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Sun Dec 16, 2012, 06:50 AM


US: Fewer gun owners, more guns

A decreasing number of American gun owners own two-thirds of the nation's guns and as many as one-third of the guns on the planet -- even though they account for less than 1% of the world's population, according to a CNN analysis of gun ownership data.

The data, collected by the Injury Prevention Journal, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the General Social Survey and population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that the number of U.S. households with guns has declined, but current gun owners are gathering more guns...

A 2007 survey by the U.N's Office on Drugs and Crime found that the United States, which has 5% of the world's population, owns 50% of the world's guns. The number of households owning guns has declined from almost 50% in 1973 to just over 32% in 2010, according to a 2011 study produced by The University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. The number of gun owners has gone down almost 10% over the same period, the report found

The concentration comes, in part, because guns are "marketed by and large to people who already own guns," Lizotte said.

Both studies also found that men were more likely to own guns, though the General Social Survey found that male gun ownership is down almost 20% since 1980. The Violence Policy Center's analysis of the General Social Survey data also found that part of the reason the gun owning population is declining is because those weapons are largely owned by white males, a group whose population is aging.


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Reply US: Fewer gun owners, more guns (Original post)
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
xchrom Dec 2012 #1
66 dmhlt Dec 2012 #2
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2012 #3

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:19 AM

2. Thanks - I found the article enlightening ... and frightening

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 04:03 PM

3. The article is flaky, the thrust is correct.

Sugarman, Lizotte and the VPC are scarcely neutral sources.

Who owns what and more importantly what is in active use are clearly unknown. However, IME, gun owners fall into distinct groups but share some common features. I'll take a risk and enumerate what I tend to see:

Accidental/Casual: Inherited it, used to hunt 20 years ago etc. Weapon is inactive, in a closet somewhere (unsecured) no one knows where the ammo is.

Self Defense Only: Generally a newer owner, most likely a modern handgun. One per adult, with the occasionally a .22LR pistol for low cost practice. Meticulous about safety and securing weapons.

Hunter/Outdoor: Shotgun(s), hunting rifles which may include semi autos depending on the age of the owner. A hand gun or two, mostly older. A .22LR would be expected. Not always secured well.

Shooting Sports: Long guns depend on the sport, shotguns for clays, rifles for other kinds of shooting. An AR format rifle would be expected. Lots of handguns if a competitor there, otherwise 2-3 would be about the norm. .22LR rifles and pistol would also be there. Maybe a historic piece or two. Cowboy shooters also have a different mix, but mostly reproductions of older designs. Tend to be organized and keeps thing secured.

Collector: Lots of weapons, mostly older, depends on the period of interest. Instead of 44Magnum with a laser sight, you might find a Webley or a SA Colt. Like most shooters, .22LR and an AR would not be unusual. Tends to have some in display cases vice safes.

Survivalist: Heavy focus on military style weapons with multiple copies within a family. Would also have shotguns, long range rifle, and .22LR weapons. Tend to secure things well and often wants to fly under the radar. Many hide it from friends and even family.

Gun Nuts: Different from the above since they focus on guns and not other activities. Rarer than some here think in that their lives revolve around guns. A Hunter type might wear camo in the field. These guys wear camo underwear. These types tend to have diverse and growing collections, without a lot of duplicates. Very big into accessorizing in addition to getting lots of firearms. Tends to secure them but also distributes a few for easy reach. Scary to most other gun owners.

I am sure there are more groups that I could enumerate, but that is what comes to mind at the moment.
The prevalent numbers seem about right, but they are based on self identification, which is always questionable. I am comfortable with about 40-60% of American households having firearms, but the number of ones with active shooters is no more than a 30%. This is as much based on my experience than any scientific polls.

The real issue is what group are then in and there is simply no way to tell. Its a fair bet that a member of the ATA has several shotguns, but what else they have is impossible to tell. A collector with every WWI bolt action every made probably has an AR as well. Just about every gun owner has has some kind of .22LR.

One thing is clear, is that outside of the first two groups, anyone who is comfortable with firearms and likes them is going to have a growing collection over time, and most don't sell anything they own. I fall into that category. I have never sold a weapon once I owned it...its a hassle and I did not want the responsibility. Easier just to move it to the back of the safe. Sometimes I have joked about how they breed like paperclips in a desk drawer.

So in summary, there are many different types of gun owners, and most of them IME are not gun nuts (which clearly do exist). The issue is not number, or kind, but intent and attitude.Those not familiar with the different groups lump them all together. That is dumb, but it is happening with increasing frequency. It polarizes the debate and ultimately reduces the opportunity for effective reform.

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