Thursday, July 26, 2012

How Many Gun Owners Are There - How Many are Passionate about Gun Rights?

A comment on TTAG
It is well known that there are something like 250 million guns owned by 80 million people in the US. But Mike drives thru a few states, meets a few people, doesn't see any obvious bulges on anyone's waists and from that comes to the conclusion that ownership is "not commonplace". The only science involved with that leap is the psychology of delusional thinking.

My response
Let's examine that "250 million guns owned by 80 million people in the US" for a moment, shall we?  It's the height of dishonesty for you to quote those numbers as support for your side of the argument, here's why. Most of the 80 million couldn't care less about the issue one way or the other.  They own guns, sure, but many of them don't even know where they are (in the attic, basement, one of the closets).  Others keep one handy for emergencies but are totally apathetic about gun rights.  That's why the NRA has so few members.

Of the remaining, a good portion actually agree with the gun control folks.  You certainly can't count them.  They are gun owners who feel like we do about background checks and assault weapons, you know the type.

What's left is a few million who run the spectrum from mild believers in the 2A to fanatical gun-rights activists. If you isolate the ones who feel like you do, passionate enough to comment on pro-gun blogs, what would it be, maybe 100,000, maybe half-a-million.

That's why my observations in the States are what I said: "the overall impression was that gun ownership is not the commonplace way of life we often hear from the gun-rights crowd."

34 comments:

  1. So you are refuting his numbers as dishonest by throwing up your own made up numbers?

    Why Laci and Dog Gone would call you names and post 12 paragraphs of why you are wrong based upon a 12th century Pakistani document.

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    1. I didn't say his numbers were dishonest. I said:

      "It's the height of dishonesty for you to quote those numbers as support for your side of the argument"

      Get it?

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    2. So at least a third of the country participate in gun ownership, and that's not support? There are hundreds of millions of guns here, and that's not an indication of enthusiasm? I certainly don't have all of them, more's the pity.

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    3. Greg, I don't think you read my explanation.

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  2. FWM, you are repeating yourself - and not just here.

    No, no 12th century Pakistni document on the 18th century 2nd Amendment. I'm mildly familiar with traditional Indian writings from earlier eras, which would largely include the region now known as Pakistan. Perhaps when you finish with Ayn Rand you could download the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads or maybe the Vedas or better, the Puranas in translation to your kindle?

    But no, nothing from the 4-5th century BCE (you DO know what BCE means right?) deals with firearms significantly.

    What MikeB has done was to synthesize, or summarize, multiple sources of data so as to come up with a single combined representation, and then refine that with his anecdotal experience. This has merit because we do not hae a reliable, verifiable method of accumulating gun ownership data. In point of fact, there is a premium being paid at the moment for guns WITHOUT any paperwork or documentation, even when they are poor-quality poor condition utter crap. That's because of foolish paranoia, of the type you like to indulge in here.

    MikeB is refuting his numbers as exaggerated, with good reason; MikeB is far from the only person questioning those numbers. Plenty of experts concur with his assessment.

    You got anything bretter? No. I didn't think so. The NRA hypes and inflates their numbers; that is in part by doing things like requiring anyone who is remotely employed by them to be members, regardless of gun ownership or interest, for starters. Or did you miss the part over on Common Gunsense about the employees at NRA call centers being required to take out an NRA membership as a condition of employment?

    Repeating our lies and false claims doesn't make them true FWM. Try being more original, or better fact based next time.

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    1. We used BC and AD when I was in school. That is what I continue to use, but I do know what BCE is and see no reason to change.

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  3. Your repeating yourself FWM; that doesn't make things true you know.

    You might want to brush up on your Indic lit; maybe a few Vedas, or the Puranas. No doubt you can download them to your kindle when you finish Ayn Rand.

    But no, those are mostly earlier than 12th century, and have nothing to do with our gun insanity.

    MikeB combines multiple sources for an attempted summary, refined by his own experience. There are no good numbers that give us reliable data, much less anything verifiable. The gun nuts are too afraid of that (and everything else). Guns without documentation even when they are old rusted crap are going at a premium higher than new documented firearms.

    So unless you can actually refute MikeB, he's giving a pretty darn honest assessment of what data we have. It's not like the NRA isn't known for inflating their numbers, including members.

    As you may have noticed was mentioned over on JaPete's blog, the NRA for example requires all employees to join whether they want to or not as a condition of employment, even for their call centers.

    You want to see those numbers be big, but it's all part of your fetish fantasy. There is some credible data that gun ownership is actually declining overall depending on how you look at the data.

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    1. " Guns without documentation even when they are old rusted crap are going at a premium higher than new documented firearms."

      Bullshit. I suppose you have a credible source for that incredible claim?

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    2. Something like teachers having to join unions whether they want to or not?

      But there you go tossing that word, fetish, around again. That's your Freudian slip showing, not ours.

