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In the discussion thread: US: Fewer gun owners, more guns [View all]

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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Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
xchrom Dec 2012 #1
66 dmhlt Dec 2012 #2
LineNew Reply The article is flaky, the thrust is correct.
ProgressiveProfessor Dec 2012 #3
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