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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.

68 Responses to One More Time…How Many Households in the US Have Guns?

  1. I’ll wager the percentage of homes with firearms has gone up since 2011. I of course, don’t own any firearms if you are asking.

  2. Such a survey is also prone to false responses. If someone calls me on the phone and asks about guns in the house, I’ll say none here.

    Why? I don’t know who they are or how the information is used. They have my phone number and can then cross reference publicly available information to find my name and address. Better to have security through obscurity. I take this to the point there is no indication on my house or car that I’m a gun owner. No bumper stickers showing any indication of sporting or political interests.

    • I take the opposite tact. I say that I own one of every firearm ever sold to the public and two of the ones I really like.

    • I just hang up on the caller when the survey asks questions I don’t like. I guess that’s as good as admitting I have guns, but it could be as good as admitting I hate guns.

  3. I think the number of fires and boating accidents where firearms are destroyed roughly parallels the increase in NICS checks we’ve seen ever since Obummer was elected by all those dead Democrats the first time. Gotta go, it’s my turn at the boat launch….

    • Tom, I wouldn’t answer a question like that in person either, unless I was comfortable with the person who was asking and why he was asking it.

      • I don’t care what the survey is about, I always lie.

        Not participating is a good policy, I however prefer to make their jobs just a little bit harder if I have the opportunity.

        And BTW, if any progressive political operatives ever come to my door I always try and engage them, and keep them as busy with me as possible by feigning interest and continually asking them to explain things, like I don’t understand them. The more time they waste with me the less time they have to work their indoctrination on other more susceptible people.

        This assumes I have time to waste, which I usually don’t, but if I get the chance to waste their time or lie to them I will do it.

        • I think you’re ignoring a viable segment of the population that Ralph is referring to. If a colleague or family engaged me in discussion about purchasing a firearm, I may eventually volunteer some of my experiences with, and as an owner of, certain models.

          I may even engage in discussion about arms that I own while killing time during cease fire at our outdoor range.

          Would I volunteer that information to any stranger? As you point out, of course not. But, there are exceptions to be made in person, where they might not get made over the phone or email.

        • Sure, I wasn’t talking about friends or family discussions. I could have been clearer there, yes.

    • That was you? I was about 100 yards from you when mine tipped over at the same time. Incredible how that rogue wave came out of nowhere like that, isn’t it?

  4. Notice how the graph of the Gallup poll bounces around. I doubt that actual household gun ownership varied like that. It seems much more likely that the respondents were feeling more or less politically correct at various times in our recent history.

    • Absolutely correct.

      If those numbers are correct, they are implying the movement of millions of firearms in and out of millions of households across the country every few years.

      I call BS on that; they aren’t actually counting homes with firearms in them but homes that *say* they have firearms in them to strangers call over the phone in the context of that specific political climate.

      Nothing to see there.

    • Agreed. In a different political climate I might be more inclined to veracity regarding ownership. However, in the last 3 decades should any of these pollsters call the answer would be a resounding ‘no’.

  5. I am very confident that firearm ownership in the United States has increased significantly. I can personally name two people off the top of my head who did not previously own nor possess any firearms three years ago … now they do. And I don’t know anyone who gave up on firearms. While this is of course an anecdote, I have no reason to think this is an anomaly and every reason to think this is a national trend … or at least a trend in areas outside of the virulently anti-gun enclaves of Hawaii, Coastal California, Cook County Illinois, and the Boston – Washington D.C. Megalopolis.

    • Even coastal CA. Go to any of our ranges and the places are packed. A lot of women, all and all a very diverse group.

      I think that whole “gun ownership is on the decline” is an outright lie bought and paid for by the likes of kapo bloomberg and soros.

    • Gee once again there is no …sense. Tons o’guns in Cook County. Gun shops. And gun ranges too. City of Chiraq PROPER-nope. No I don’t answer unsolicited phone surveys ever. That’s why I have call waiting…

  6. If I am to believe that Gallup poll, the number of homes with firearms dropped 5% from 2004 to 2005.

    A 5% drop in one year for no apparent reason? And this happened AFTER the sunset of the Clinton AWB?

    No way.

