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The NRA-ILA writes: A new poll from Pew Research has found that 44 percent of American households own guns, up a whopping 29 percent from the figure reported in a poll conducted for the same organization two years ago.

Impressed by the incredible trend, the Washington Examiner reported, “more homes are reporting having a weapon inside,” while Bearing Arms said that the poll showed that there is “an increasing number of gun-owning households in the United States.”

However, what these polls really show is that folks shouldn’t put too much faith in polls. It’s no more true that gun ownership has risen 29 percent in the last two years than it declined 26 percent over a two-year period in the early 1990s, as Gallup polling found at the time.

The “decline” a generation ago just happened to take place right as gun control restrictions were being imposed at the federal level. As we explained in July, “Ever since the early 1990s, when then-President Bill Clinton pushed the Brady bill, the federal so-called ‘assault weapons’ and ‘large’ ammunition magazine ‘ban,’ and regulations that drove many gun dealers out of business, many gun owners have not identified themselves as such during the surveys.”

Gallup recognized as much, saying, “A clear societal change took place regarding gun ownership in the early 1990s, when the percentage of Americans saying there was a gun in their home or on their property dropped from the low to mid-50s into the low to mid-40s and remained at that level for the next 15 years.

Whether this reflected a true decline in gun ownership or a cultural shift in Americans’ willingness to say they had guns is unclear.”

With President Obama unable to impose gun control during his last months in office, with Americans increasingly supporting gun ownership rights, and with gun control propaganda having been discredited by recent events at home and abroad, some previously cautious gun owners may now be willing to tell a complete stranger on the phone that they own guns.

However, such complacency may change in a hurry, if Hillary Clinton is elected and begins using the power of the presidency to undermine gun owners’ interests.

At the end of the day, no one knows what percentage of American households own guns, and no one should know.

Even in our present technological age, when some seem eager to reveal things about themselves to anyone who will pay attention, the rest of us surely can understand that there is nothing to be gained, but perhaps something to be lost, by informing complete strangers that we own something of value, be it guns, jewelry, a big screen TV, a stamp collection, or anything else.

If, for that reason, future polls show artificially low numbers of gun owners, as they have for most of the last 25 years, so be it. The only polls that count are the ones that are conducted on Election Day. If enough of us do our civic duty in November, the message we will send will be anonymous, but the whole country will it receive loud and clear.

102 Responses to NRA-ILA: No One Knows How Many Americans Own Guns

  1. Where I live, I’m not aware of any household that does not have at least one gun in it. Most would never admit it to a stranger or anyone doing a poll. If a stranger asked them about owning a gun, most would not admit to owning a gun or they would say “none of your business”. We don’t trust strangers anyway and one asking about guns are especially untrusted.

    • Likewise where I live–most people have some sort of arsenal–7 days a week you hear people target practicing and having a great time, but if stranger would ask about firearm ownership, we know nothing

    • Well, where I live in the Northeast, gun ownership is very low. Probably between 5-10% of all households. I don’t openly discuss my guns with anyone whom I sense is not like-minded. And I certainly don’t with any of my neighbors. In fact, when I carry guns to or from my car for range trip, I try to do it quickly, discretely, at night, with the porch light off and nobody around.

      • I’ve heard of people having their neighbors call the police because they were seen cleaning their guns in their own back yard. Around here, people freak out at the sight of a gun or a gun case.

      • Makes me think of the “two minutes hate” scene in 1984 where the main character is wondering whether or not his boss is like minded.

    • “If a stranger asked them about owning a gun, most would not admit to owning a gun or they would say “none of your business”. We don’t trust strangers anyway and one asking about guns are especially untrusted.”

      That. Right there.

      I don’t talk to random poll-takers about what is in my house. Guns or not.

      I get that some folks will proudly say ‘Yes, I have 147 guns in my house” and would happily give more information. but I think a large group of folks are more like me and the OP, who won’t talk. Therefore, the number is artificially low.

