Monday, April 23, 2012

More Guns in Fewer Hands

Jill Lapore writing in The New Yorker
The United States is the country with the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world. (The second highest is Yemen, where the rate is nevertheless only half that of the U.S.) No civilian population is more powerfully armed. Most Americans do not, however, own guns, because three-quarters of people with guns own two or more. According to the General Social Survey, conducted by the National Policy Opinion Center at the University of Chicago, the prevalence of gun ownership has declined steadily in the past few decades. In 1973, there were guns in roughly one in two households in the United States; in 2010, one in three. In 1980, nearly one in three Americans owned a gun; in 2010, that figure had dropped to one in five.

Men are far more likely to own guns than women are, but the rate of gun ownership among men fell from one in two in 1980 to one in three in 2010, while, in that same stretch of time, the rate among women remained one in ten. What may have held that rate steady in an age of decline was the aggressive marketing of handguns to women for self-defense, which is how a great many guns are marketed. Gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, higher in the country than in the city, and higher among older people than among younger people. One reason that gun ownership is declining, nationwide, might be that high-school shooting clubs and rifle ranges at summer camps are no longer common.
Is the suggestion of more guns in fewer hands so inconceivable? The pro-gun folks laugh at it.

Of course their reason for dismissing the idea is based on anecdotal evidence. I've asked them how many guns do they own today compared to five years ago.

Those who bother to answer support the theory that there are in fact more guns in fewer hands, a higher concentration in the hands of a small percentage.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Here's an inconvenient truth for you: I became a first-time gun owner in the last five years. Could it be that a lot of people like me are out there? We got interested in guns and started collecting and carrying--how about that? Of course, you've seen the evidence that a lot of new people are buying a first gun, and you've seen the evidence that a lot of people are signing up for a carry license.

    Why is this so important to you?

    1. It's important in order to understand if gun ownership is as much on the rise as you guys keep saying it is.

    2. Why? Rights are up for majority vote? That's a frightening idea, especially when you consider that rights that you care about may be voted on tomorrow, if ours are voted on today.

  2. I dont think so, I belive that she is so very wrong in so many ways.

    The numbers still dont add up, if it did it would make guys like me with over 2000 guns. And I dont have anywhere that many. I dont know anyone that does have any number like that on hand, save the gun stores and they cant keep them in stock.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. 400,000,000 firearms in the US
    38,275,142 is on third of the 114,825,428 households in the US
    10.45 guns per household......

    I got to get out and buy more guns.......

    1. Thomas, her claim that the number has dropped from 33% to 20% or less. So do the figures to one in five.

      I find it hard to belive that only 20% of the nation have guns.

  5. Thats "assumming" that there is "only" 400,000,000 guns. I have a feeling that the total number of guns is way north of that.

    Like I have said before, I only keep 15. There is a reason for those 15 and they get rotated out when they no longer serve their purpose or worn out. Those are distroyed. But I have turned over at least 150 over the years. A lot of gun owners dont do that. Couple that with millions of new gun owners and you have,,,,,,, well a LOT more guns out there.