    • 2004 election; respondents were reacting to Bush letting the AWB sunset. Before 04, those same respondents were pretending to own guns so their answer would register in the “gun owners who support the ban” category. Much like how 40% of people claim NRA membership when they have only 5 million members; they want to be part of the “80% of NRA members” who support a registry.

  7. Wouldn’t you need a central registry of all gun owners for like the last 100 years in order to accurately find out how many people own guns?

  8. Calling human drone: “Do you have any guns in your home or other places around your property? How many do you have? Are there children in the house?”

    Me: I will answer your questions if your answer some of mine: What is your social security number and bank account with password? What, too personal? So are your questions, dumbass.

    Then I just hang up. Easy peazy, rice and cheesy. 🙂

    Besides, everyone knows we lost our guns and anything of value in a tragic boating accident back in 2008.

    • LOL, I actually scrolled back to find the comment left by “human drone” to which you were replying. When I got to the top I realized I’m not a smrat as I thunk I was. Carry on.

  9. I’m convinced a surprising percentage of Progressives and other Leftist folk own guns but would never cop to them for fear of ostracism from their other Leftist buddies

    And they will justify it by considering *themselves* responsible enough to own them, but certainly not the general public…

    • I’m convinced a surprising percentage of Progressives and other Leftist folk own guns but would never cop to them because they are “prohibited persons”.

  10. Luckily, since that California cop let me off with the illegally carried pistol years ago, I didn’t lose my gun rights here in California. Of course, my prison guard credentials didn’t hurt. So add one more household to the list!!

  11. What’s a gun? I’ve heard of firearms, they have some on the shelves at the store right? I work minimum wage, I can’t afford those, I think that’s the right answer? I’m so confused, what was the question again? 😉

  12. What industry has record breaking sales year over year:

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2016/04/09/gun-sales-on-track-to-beat-2015-record-n2145677

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/05/gun-sales-hit-new-record-ahead-of-new-obama-gun-restrictions/

    But has dwindling participation rates? The answer of course is no industry since this would defy basic economic principles. Excess demand would have to be absorbed by previous gun owners, which is greater than a factor of three from 2005 to 2015. Anyone with intelligence knows the narrative of dwindling participation rates is completely false.

    • Personally, my ownership of guns went up hundreds of percents in the last fifteen years. You know, when you go from none to one, that’s 100%. Then from 1 to 2 is another 100%….and so one.

  13. When Gallup has asked me this (I’m one of their panelists) I say no. Not because I’m ashamed but because I don’t know how that information is stored or who might have access to it. My name, phone number and state of residence is enough to pretty quickly nail down where I live if someone wants to do something nefarious. I also don’t know who might be listening in on the call surreptitiously. No I’m not worried about the NSA but phone scanners exist. They’re not cheap, but not all criminals are poor or unsophisticated either.

    I suspect self-reporting of ownership to be low. Just look at the graph. Does anyone really believe that between 1994 and 1996 there was a 14% drop in ownership followed rapidly by a late 1996 spike of 5%? Similarly, does anyone believe there was a 5% drop between ’03 and ’05?

    I also realize that these surveys are not completely accurate representations of the population. A large part of them depends on who answers the phone and is willing to talk to the surveyor.

    • “No I’m not worried about the NSA”

      Don’t worry about them, they get most of their information from blogs. And yes, they know who you are.

      • I’m well aware of what the NSA has been publicly outed as collecting.

        My point is that my fear isn’t “Oh God if I admit this on the phone the gumbmint might get me!” it’s more along the lines of criminals who might be listening in. The same is true of Gallup’s database. I’m sure it’s hackable and I’m not a fan of giving them enough information to basically draw a map to my house to know where a bunch of guns are.

        The statement was a prophylactic against lefty trolls.

    • That 14% is soon after Clinton AWB of 1994 and is the logical response from the public being asked by if they have a weapon just after the government has taken a good chunk of their rights away. That drop translates into tens of millions of households getting rid if their guns. The survey is as bogus as they come.

  14. I don’t like being questioned..PERIOD. Someone calls and wants to take a poll, they get hung up on.
    What I have or don’t have is nobody’s damn business. If I choose to share what I have, like my inflatable blow up sheep, I’ll share it, but until that point…FO

    • I got one of those pollster calls the other day. The guy identified himself and said he had just one question: did I vote in the last presidential election? When I answered yes, he asked me to participate in a survey. I told him he’d asked his one question and I hung up.

