(courtesy Smith & Wesson)

The above graphic is from Smith & Wesson’s investor presentation [via businessinsider.com]. I’ve already written a post about the business side of the gunmaker’s recent results. I’d like to highlight a different aspect here: the fact that personal/home protection is the number one reason people buy a firearm – despite the fact that violent crime continues is historic decline. Gun control advocates paint gun sales in general and the personal protection purchase rationale in specific as a sign . . .

of NRA and industry-induced paranoia (with the implication of racism). I think of it as Americans taking responsibility for their own safety, even as the number of armed law enforcement agents has dramatically increased. (Wikipedia: “Ten of the 50 largest local police departments reported double-digit increases in sworn personnel from 2004 to 2008.”) Americans taking responsibility for themselves? How great is that?

Almost as great as the stats debunking the antis’ constant chorus that firearms ownership is falling. Here’s the data:

(courtesy Smith & Wesson)

Notice that 25 percent of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm in their first year of ownership. That means new gun owners remain active buyers and, thus, gun rights supporter. After all, they are [still] at the sharp end of any legislation designed to delay, deny or inconvenience lawful owners. I mean, keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Or something.

Bottom line: the more people who buy a gun – and shoot – the safer our gun rights. The safer our liberty. Reasons to be cheerful? Yup. Reasons to bring a newbie to the range? Absolutely.

34 Responses to There’s Hope for America Yet

  1. In my state we are required to go put an application in with the the local Police Chief who “shall issue” (a CCL). If however one was to go to the police with an application for only target or hunting, the license could be for a limited round firearm in theory. Pretty much all applicants put down for personal safety so as to avoid this. With this said, I don’t doubt that Personal Safety / Protection is the highest percentage.

    • This is what drives anti-‘s nuts. They constantly try to paint firearms as offensive weapons, rather than defensive. Their whole argument against guns is dependent upon that perception. However, with every LEO in this country carrying a firearm on their hip for defensive purposes, it’s a hard sell for them.

  2. Assuming the estimated 300,000,000 guns in circulation in a population of 320,000,000, doesn’t the high number of guns per owner suggest that the total number of gun owners isn’t that high?

    • My thoughts exactly. Everybody I know that owns “a gun,” owns at least four or five. I personally know precisely zero one-gun families.

    • Most of us reading this site need a gun safe to store our 5-25 firearms, but there are still many millions who own a single nightstand revolver or bedside shotgun.
      Plus, I’d bet the 300 million firearms figure is kinda low.

      • “I’d bet the 300 million firearms figure is kinda low.”

        It is. I did a study of this that will be published in a week or two. It’s higher.

        Also note that out of 317 million people in America, only about 240 million are of legal age to own a firearm. So the per capita rate is higher.

        • Yes, and of the 240 million who are of legal age, a percentage are legally disqualified due to prior convictions or DROs.

        • Yes, if you discount all the felons and illegal aliens and others who cannot legally own firearms, the number of non-prohibited people is quite a bit lower than 240 million.

      • That figure of 300 million is actually pretty close, at least as of 2010, I don’t have access to the source right this moment but it states as of 2010 there were some 306 million people in the US and some 310 Million guns, It’s actually one of my favorite stats to quote since it boggles the antis mind so much when it comes to trying to confiscate them all 🙂

        Here it is according to Gunpolicy.org The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the United States is 270,000,000 to 310,000,000

        • That 270 million has been floating around since the early – mid nineties, if not the late eighties. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the 2014 total was a lot closer to 400 million than it is to 300 million. And just for laughs, I wonder just how many tens or even hundreds of billions of rounds of ammunition are stockpiled in homes throughout America. That might prove be a very sobering data point to our political betters and would-be tyrants, not that they’re actually smart enough to take the hint.

        • Oh if you want the TOTAL number of guns in the US including that of the Military then yes the total is probably over half a billion, that number above, is only those that are owned by private citizens. Again that was as of 2010 so yes even that number has increased a lot since the buy binge.

    • The numbers refer to handguns, not firearms. They don’t mention the validity of the respondents, so it might not be a representative sample.

  3. Went to the range this weekend, and nearly everyone there was part of a couple, a group, or a family. It’s great to see kids participating with their parents and to see so many ordinary people overcome the relentless anti-gun propaganda.

    • we do couples date night frequently and the wives have more fun going out to the range and then dinnner than the guys do . . . .

  4. I don’t think a reason is needed to buy a gun. You can defend yourself with an 870 Wingmaster, and you can hunt with an AR.