      • I go a step farther, and I think it will become more common. Every call comes with caller ID any more, if I don’t know who is calling, I don’t answer the phone. Thus, no polls, no sales pitches, no scam artists, no Russian Mafia. My home phone is only plugged in when we are going to call someone, does not record messages, yet that is the number we give out when a phone number is required by some sort of agreement, our actual friends and acquaintances get cell phone numbers and are ID’d on our phones by name.. We got along without phones for many million years, the technology has outlived its usefulness.

        • Cell phones have no more legitimate uses than basic landline phones. The one advantage is the ability to quickly call for emergency services when your home phone is simply not available for that. That’s the only reason I carry a cell phone and gave that number to only a limited number of close family and friends. I don’t answer any other calls either.

          I also gave up answering phone polls because the questions in almost all of them are “engineered” to obtained a predetermined desired result. This is a MISUSE OF the actual rules for creating questions which will bring OBJECTIVELY TRUTHFUL RESULTS for research purposes. The number of illicit polls (taken on for the purpose of making money from people wanting to get their desired result for political purposes) have drowned out the legitimate research polls. All of this is confirmed by a reputable research organization I happen to have contact with.

  2. You’ll never get an accurate answer on gun ownership from polling. Between the way they conduct the polls, and the fact that no prudent gun owner is going to tell a random caller on the phone whether there are guns in the house, the number will always be under-reported.

      • And as we know, where guns are required to be registered, like “assault weapons” in NY, CT, CA, etc., you won’t get an accurate count, even with registration. Estimates of compliance range from 5% on the low side to 20% on the high side. So, going by that is even less accurate than anonymous polls.

    • That’s not quite correct, there are some polls on gun ownership which are pretty accurate, we’re going to have one on Nov. 8. Result might be a surprise.

  3. Given the number of Americans who don’t think such things are anyone’s business but theirs and their families’, the actual figure is probably closer to 2/3.

    BTW, the color of the mud seems to go nicely with the color of her shirt.

      • The home phone is the phone in your pocket that connects automatically to the router in your home when within range.

        Oh, yeah, about Pandas.

        Yes, most defiantly an endangered species that must be appreciated and protected.

        {Starting to sweat…}

    • Home phone refers to the old fashioned landline telephone in your house. If you don;t have one of those, then it’s your cell.

  4. For sake of argument let’s assume more than half of all households have at least one gun and a good number 2 or more. A significant number have collections which would qualify as an arsenal in the media.
    Still the Left is running on gun control at the federal, state and local levels. Bad idea since many people see their gun as a right and a defensive tool despite the propaganda.
    In 2 months we’ll see if it works for the Left or not. The 94 elections showed it to be a bad idea and today gun ownership is even higher.

    • “The 94 elections showed it to be a bad idea and today gun ownership is even higher.”

      ’94 doesn’t apply anymore, dude.

      Their tactics are completely different, and worse, are changing dynamically as events happen.

      The antis are mastering the 24/7/365 news cycle and social media.

      One thing we damn sure ought to be doing is using social media to *our* advantage, and there is one way we can do it.

      We need a central clearing house of some sort to spot when anti articles get posted to major web sites.

      We MUST own those comment sections. As an example: I see and read an article and take a look at the top dozen or so comments, almost never the whole 100-plus or greater number.

      We need an app that notifies us such an article exists so we can flood those CRITICAL first comments that actually get read.

      The app MUST be FAST, as in notifying us with an alert in VERY short minutes. This is something the NRA can do, hiring a few people to aggregate messages from us so they can send the alert with the link so we can own those comments.

      Anybody know anybody in the NRA or similar group to set this thing up?

      We HAVE to prove more nimble than the antis in responding electronic media.

      (My .02 and worth roughly half that amount…)

      • Own what comment sections? The proggies are organized — all their most vicious sites allow no commenting whatsoever, and others are heavily censored.

      • That’s actually a good idea. Right now our state 2A rights org does a great job of notifying us to make comments on govt proposals and to participate in surveys of gun rights, but an app would be very useful.

      • Yr. correct. This is the plan. As Lady Thatcher said: “First you win the argument, then you win the election.” or as Breitbart, the guy, not the web site, said: “Culture is up stream from politics.”

