Reader RW writes:
In a recent NRA training course the counselor stated that one in two American households probably have a gun, though many don’t admit it. I backed him up on the claim. He was trying to quickly demonstrate some not directly firearms-related points important to instructors and safety officers…the importance of being an ambassador for the community, constantly focusing on demonstrating and teaching safe behavior, and respecting privacy. Several of my fellow classmates looked a bit incredulous on the privacy point . . .
As someone who has focused on handguns primarily for self defense use, I was part of a minority in the group who regularly participate in a variety of shooting sports. I supported the instructor, giving specific examples from my concealed-is-concealed life. I described situations where I implied I didn’t have firearms or didn’t know much about them despite the fact that I was concealing at the time and have been spending lots of recreation time at the range for decades. Everyone smiled, nodded and we moved on.
Days later, that 50% statistic was still niggling at me…how many American households do have firearms?
Pew Research seems to claim it’s roughly a third and presents the data without apparent bias. CBS reports a decline in gun ownership since the 80’s based on a University of Chicago study that doesn’t hold up well to any scrutiny. Gallup polling from a few years ago, however, reports slightly less than 50% of households with firearms.
So that 50% figure seems plausible. But it all appears to depend on who’s asking and the questions they use.