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  4. Mikeb, you didn't really provide any information to dispute the numbers, you merely categorized how you think the gun owners attitudes toward ownership, the 2A, and the NRA are broken down. I would tend to agree with your assessment of those attitudes and feelings - until someone tries to take their guns away.
    orlin sellers

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    1. First of all, the taking-guns-away is a fantasy. But, even in that bizarre scenario, the apathetic ones of the 80 million would not resist.

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    2. Fantasy, Mikeb? I don't think so.

      At the orders of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, the Oklahoma National Guard, and U.S. Marshals have begun breaking into homes at gunpoint, confiscating their lawfully-owned firearms, and evicting the residents. "No one is allowed to be armed. We're going to take all the guns," says P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police.
      http://reason.com/archives/2005/09/10/defenseless-on-the-bayou
      orlin sellers

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    3. An isolated incident from which you build a major conspiracy theory.

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    4. "But, even in that bizarre scenario, the apathetic ones of the 80 million would not resist."

      So says the ex-pat, who would not be on the front lines dipping his hand into the confiscation cookie jar taking his chances on getting shot......

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    5. Mikeb, first it was a 'fantasy', now it is an 'isolated incident'. Governments confiscating firearms/weapons from its citizen is hardly an isolated incident.
      Were Japanese-Americans allowed to keep their guns in the internment camps?
      orlin sellers

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  5. "And I, like most Americans, believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. And we recognize the traditions of gun ownership that passed on from generation to generation -— that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage,"
    Barack H. Obama - 11 hours ago....

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  6. Mikeb, the NRA's membership is 4.3 million. That number includes me, thanks to this website. You've been shown comparisons between the NRA annual budget and that of the Brady Campaign. I'd suggest that our side has much more enthusiastic support. Your claims sound as made up as all your other numbers.

    Dog Gone, B.C.E. means Before the Common Era, something supposed to be a neutral reference to what was once called B.C. But since you brought up classic texts of the Hindu religion, I'll observe that Krishna tells Arjuna that death is essentially meaningless, since our bodies are like our clothes. They are not who we are. If you want to know more, you're welcome to take my World Lit. I class.

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    1. Greg, I didn't say anything about our side vs. your side. I was talking about why the NRA has so few members compared to the total number of gun owners. You guys love to use that 80 million number as if it supports your side. It does not.

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    2. When will you get it, Mikeb? This is our side vs. your side. There's no common ground to be found. But if you insist that support for gun rights is soft, why is it that more and more states move our direction? If people were in favor of gun control, legislatures would enact it. But things are to the contrary on both of those.

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    3. It's because the gun lobby, which represents a small portion of the citizens, is rich and powerful and influential.

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  7. Greg: Actually, the NRA's membership is closer to 3M; let's not forget that number came from the NRA in response to a filing he was required to make for the purpose of the NRA's underwriting business.

    And let's face it, the majority of those 3M tend not to remain NRA members beyond an introductory period. The NRA gives away memberships or discounted memberships in return for admission to gun shows, shooting ranges, and other promotions. As I've sagely noted, only about 600,000 NRA members stick around 5 years or more to become eligible to vote in NRA elections--and of those about 100,000 vote.

    The NRA also tends to keep deceased members on their rolls.

    IOW, pretending the NRA has 4M members willing to line up behind whatever bizarre conspiracy theory LaPierre cooks up is ludicrous.

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    1. Believe it if it makes you feel better. You have to grasp at something, since the NRA keeps advocating for gun rights and keeps winning, along with other organizations.

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  8. Texas Colt carryJuly 26, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Those numbers can not be correct, simply cant be. 250 million guns in the hands of 80 million gun owners works out to 3125 guns per owner. Big gun stores dont even have that many on hand. Thats more guns than permit holders in both Dallas and Tarrant counties combined (DFW Texas).

    250 million guns? I would say those numbers are small since in 2011 alone there were 118 million sold in the US and close to that number each year he has been in office. So that means the number of gun owners are way north of 80 million and would cover the right, left and independent people in the US. 80 million would represnt the ones that are not afraid to admitting owning guns.

    In Texas alone there are over 500,000 permit holders as of the end of 2011. Each one of them I will bet anything are passionate of gun rights. In Florida, close to or over one million permit holders.


    Hi guys, I,m back! And working my retirement!

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    1. I'm glad you're back, my friend. The range is open once more.

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    2. Texas Colt carry, you say "way north of 80 million," but what do you think about my breakdown of the apathetic ones?

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    3. Texas colt carryJuly 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      If you by apathetic mean an indifferince to,,,

      I dont know, maybe for those that have inherited them but have no interest in them other than a keepsake item from a family member, maybe, some.

      But most that have purchased, and practiced and enjoy using them for hunting and target know exactly where they are and maintain them. These things are expensive and people that shell out big bucks for them care for them extensivly. The same way a car buff takes care of it or the computer guy equips his machine with all the bells and whistles.

