewhat disingenuous to include suicide in statistics on “Gun violence”.

          2. Peter2 years ago

            And why didn’t include all the suicides by car? It’s more common than people think. Always one person just slams into a bridge abutment or tree. Just in my schooldays I had two friends who’s father did just that. My point being, what’s the relevance of singling out guns when talking about suicide? I bet you watch a whole lot of TV. Read about it, cause it’s really bad for you in numerous ways. TV watchers even die earlier than non boob tubers.

          3. Bruce2 years ago

            Suicides don’t count. If people want to kill themselves, it is not justification to prosecute others for owning firearms. Japan has the highest suicide rate in the world, yet virtually no firearms ownership

          4. Jeff Robertson2 years ago

            as a career skeptic I would think any survey from UC, Davis would have no linkage to the lifestyle and events of the rest of the nation.

  23. Richard Tebaldi3 years ago

    Please note, the largest group by age are the older generation of Americans. Usually the major taxpayers and supporters of America. Take a look at how our Federal Government takes care of America, refusing to protect it’s borders. Take a look at crime during this recession which you say was over in 2009, and is not because the poll is skewed. You aren’t counting, because you can’t define, the numbers of lost jobs and the people who have used up all their benefits, and are no longer in the job market. Many probably retiring and getting an under the table job. How many non taxpayers on the books? Truly, i believe many of the job seekers are poorly trained to get a job.
    Others lost their jobs to a “Global market” that we can’t sustain due to cheating by other countries, possibly by us as well. Our “older generation” does not feel safe anymore and many of us are not able to protect our families anymore. That’s why we have guns. The Government is too large to protect us, even locally. Criminals have undocumented guns. People who are trained combatants have guns because they know and have seen evil. Ban guns and you’ll have undocumented under the table guns everywhere. What are you saying to the gun totting criminal? “Hey, break into my house! My State won’t allow me to have a gun”! (And the police can’t get here for “X” minutes!

  24. Robert Schweitzer3 years ago

    It seems that everything many people know about guns, the learned by watching TV. Furthermore, TV sensationalizes the misuse of guns.

    We have driver ed classes to teach proper driving. We have home ec and shop classes to improve home environments. Maybe its time our education included proper use, care, and capabilities of guns since ownership and possession is guaranteed by our constitution.

    1. Scott3 years ago

      That…would be encouraging gun ownership, much like requiring schools to teach the Bible. Those should be (ant are constitutionally) options left to the individual. Now, it might, in fact does, make more sense to require any individual wishing to own a gun to undergo “x” number of classroom hours for certification, with a re-certification required every “x” number of years, much like receiving and keeping a driver’s license. This should appease gun owners groups since they often compare guns to cars.

      1. Chad Lariviere3 years ago

        No Scott, that would be preparing people to make choices intelligently or at least with an INFORMED opinion. No one is saying we should make people like guns. But educating them about guns FACTS as far as how they work, i.e. semi-auto vs. full auto, might go a long way to having people back EFFECTIVE legislation rather than laws that sounds good but have no positive effect on gun violence.

      2. John Doe3 years ago

        Yet evolution is forced down our throat in public schools…. Its a double standard for you liberals

        1. AJ3 years ago

          Gun ownership is a personal choice, as is religious belief. Evolution is, like gravity, a scientific theory. With all due respect, I don’t see these comparable, John.

          Perhaps you could elaborate on your view of this as a double standard?

          1. Jayne2 years ago

            As you say, religion is a choice and a freedom protected under our constitution. Some religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) believe in Creation (sometimes Intelligent Design) and thus some believe teaching Evolution is tantamount to teaching Atheism in public school. It’s not my view but there it is.

            However, educating people about wide-spread potentially dangerous or lethal products just makes sense and is all about safety. Cigarettes, guns, cars (automobile deaths vs gun deaths, those numbers blows minds), kitchen knives, carbon monoxide and radon sensors. And simply educating people about safety and health hazards doesn’t force a cigarette into your mouth or a gun into your hand.

        2. Inge Johnsson2 years ago

          Evolution, gravity and math are all science subjects and thus must be included in the curriculum of course. If some ignorant religion prohibits e.g. gravity from being taught, then I think we can safely disregard that.

      3. Sstwo Smith1 year ago

        But “driving” isn’t protected by the 2nd amendment. You can only infringe so much on the bill of rights.

        How about this: To be a journalist you must take X number of hours of honesty training, X number of hours of objective training, and X number of hours of fact finding training before you’re allowed to call yourself a journalist. If you fail, you can’t. And you must repeat the training every X number of years.