        One thing to do is monitor & contribute to Twitchy.

        Malkin’s insight here was hijacking the 24×7 chatter cycle. Twitchy provides essentially a crowdsourced, and crowd-filtered “current events feed”, for a population of a certain persuasion. I’d say far more small-govt populists with a constitutionalist bent than either party, or even “conservatives.” These folks are the “permanent opposition” of Mencken’s idealized press compared to the ever encroaching omni-state.

        Since the twitch-people include gaggles of journo’s, and “personalities” of the commentariat, they go play on Twitter directly, other social media, and parts of the press. Feed them to get outraged about, and they’ll carry it the rest of the way.

        Any decent activist operation has broad real-time monitoring of the opposition, plus all media. And flying monkeys. Lots and lots of flying monkeys to invoke on the miscreants. Since the N R A, for example, has no such thing, they are clearly not politically serious. (Perhaps they get demonized for their control of politi-critters to cow them into not getting better at it? Naaah. That’s crazy talk.)

        • Among journos and progs (but I repeat myself), getting “Twitchy’d” is both a subject of dread — having your Twitter feed and your topic du jour swamped by derision and ridicule, and your conclusions sliced to ribbons — and a perverse badge of honor.

          We need something like it for Farcebook and for the Old Media in general.

    • Given the choice between party, agenda, feelings and protecting self (or others), leftists (Demoncrats) will quickly abandon personally owned guns and the Second Amendment.

  5. I could physically be at a gun range shooting and would still deny owning a gun to any pollster who asked me about gun ownership.

    • I had to laugh when I imagined Jim sitting in his garage with the door open, cleaning the rifle he just sighted in at the range. A pollster walks up and asks, “Sir, do you or does anyone in your household own any firearms?” Jim, “Nope. Not one.”

  6. The US is awash in guns.

    I know hardcore libbies who own guns, but would only admit it to me, the “gun nut” of the group.

    I couldn’t tell you how many back room conversions I’ve had with my progressive friends who have a shotgun or pistol tucked away, but wouldn’t admit it to anyone, sans me.

    Hell, I know a few who even own the dreaded “assault weapon.” In a SHTF, situation the “I’m with her” sticker on their Prius in the driveway would seem like an easy target to BGs, but there would be an AK waiting to greet them at the door.

    • “I couldn’t tell you how many back room conversions I’ve had with my progressive friends who have a shotgun or pistol tucked away, but wouldn’t admit it to anyone, sans me.”

      Same here. They don’t dare be exposed as gun owners, but they have one.

      Here’s the infuriating part: They’re fine with it, because they consider THEMSELVES responsible enough to own one, but not the general public…

      • Like the unforeseen taxpayer who will pay for all the social programs, it is not their guns which will be taken away, just the unforeseen gun owner.

    • Same here. I know a lot of Libs through my work who own guns but don;t talk about it. I call it the ‘closet gun owner’ syndrome. Most would rather come out being gay than admit they own a gun. And believe me, I do everything I can to encourage Libs to come to the range with me or to enjoy their gun ownership status.

    • Count me in for +1 on that. That’s proof alone that there is a God, and He is hard at work. Hallelujah. That’s wallpaper material. Very motivational.

    • I’m reminded of that commercial: ‘Seek medical attention if you have an erection lasting longer than 4 hours’

  7. Based on my anecdotal experience I would venture to guess 60-75% of households have at least one gun but a good chunk of those people will never admit it to someone they don’t know.

    It might be nothing more than a coach gun that came from gramps but it’s still there just in case it’s needed.

    Further, what really scares the antis is the level of interest in guns. When I was in college it sort of became known that my friend and I who were living off campus had some firearms due to some incidents that occured. Guys and a shocking number of gals would timidly ask if I really had a gun. When I replied in the affirmative they perked up a bit but still brat around the bush. When asked if they wanted to shoot it they were all smiles.

    Pretty much all those people now own at least alone gun, so we basically created a few dozen new gun owners.

      • So you think they should take away guns Fudds?