      • One time I thought I’d be nice as the guy promised it would be only a few short questions and only last about 3 min. He LIED. For one, he sounded like your typical tel-marketer from…..Pakistan with horrible English. There were questions that didn’t apply to me, but no answer to indicated my choice, which was total BS. The survey went on and on and on and I was straining hard to listen to Abu Al Zouhari and understand his questions. After about ten minutes of listening to that meat-head, I hung up.

        The one time I gave in and be accommodating and not the total dick I usually am, I got kicked in the face for it. There’s a bazillion things I’d rather do than answer questions, ESPECIALLY from someone on the phone with broken English and about sh– I couldn’t care less about.

  15. The beauty of not having a national registry… nobody knows who has a gun or really even how many there are. Everything is just blind speculation.

    • Isn’t it great that the closest method we have is an old fashioned phone poll? I can only imagine the horror the europeans must feel about it, and it warms my heart.

      • If someone was so inclined I’d bet they could get a very good estimate of the numbers of guns in civilian hands simply by getting NICS numbers and figuring out how durable firearms actually are. Pinning that down to households is a bit more difficult, but I’m sure someone creative could figure out a good set of proxies for that as well. The thing is, no one really cares enough to do that; a phone poll is easier and cheaper, and one side just doesn’t really care about the result and the other has a vested interest in getting as low an estimate as possible, so they go for the method that allows the best fudge.

  16. Everyone knows the record NICS totals over the past 8 years as well as packed ranges means firearm ownership is in a record decline. It fits with the naritive of no inflation, falling unemployment rates, steady upward trend of the economy, and much lower health insurance costs.
    Come on people get with the program!

  17. Household numbers are all fudged up by whatever the current administration wants. For instance, I recently discovered my wife and I were considered homeless while we lived with my parents as we built a house. The city flat out told me that for their purposes we were classified equally as people living in shelters. There is also the flux of illegals who come and go seasonally. They are considered households now though they don’t intends to be here, they plan to go back and live with their families in their houses in another country. It’s so weird that it’s maddening. I love the 50% number but honestly don’t know a household around me without a firearm. Not to mention if one of them had some scuba gear we could probably arm the entire neighborhood.

  18. First, I hang up on telemarketers, charities and surveys. So I’ll never appear on the chart.
    A new neighbor just moved in. We’re working around to reach the “Do you shoot?” question.
    Last, I know a couple where the wife expressed an interest in shooting. I offered to take them. Bad mistake. Suddenly, the husband started with the remarks suggesting I’d be shooting people left and right. Told him it was a one time offer of help and I didn’t appriciate the remarks.
    I’m at the “no I don’t” answer from now on.

    • When people suggest that to me I always tell them off course I might if the rule of law ever ended or community redistribution became a neighborhood activity but till then I just horde….. usually ends that liberal unicorn panty dream of theirs and reminds them maybe they need a gun also?

    • I’m the smart ass that would have said “Shooting everyone left and right? Nah man, only your wife, all over her face and titties!”.

      • That would have been rather bold of you. I’m sure the husbands initial expression would have been worth it though, but the overall result would be like fart in church.

  19. I’d tend to believe the 50% number is about right. But I believe there must be way more than 300,000,000 firearms in private ownership in this country. At least half of that half have multiple guns. Probably 20% of the population have a dozen or more.

  20. I suspect the number is well over half the households, but who is going tell pollsters about their guns? Not me, I use to answer polls when I was young and stupid. Now I ignore phone numbers that pop up on my cell if there is no name attached, so if you aren’t in my phone book, you don’t get through, because way too much phone spam.

    • See, here is what I don’t get. If half of households own firearms, what happened in California? There are an estimated 10 million guns here, compared to 17 million registered voters. So how come we are so out voted in the Legislature? True, democrats outnumber republicans 7.5 million to 4.8 million, but there are another 4 million with no party preference. Out of all of these, gun owners should total almost 8 million voters.We should be winning, but all we do is lose.

  21. air argument can be made on estimates that around 50% of households could have guns now. There are 125 million households in the US. Half of that would be 62.5 million households.