  25. Just a Guy3 years ago

    Stop with the hispanic thing. As a white latin american living in his own country I find it very disturbing that in the US you continuously separate people that speak Spanish from the other races. Don´t perpetuate this. We belong to all races regardless of the language we speak and it makes absolutely no sense including a language/cultural classification inside an race/ethnic category, as much as if you were including francophones or germanophones there.

    1. slk3 years ago

      back in the 70’s, there was no hispanic check box!!!

      1. Scott3 years ago

        And next you’re going to say…”those were the good ole days”?

    2. 2brknot2b3 years ago

      The left (progressives on both sides of the aisle) must divide to conquer. People who fall for the tripe are ignorant boobs. From my cold dead hands.

    3. Stretch3 years ago

      Just a guy . . . I couldn’t agree with your comment more. I am a WASP that reminds friends that a vast part of this nation in the Southwest was Hispanic long before it was part of America. I regret that my generation was not exposed to other languages at an early age so that we could easily communicate with each other. When we travel abroad, I always feel like the dumb “American.” Fortunately, the French, Spanish, Italians, Mexicans, Germans and others I’ve met are nice enough to speak my language and help me with theirs. And I’m always amazed at those from the continent who forget that the people of the U.S. Virginia Islands and Porto Rica have the same rights as American citizens they do. Gracious, Amigo!!

  26. Tom Skoch3 years ago

    “The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%).”

    Not really a paradox:

    1. Gun-related homicide is most prevalent among gangs and during the commission of felony crimes. (nij.gov/topics/crime/gun-violenc…)

    2. The 1996 National Youth Gang Survey revealed that Hispanics and African-Americans constituted the majority of gang members. (ojjdp.gov/pubs/96natyouthgangsrv…)

    So, it seems black and Hispanic households are more likely to contain gang members who become gun homicide victims and have weapons the Pew household survey respondents don’t even know about.

    1. Donald Steiny3 years ago

      It does not require secret weapons. A small minority of both communities are involved in the gun violence but that is enough to make a difference in the overall rates. Note that people shooting each other in arguments is almost the same level.

    2. Richard Tebaldi3 years ago

      Tom: Do you mean a “legal weapon”?

      1. 2brknot2b3 years ago

        What is the difference between a legal weapon, and an illegal weapon when the Constitution states “…the right of the people to keep & bear arms shall not be infringed”? If one cannot adopt law, or policy to deny gun ownership of any lawful combatant (military personnel), then one cannot outlaw various weapons, weapon types, or limit capacity, such as with magazines, or how many magazines one may carry. In other words, the only illegal gun is a gun owned by someone in a country not covered by a second amendment, and that right exists for them, too, they just haven’t codified it in their laws/constitution.

        1. gatlingun63 years ago

          Unfortunately for you no court has opined that the 2nd Amendment contains an unfettered right, nor does it speak to when, where and how an arm can be carried. In the MacDonald case SCOTUS concluded that some regulations are permitted.

          IMHO with the recent cases, the 5 conservative justices have made a mess of the 2nd A. Be that as it may, no subsequent is going to overturn the SCOTUS decisions on the 2 most recent cases.

          In the joy surrounding the SCOTUS recent gun rights decision they did something else of which the impact was not noticed. For the 1st time SCOTUS was explicit that the 2nd A is held against the states. Essentially that means that Federal not State courts will decide what regulations are permissible. How did SCOTUS say it? “Reasonable regulations are permissible”. They did not; however, define “reasonable”.

          If you think the 2nd A is all about an unfettered right, feel free to bring suit.

          1. Ben2 years ago

            In practical everyday terms the federal government has no influence over guns except who legally sells them. The “debate” over what the Supreme Court says is just an academic exercise that bears no real influence because it does not enforce it’s legal rulings and neither does the executive branch. Example is the Brady law; How many people who have lied on form 4473 buying a gun have been arrested and prosecuted? None; So what’s the point of the law?

            Local policemen in more and more states are prohibited by law from stopping and harassing citizens who openly carry their guns because to do invites a lawsuit they will lose. So those “rulings” only really matter to lawyers and to those mentally deranged enough to try to regulate guns by force; Good luck to them.

    3. Bruce2 years ago

      Gang activity is virtually nonexistent in non-Hispanic white communities because the people owning more firearms are not quite so easily intimidated therefore more willing to “snitch” on the gang members.