        A gun owner is a gun owner stop the tribalism and learn how educate them on the threat to their guns. Tribalism works into the antics hands.

        • “So you think they should take away guns Fudds?”

          Where the hell did you get that from?

          You’re slamming me based on a conversation you’re having with yourself.

        • Agreed. I get really tired of hearing all the “FUDD” this and “AR Fanboy” that. Get with it folks, we are all gun owners and we need to stop all this disparaging each other and being divided.

        • Another rock-head who doesn’t understand sarcasm which I admit was meant as ridicule.

          Like St Paul I try to be all things to all gun owners. To Fudds I will talk like a Fudd so I convince them that the antis want their guns too. I have made hunters at least thing about it. They are potential allies yet many of the tribe of tacticool and self defense treat them as enemies.

  8. Hidden in these numbers is the massive increase in female gun owners. Think about it, half of all marriages end in divorce. Marriage itself is increasingly rare. There are countless more “households” as a result. 44% is huge, in this light.

  9. Wow! That is a good looking woman…

    No need to white knight and delete my comments – I’m fairly certain she knows men are attracted to her.

  10. Nobody know nothin’about my g ns and I don’t wear NRA hats or goofy t-shirts…and buhbye Karl. You can always “comment” on fakebook.

  11. Right now, in the small semi-rural subdivision I live in. Sandwiched hard against two municipalities that surround us, there are 105 homes. I can say with certainty that there are 300 firearms in those homes. At a minimum. I don’t know how much ammunition, but, if they are at all like me, and many of them are, there are around 50,000 rounds in various calibers and gauges.

    How do I know you ask? We have a core group that have made plans for SHTF. Road blocks, perimeter security, food, medicine.

    If anyone were to ask, there are no guns here. Nope, those things are scary.

    • As I commented to one of my neighbors perhaps a year back: “Wow, for not having any guns you sure have a hell of a lot of guns!”.

  12. Many gun owners, like their guns, are in the closet. The same goes for Trump voters. On November 8th, closet doors all over America will swing open and we will be heard.

    • Trump *can* get elected, if he learns to not act like a whack-job. A tall order, I know.

      He’s back to neck-and-neck in the polls, and that’s *without* a ground game and as campaign.

      I’m convinced the ad campaign isn’t as important as some think it may be this election cycle, the divisions that strong.

      Be seen acting presidential, Mr.Trump, and DON’T BLOW THE DEBATES!

      Do that, and you can win. And make myself and Ralph proud… 🙂

      • Geoff, I find it interesting that you quote the polls as the source of your info in an article questioning the accuracy of polls….

      • Trump has 95 % of the media against him , print , digital and television , no , I mean totally against him , the power of the Democratic party AND the Republican party is against him , many and probably most foreign governments are against him , big money is against him , Buffetts , Soros , Gates , etc. and all the Socialist Progressives in the entire world are against him . Combine these FACTS with the FACT that Hillary Clinton is an absolutely pathetic candidate , most likely a criminal and cannot stop coughing long enough to carry a conversation , Trump could still win . This is the most unbelievable election in my lifetime . Trump is a populace nationalist with his finger to the breeze and NO ONE knows what he will do if elected , and EVERYONE knows exactly what Hillary will do and none of it bodes well for this web site or the people who use it . God save America .

  13. There is an open carry I know of, an older lady, has a collection of 9 410mm x 50, willing to let you touch them for a small fee. She claims size does matter. Claims ammo is sort of hard to find 🙁

  14. I’m telling you right now, the number of gun owning households in Florida is more than 44%. Probably way more. And within that percentage, the total number of firearms, including “assault weapons”, would give Michael Bloomberg explosive diarrhea.

    It’s also depressing as a gun voter. All these numbers and no permitless carry, not even open carry. Fl will probably even go for Hiterly in November. We the sheeple deserve what we get.

    • If Trump loses FL, it will be because of the imported vote coupled with massive vote fraud.

      Yes, vote fraud. Why do you think SCOTUS stopped the so-called “recount” in 2000?

      • “Yes, vote fraud. Why do you think SCOTUS stopped the so-called “recount” in 2000?”

