Gallup Poll: Guns in 4 of 10 homes; women more likely to use guns for protection

A recent Gallup Poll entitled "Gun Ownership and Use in America" shows that 4 in 10 Americans report having a gun in their homes, that most gun owners say they use their guns to protect themselves against crime, for hunting, and for target shooting. What may come as surprise to sexist anti-gun extremists is that the poll's findings also found that women more likely than men to use guns for protection.

From a story by Joseph Carroll, Gallup Poll Assistant Editor:

    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. At that time, 27% of Americans said they personally owned a gun and 14% said another household member owned one.

    Certain groups of Americans -- men, older Americans, Midwesterners, Southerners, Republicans, and whites -- are more likely than other groups to say they personally own a gun.

    Nearly half of men (47%) report personal ownership, compared with just 13% of
    women.

    Americans aged 18 to 29 are slightly less likely than those who are older to
    be gun owners. Only one in five 18- to 29-year-olds (21%) say they own a gun,
    while 32% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 31% of those aged 50 and older report
    ownership.

    Roughly one in three Americans who live in the Midwest (34%) and the South
    (36%) say they personally own a gun. Ownership is lower among those residing in
    the East (22%) and the West (23%).

    Forty-one percent of Republicans say they own a gun, compared with 27% of
    independents and 23% of Democrats.

    One in three whites (33%) own a gun, while only about one in six nonwhites
    (18%) do.

Perhaps more interesting than who owns firearms is what the poll finds about the purposes for which gun owners use their gun.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Gallup reports that most gun owners use their guns for each of these
three purposes: crime protection (67%), target shooting (66%), and hunting
(58%).

Because there is so little difference in results among the 2000 and 2005 polls, Gallup combined the data from its 2000 and 2005 surveys to provide a more detailed look at the reasons why different groups use guns.

    Male gun owners are more likely than female owners to say they use a gun for
    hunting (63% to 45%, respectively) or for target shooting (68% to 59%), while
    female owners are slightly more likely than male gun owners to use a gun for
    protection (74% to 63%, respectively).

    Gun owners aged 18 to 49, are more likely than those aged 50 and older to say
    they use a gun for hunting (65% to 52%) or for target practice (74% to 58%).

    There are essentially no differences between younger and older gun owners who
    use their guns for crime protection (67% among 18- to 49-year-olds and 64% of
    those aged 50 and older).

    Republican and Democratic gun owners are almost equally likely to say they
    use a gun for protection against crime, 64% to 69%, respectively. However,
    Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they use a gun for target
    shooting (71% to 53%) or for hunting (64% to 53%).

The results are based on telephone interviews with 1,012 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 13-16, 2005. The overall poll has a margin of error of +/-3%, while the sub-sample of people who say they personally own a gun had a sampling error of +/-6 percentage points in 2005 and +/-4 percentage points in 2000.

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