  27. Doug3 years ago

    Would be really interested in the methodology. Is it the case that respondents were asked to volunteer if they have a firearm in the home? How did your researchers try to validate responses and do you allow for the fact that many respondents may not volunteer that they have illegal weapons? By and large, the majority of criminal shootings are perpetrated by, well, criminals. Are they going to tell you the truth?

    1. Yes, curious indeed3 years ago

      What’s more, how likely are “ex-offenders” or *current* offenders to agree to participate in recurring Pew polls?! Much less answer truthfully about gun ownership—tantamount to confessing a felony over the phone to a stranger in a poll where the pollster knows, or can likely determine with some ease, who you are?!! Gun owners in higher crime areas (i.e., urban)—whether they are lawful owners or not—know that revealing the presence of firearms in the home to strangers *can* increase their risk of burglary, all else equal.

      It is almost certain this sample badly undercounts the prevalence of gun ownership among blacks in particular and felons, especially, as well as city-dwellers in general. I invite Pew to ask respondents next time if there is a felon or ex-offender living in the household. See how that works out.

    2. Donald Steiny3 years ago

      They have a link to the survey where they explain their methodology in great detail. In addition Pew makes their data sets available so you can check the statistical analysis if you care to.

      1. 2brknot2b3 years ago

        Pew polls stink. Pun intended.

    3. Scott3 years ago

      So, are you suggesting we shouldn’t attempt to collect…any data? Too your point though, accuracy on any poll of this nature would increase if “owning a gun” were more regulated for all. The fewer the regulations, the less accurately the data is compiled.

      1. 2brknot2b3 years ago

        Actually, if our rights were not being diminished unconstitutionally, and illegally, or illegitimately, by congress, or state congresses, people would be more likely to be open, and truthful. Your hypothesis that legislation/regulation will make people, especially consummate liars (Barack Hussein Obama types), and criminals, more open is simply preposterous.

        1. gatlingun63 years ago

          And your presumption that the President is a consummate liar is also preposterous. That line is nothing more than your opinion without a shred of evidence to back it up. I’m surprised that you only gave one of the anti-President Obama talking points.

          But I’m not surprised because your many comments are all about opinions in which case you’re entitled to keep them.

          One would have thought that your opinions, as strong as they are, would be supported by something, anything factual. Unfortunately there is nothing but air there.

  28. JohnKerrysForehead3 years ago

    Could the lower % of ownership in the Northeast be a result of stricter gun laws coupled with population density?

    1. LinvilleLion3 years ago

      And as a result will not admit to having a firearm.

    2. Donald Steiny3 years ago

      Also, the more educated and financially well off people are the less likely they are to have guns. Where I live people generally think owning a gun is absurd. Better educated people go to cities and make more money.

      1. Old Dragoon3 years ago

        Of course, once one reaches a certain stage of affluence, one hires a gun for personal/neighborhood protection.

      2. 2brknot2b3 years ago

        My better educated daughter owns several guns, lives inner city, and doesn’t consider gun ownership an evil. Of course, she was taught by a college educated country boy how to live right, be morally straight, and keep her nose clean.

      3. That guy3 years ago

        Do you feel better about yourself looking down your nose and thinking how you’re so much better than the rest of us .
        Sorry sparky but guns have nothing to do with Brains/Education or income .

      4. Lynchmtn3 years ago

        Donny boy…,
        We would never encourage you to change your position on this. Even those of us who comprehend the critical importance of the 2nd amendment also understand that there are those people who are better of not trying to handle firearms personally. As luck would have it, this is a self-regulating phenomenon, i.e.: Those who are better off not trying to handle them due to certain deficiencies (wink, wink!), also tend to be the same people who can’t wrap their brains around why firearms in private hands are so important for self-preservation. So the Darwinian natural selection process is allowed to play out. It all operates in service of the evolution of our species. See: It’s all good Don. So stick to your “guns” on this! (possibly the worst pun I’ve ever used).

  29. Daniel Haas3 years ago

    I have always seen a correlation between population density and gun ownership. Isn’t it true that the more urban you live the fewer guns you have around? Frontier-life on the other hand brings a higher rate of gun ownership…

  30. Ted3 years ago

    PEW should research and reveal the ideological and political leanings of all the recent mass murder perpetrators. The headliners all appear to be leftists

    1. JohnKerrysForehead3 years ago

      Agreed. That would be interesting.

    2. Scott3 years ago

      And you are basing this on…what? I see the headliners as right wing extremists. So…who is correct?