        Something not commonly known about that recount:

        After the election, the major news organizations put together a team to do a recount in Florida.

        Every ballot, in EVERY precinct, was hand-recounted and a consensus of the viewers was reached on the vote on the ballot.

        It took *months* to accomplish. The result? Bush won by over 300 votes.

        That only happened because Florida uses paper ballots (or those damn punch-cards).

        Physical PROOF of the vote on the ballot.

        Be VERY afraid of those pushing hard for electronic voting. THAT is where voter fraud is the future.

        Along with gun rights, stacking SCOTUS with conservatives means we can FINALLY get voter ID laws properly declared constitutional.

        The left screams civil rights for not having ID in the voting booth, yet says NOTHING about civil rights when boarding a commercial airliner…

        • I’m on the local electorial board and the electronic voting is going away by mandate. The voting systems will require a paper trail. The drop dead date is for the 2020 election but we suspect it might be moved up to 2018 based on the upcoming election. After the hanging chads chaos, the Feds paid for new electronic voting machines and most places bought them. This time, it is an unfunded mandate for localities. Our jurisdiction half of ours to be replaced this year and the other half next year. The ones we just ordered appear to be tamperproof as far as we could see and they are not connected electronically. The voter colors in their selections on a paper ballot and it is fed into a machine that counts the votes. The paper ballot goes into a secure location in case a recount is needed. Before the ballot is counted, it alerts the voter if they fail to vote for a position or if they voted for two for the same race. When it detects one or the other, it asks if they are sure and if the answer is yes, it doesn’t count the double vote at all.

        • @Aven

          Knowing that, in your neck of the woods I’d be sure never to leave a blank ballot, but rather to double-vote if I don’t want to vote for either candidate. That way no one can decide during a recount to “help” me vote.

          Failing this. there should be a “none of the above” box in every race, to give someone something to fill in if they don’t care for any candidate. No, I’m not suggesting the cutesy Libertarian “and if none of the above wins no one gets the office [and just how, Numbnuts, would we do with no commander-in-chief for four years?],” I am just wanting to provide security against someone, unbeknownst to you, making a decision on your behalf.

          Later on, perhaps, a victory by “none of the above” could be taken as requiring a do over on that contest with new candidates. Bonus: Also, bar the losers to NOTA (in a race where NOTA wins) from ever holding public office again.

  15. We should have a NRA supported census where you have to declare how many and what kind of guns you have. The Feds can convince the NRA to support it because when it’s found out how many guns there actually are it will prove the NRA’s point that gun ownership is popular and right. Meanwhile, the Feds now have their database, with NRA support.

    • That would be a useless attempt because most of us would not tell anyone about our guns regardless of who supported it. What part of “It’s none of your business” do you not understand?

  16. So, if this latest “poll” from Pew is correct (perish the thought), then, 51,132,880 out of 116,211,092 U.S. households own a gun. The average household size is 2.63 people. This translates to at least 134,479,475 out of 321,418,820 (247,813,910 aged 18 or older) people having access to, if not personally owning, an average of about 3 guns apiece.

    SAUCE: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00

    • You just developed a SWAG on gun ownership. Good as any.

      Who really knows?

      Question is, what should change if only 10,000 people owned guns?, Or 1000? Or 1?

      • “Question is, what should change if only 10,000 people owned guns?, Or 1000? Or 1?”

        Nothing. If only one person in the USA owned a gun their rights would be protected under the Constitution.

  17. I have never, ever answered that I have any firearms to anyone from the census, medical community or anyone else except close friends and family. Call or stop by my house and start asking questions, you will get either a dial tone or a closed door, your pick.

    Now, I subscribe to a variety of gun websites, am a member of the NRA, GOA, NSSF, so if Uncle Same is snooping around they can guess that I do in fact own firearms. This whole thing is nothing but a circle jerk.

  18. An increasing number of households own guns despite the NRA’s best efforts to impose gun control on the American people.

  19. If some stranger calls me and claims to be a pollster, and then asks if I own a gun, I would simply hang up the phone. No discussion, no arguments. Just hang up the phone.