    Let’s assume that the University of Chicago study was correct and 1/3 of households had guns even when President Obama took office. That’s 41.6 million households.
    Sales figures show around 100 million new guns have been sold since Obama was elected. Let’s assume only 20% were for for households (like mine) that did not have a gun. That’s 20 million new households , or 61.6 million households with guns. That’s just shy of 50% and that’s with fairly conservative estimates on new gun sales. These numbers dont account for the used market, person to person sales, and friendsfamily gifting used guns etc. It would not surprise me to find closer to 70 million households (56%) now have guns.

    What I know for sure is I never tell any one our household is now armed

  22. I don’t even do surveys my principal sends out. She claims they are anonymous but we have to log into our school Google accounts to access. Leadership by survey. Yup. This is why our schools suck. Some guy came to my door the other day w a survey. “You can opt out of taking the survey, sir.” Yep, I’ll take that option.

  23. If you look at the graph, there is a 14 point swing around 1994 when the AWB went into effect. You know, because no one wants to ban guns…

    I’d wager at least 25-30% of firearms owners will never admit to owning a firearm.

  24. currently own no bad guns, or any Stoners, however my Neighbor who is anti-gun, hides his wicked jump out and kill someone guns, but they keep escaping and funny how they just miraculously just jump right into their buddies the bad guys loving arms! this guy should be investigated for cruelty to a firearm! Sorta like the Gimp and the space man! (Funny how Space dorks wife gets a bullet in the Noodle and he starts raking in the dough because of his gigolo life style and with wife no longer being a big piggy bank) Him and John Kerry sponge off their wives, they haven’t had an honest job in their live times except being paid Quislings who offer Sedition, Treason, appeasement and are apologetic for being an American, course the useless ones love this for the freebees and best of all Bloomberg pays them to distort our Constitution and our Way of Life! you just got to be PC, burn Honky burn

  25. Almost impossible to have studies and polls without bias. Bias is always built on based on who is comducting study, who is paying for it to be done, and of course the motive behind conducting a poll or study. Even the gold standard peer review process is rotten to the core with conflict of interest and corruption.

  26. Sorry if this loses formatting.

    Still repeating the lie that gun ownership is down.
    The Left uses PERCENTAGE of households to show that, NOT the raw numbers.
    And they always pick the lowest possible percentage from a Leftist Poll.
    Yes, the PERCENTAGE is down because the rate of increase in households owning guns does not increase as fast as the total number of households.
    Total Households increased 133.8% from 1960
    Households with guns increased 95.7% from 1960

    Data from Gallup and Statista on gun ownership on household numbers
    1960 Households-53,276,000 49% with guns=26,105,240
    2014 Households-116,827,000 42% with guns=49,067,340
    2015 Households-124,590,000 41% with guns=51,081,900
    This shows gun ownership has approximately DOUBLED or exceeded the Left’s lie.

    Latest data I could find, from Statista 2016.
    (Now they won’t let me access it again)
    Number of household reporting at least one gun owned. – 41%
    Number of U.S. households – 124,590,000 (rounded)
    Households with at least one gun – 51,081,900

    Data compiled from Statista 2016

    YEAR Households % with guns Households with guns

    1972 66,680,000 43% 28,672,400

    1975 71,120,000 44% 31,292,800

    1980 80,780,000 45% 36,351,000

    1985 86,790,000 44% 38,187,600

    1990` 93,350,000 47% 43,874,500

    1996 99,630,000 44% 43,837,200

    2000 104,710,000 39% 40,836,900

    2001 108,210,000 40% 43,284,000

    2002 109,300,000 41% 44,813,000

    2003 111,280,000 43% 47,850,400

    2004 112,000,000 38% 42,560,000

    2005 113,340,000 40% 45,336,000

    2006 114,380,000 43% 49,183,400

    2007 116,010,000 42% 48,724,200

    2008 116,780,000 42% 49,047,600

    2009 117,180,000 40% 46,872,000

    2010 117,540,000 39% 45,828,900

    2011 118,680,000 45% 53,406,000

    2012 121,080,000 43% 52,064,400

    2013 122,460,000 37% 45,310,200

    2014 123,230,000 42% 51,756,600

    2015 124,590,000 41% 51,081,900

    So even though the percentage is lower than in 1960 (49%), the number has approximately doubled.
    Take THAT, you Lefty Liars!

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