      My use for them was first and foremost predator control, then hunting. Now that I am free from that, I enjoy target and hunting. Practicing accuracy is a lot of fun. And since I now reside in the DFW area, self protection, yes I do carry every day, everywhere I go. Really nothing different than I have ever done even before the permit process.

      Everyone that I have ever known has had them, none ever has shown any indifference to them. My kids, grandkids and those that I have known as their family grew also aquired their own firearms and treat them respectivly. Just as any other major purchase and resposibility for them.

      Of those that are "apathetic" to them are the morons that we hear about that have accidents with them, allow minors to get at them, or ultimatley commit crimes with them. Those that are apathetic, dont see guns the same way I do, as most of us do. A work of art, engineering marvels and a challange of ones test of accuracy. Those that are apathetic towards gun are like those that dont treat cars the way they should be, drive it into the ground and get into accidents or belive the roads are an extension of the Indy 500.

      Some people shouldnt be driving a car. Some shouldnt own guns. Even some shouldnt be raising kids!

      But apathetic gun owners, yes they are there. But nowhere in any majority.

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  9. I'd actually take it a step further; there are two groups of gunloons: 1.) those who have a financial interest in guns; and 2.) the militia/survivalist whackos.

    And they represent a very, very, very small fringe group.


    The financial interest types are folks who make a living (or at least some income) from firearms. This includes the hucksters selling "NRA certified" training. It's like selling Mary Kay but the product isn't as good. You certainly have FFls who sell firearms legally and illegally. You have the lobbyists at the NRA. And you have bloggers like Bobby Farago, Jon Clark Sullivan, Keith Milligan, Andy Johnston, etc. who get a check for playing internet tough guys.

    The second group are folks like the Hutarees and those who think "The Turner Diaries" is a documentary.

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    1. "You certainly have FFls who sell firearms legally and illegally."

      Josh Sugarmann, director of the Violence Policy Center, would be among those FFLs. Does he sell them legally or illegally? Maybe he should share the contents of his bound book... he does have one in accordance with ATF rules, right?

      And his intention for his FFL is to sell guns for a profit, as he's required to affirm on his FFL application. He didn't lie on a federal document, did he?

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  10. "Those numbers can not be correct, simply cant be. 250 million guns in the hands of 80 million gun owners works out to 3125 guns per owner."

    Is it any wonder gunloons think there are 2.5M DGUs per year? Is it any wonder Wayne LaPierre can find folks willing to believe his conspiracy theories?

    Bad math aside, it's been well-established that 80% of all firearm sales go to those who already own firearms.

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    1. Good one. I didn't notice that. I love your conclusion of how that nonsense relates to the famous 2.5 million.

      More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

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  11. Texas Colt Carry:

    80,000,000 x 3,125 = 250 BILLION GUNZ.

    I'm confident that a number like 80M x 3.125/per will yield 250M. And, if as you assert there's a lot more than that, let's go with 10 gunz per owner that would be 800M (which nobody with any access to marketing or demographics information on the subject would be willing to accept). I know a number of people who won well over 10 firearms. My nieces husband collect Bennellis and some other makes of shotguns. I've never seen his collection (which is well secured in a big ass gunsafe, bolted to his cellar floor) but it's a bunch more than 10.

    Also, the number of firearms "owned" by people in this country must surely include the millions that are in private collections, pawnshops, unlicensed dealers' inventories and the like.

    As I keep saying I have NO problem with people owning gunz. I have a huge problem with dangerous moronz with gunz.

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    1. Your absolutley right, who said I was ever good with a adding machine anyway! My bad. I dont get that whole decimal point thing!

      "As I keep saying I have NO problem with people owning gunz. I have a huge problem with dangerous moronz with gunz."

      And I totally agree with that statement as well.

      I do know quite a few people that own as many as ten or more guns as well. I now privatly own 10 of my own now as well. Most of my work guns were transfered to the new boss in my old position and in a legal manor thru a FFL. I kept a few and bought more to target shoot with. Damn those things and ammo is getting expensive!

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  12. Mikeb has his read of firearms culture during his visit. That's fine. Other people will have a different take. That's fine as well. The most important take-away is that firearms culture was not blatantly obvious to Mikeb. He did not see anyone do anything stupid or foolish in his estimation. I think that is a good thing. That speaks to the fact that armed citizens are not out in public waving their guns around and causing trouble.

    As for Mikeb's questions about how fervent armed citizens are about gun rights, I will be the first to say that there is a lot of apathy in any sub-population. Most people are mainly interested in entertaining themselves ... thus religious, political, or social causes take a distant back seat.

    What I don't see is how anyone can conclude how many armed citizens are committed to gun rights based on NRA membership. I consider myself an avid firearms rights supporter and yet I do not contribute to the NRA mainly because I believe it is more effective to use my resources in a different way to further firearm rights. There are plenty of other reasons why people would avidly support firearms rights and not be members of the NRA as well.

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