  20. Nobody needs to know whether anyone else owns a gun – or a hammer, a screwdriver, a carving knife or a chainsaw. It’s nobody else’s business. Full stop. End.

    • This is both a right answer, and a wrong answer.

      Answering any question is to the discretion of the person asked. Good enough regards keeping personal matters personal.

      In the political environment we face, we constantly refuse to recognize the enemy is waging war, while we are waging principles. The public is always susceptible to the “bandwagon effect”, where whichever side of the proposition gathers momentum and approval based on popularity (as measured by some sort of counting). Polls are are imprecise, but so is picking stock market winners; the trend is most important. If the trend is presented that more people own guns than do not, more people feel comfortable supporting opportunity for gun ownership. The opposite is true. In the end, we need numbers on our side. The issue is how do we get them, and get the numbers to the widest audience.

      Gun owners may be content to tell every one to push-off regarding gun ownership, but bunkering isn’t going to win it for us.

      • I agree.

        OpSec strikes me as an excuse for those of us who won’t stand up and be counted. I’m 65. born in a small town in Minnesota. From that fact alone you would surmise that I’m a gun owner. I’ve bought guns from FFLs; go find 4473 forms. I buy parts and supplies from Internet vendors.

        There aren’t many of us gun owners who couldn’t be identified as probable – nearly certainly – gun owners.

        If we won’t stand up for ourselves and proudly declare that we are exercising our 2A rights then those on the fence will begin to ask “What are these gun owners so embarrassed about?”

        • The 4473 is a curiosity. The submission of a check is supposed to be just an inquiry, without relation to the purpose. The popular (or government trick) idea is the feds cannot determine if the check is for gun purchase, or not. Somehow, I think they know, or can figure it out quickly. On the one hand, I am all for screwing-up phone surveys, on the other they could be useful to us.

  21. I can not and will not even look my wife in the eyes and tell her how many guns I have, and you expect me to be honest with a stranger asking about how many firearms I may or may not have… hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha(breath)hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

  22. The “fewer guns in America” claim is just a meme. It’s Democrats trying to create a picture of success for Democrat gun control. AND THEY CONTRADICT IT THEMSELVES EVERY TIME THEY TALK ABOUT “EPIDEMIC OF GUN VIOLENCE” AND CLAIM “GUNS ARE EASY TO BUY.”

  23. So, I think I get this guy’s point. To paraphrase…

    “I could get what I want, if only somebody else will reorder the world around me, this particular way.” Well, actually, he’s more right than most political posturing. He could maybe fix his flat feet, if somebody “fixed” gravity. He’s even correct that “fixing” gravity is the hard part.

    He’s also wrong, blatantly wrong, in the usual ways…

    – Someone else needs to do a big thing, to enable his little thing.

    These people are paper mache sculpture kids, crying “Mommy, look what *I* did.”, sitting before the sheets n glue they just took n used, on a work table they did not make, occupying a house they don’t even see. So proud. The “soup from a stone” guy was a con man.

    – What else happens when they get their way?

    Cars got more efficient, then people started driving bigger ones. So, the Feebs sop up the gun flood, then what? Somebody “fixes” gravity, n we find out whether the world sucks enough to keep us on it, I guess.

    – How to do the other stuff is not their problem. Hey, we’ll declare a minimum ethanol blend, n someone else has to make that so. But, the declaring types are the smart ones. Got it.

    – Consequences n costs? What’s it gonna take to do that? And what else happens?

    The citizens there need to clear up their thinking. Politi-critter’s job is to do some good in the world as it is. If all he can do is demand someone else fix the world, so his stuff works, why does anyone need him?

  24. When I see a headline like, “New poll shows..” my mind automatically translates it to “BS poll proves nothing.”
    ALL polls are nonsense.

    • Yeah I feel that way too most times. A good pollster can tell you lots, but it’s hard to remain unbiased, especially in these crazy partisan times.

  25. Yeah most people won’t even talk to people they know about what guns they own. It’s just not polite to do. At least here in the South.

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