    It’s a right, not a need.

    • In this case reason means the impetus for the purchase, not some sort of legal justification.
      I bought a revolver last week. My reason was that I wanted a revolver.

  5. 90% of handgun owners own more than 1 with an average of 8.1. I’m finally above average for a change!

    If 1 gun is good, 2 guns must be better, and 20 guns must, therefore, be awesome.

  6. Reason #5-because I can…and who are you to know how many guns I have? Right now I have one shotgun. I have had 8 guns in the last 3 years which I sold because I needed money. And I’m an OFWG.

  7. ?? I own guns (lots) simply because the government doesn’t want me to. Didn’t see that reason on the list. Once in a blue moon I’ll shoot one. There are several I have never fired.

  8. you do not go to some big cities without a 357 mag. is that racism? or better watch the first ten min. of local news all crime….is that racism???? Robert you sound liberal at best!!!!!!!!!!

  9. If you think about it, the multiple gun stat makes a fair amount of sense.
    I think we all know, or at least know of someone who has an awesome collection.
    But I bet most of us also know of someone who has 2 to 4 only.
    Most “new” shooters I’ve talked to lately seem to be of the mind that they want:

    A center fire pistol suitable for self defense

    A rim fire pistol for “plinking” (usually described as “cheap training”, but we all know the truth- they’re just fun.

    A shotgun or rifle, either center or rim fire for various reasons ranging from home defense, to hunting, to realizing that shooting can be fun.

    So get one person involve in the shooting sports, of almost any type, and within a few years allowing for budgets, and many of them wind up with multiple firearms.

  10. Sales of rifles are down, according to S&W. Since twenty-two rifles are so popular, I’m wondering whether the lack of ammo has been a drag on the rifle market.

    In fact, I wonder if the shortage of pistol caliber ammo pulled that market down as well, notwithstanding that handgun sales are still strong.

    Just as auto sales were off during the late, unlamented OPEC-engineered gas shortages, it wouldn’t be unsurprising to see gun sales off during the ammo shortage.

    • We have certainly noticed the drop off @ our store. We did our first weekend gun show and all the vendors agreed that sales are slow, most said that this time of the year typically are slower.

  11. 8.1 handguns each? Wow.
    Unless you count AR pistols, I only own seven handguns.
    I should go buy more handguns…

  12. But…but… but… the ammo manufacturers tell us that investing in additional lines would be crazy, no, CRAZY because increased demand is temporary. Look at the charts in the slide show. I can’t wait until Rio gets their distribution network set up. They, like many people, see an obvious need for more capacity in the ammunition market and are only too happy to stake a claim in it. Then maybe after 2 freaking years I can buy pistol powder and some 22LR and maybe these artificial shortages will be a thing of the past.

  13. Now if the sale of handguns are slowing, where is the ammo. Maybe some prices will come down a bit. I am still buying ammo, I’m around 80 thousand rds. of course some are .22lr’s.

    • Plenty of ammo around. I saw CCI brass 9mm for $11/box 50 today, and the cheap stuff is $10. Even 5.7 is plentiful and down to $23/box 50.

  14. Reason #4 makes me (and probably Dyspeptic Gunsmith) very sad. Sad to see the sport dying out…personally becoming a relic. Is a bit sad when people see your (target) stance and assume you are inexperienced since you lean back.

  15. Am I just paranoid? Yes, crime is down to where it was in the ’50’s, yet people are buying firearms in record numbers “for self defense”. Could it possibly be that they’re not nearly so worried about defending themselves against criminals as they are about defending themselves and their families against our valiant crime fighters? How many pet dogs have to be shot before you realize that the guy with a badge on his shirt and a gun in his hand is directly threatening the survival of your wife and kids? How many people do we need to see paraded out of their homes in underwear and handcuffs without ever being actually arrested before we understand that the LEO’s are not “fighting crime”, but delivering a lesson in “respect for government agents” to the public at large?

    A majority of people still WANT to see the cops as the good guys. How much more of the nightly “look how important and tough we are” crap can we take before the majority flips to the other side?

    • Again, as the old often Army quoted saying goes: “Better to have it and not need it than need it and…”

  16. Reading through the S&W slideware, there’s nothing in there to worry about. Unless you’re Nurse Bloomberg and or one of his paid media mistresses.

    The indications on “who is buying” clearly show that younger people and women are the new market segments to observe and encourage. The anti-gunner damp dream that gun ownership will go down as OFWG’s die off ain’t about to happen according to plan from that S&W market data.

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