Largest Gun Owner Survey Ever Proves Gun Grabbers Wrong about Everything
Gun control advocates like to portray American gun owners in a highly unflattering way.
According to them, we're a a tiny group of radicals. Hardly anyone uses guns to defend themselves. Owning multiple guns is unusual and suspicious. Few people have any use for AR-15s or magazines over 10 rounds. Gun owners are primarily old, fat, white, racist men. And so on.
However a massive survey of American gun owners by William English of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University proves gun control advocates wrong about these and other false ideas.
The professional survey firm Centiment conducted the survey between Feb. 17 and March 23, 2021, and Professor English updated the survey in May, 2022.
According to the abstract, the survey "aims to provide the most comprehensive assessment of firearms ownership and use patterns in America to date."
Participants included a representative sample of about 54,000 U.S. residents aged 18 and over, and identified 16,708 gun owners who answered in-depth questions about ownership and use of firearms.
- The survey finds an overall rate of adult firearm ownership of 31.9%, suggesting that in excess of 81.4 million Americans aged 18 and over own firearms.
- Approximately a third of gun owners (31.1%) have used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on more than one occasion, and it estimates that guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year.
- Handguns are the most common firearm employed for self-defense (used in 65.9% of defensive incidents), and in most defensive incidents (81.9%) no shot was fired.
- Approximately a quarter (25.2%) of defensive incidents occurred within the gun owner's home, and approximately half (53.9%) occurred outside their home, but on their property.
- About one out of ten (9.1%) defensive gun uses occurred in public, and about one out of thirty (3.2%) occurred at work.
- A majority of gun owners (56.2%) indicate that they carry a handgun for self-defense in at least some circumstances, and about 35% of gun owners report carrying a handgun with some frequency.
- Professor English estimates that approximately 20.7 million gun owners (26.3%) carry a handgun in public under a "concealed carry" regime.
- 34.9% of gun owners report that there have been instances in which they had wanted to carry a handgun for self-defense, but local rules did not allow them to carry.
- The average gun owner owns about 5 firearms, and handguns are the most common type of firearm owned.
- 48.0% of gun owners – about 39 million individuals – have owned magazines that hold over 10 rounds (up to 542 million such magazines in total).
- 30.2% of gun owners – about 24.6 million individuals – have owned an AR-15 or similarly styled rifle (up to 44 million such rifles in total).
- Demographically, gun owners are diverse. 42.2% are female and 57.8% are male. Approximately 25.4% of Blacks own firearms, 28.3% of Hispanics own firearms, 19.4% of Asians own firearms, and 34.3% of Whites own firearms.
- In total, Americans own over 415 million firearms, consisting of approximately 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles, and 98 million shotguns.
So much for the unflattering and misleading caricature of American gun owners. These survey results prove what we've been saying for years: gun ownership is both wide-spread and highly diverse. And most notably, use of guns for self-defense is extremely common, averaging 4,575 times a day.
Let's put this into perspective. Baseball is so popular and is such an integral part of American culture, it has been called "America's Pastime." On average, about 11.75 million people watch the World Series. But according to this survey, 81.4 million American adults own guns. That's about 7 times the number of people who watch the World Series.
So if baseball is America's Pastime, what does that say about guns and gun ownership? It's not radical or unusual. It's actually as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense. He is also the host of the Keep and Bear Radio podcast.