Gun owners in the United States continue to cite protection far more than other factors, including hunting and sport shooting, as a major reason they own a gun.
And while a sizable majority of gun owners (71%) say they enjoy having a gun, an even larger share (81%) say they feel safer owning a gun.
A Pew Research Center survey, conducted June 5-11 among 5,115 members of the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, finds:
72% of U.S. gun owners say protection is a major reason they own a gun. That far surpasses the shares of gun owners who cite other reasons.
This view has changed only modestly since the Center’s major survey of attitudes toward gun ownership and gun policies in 2017. At that time, 67% of gun owners cited protection as a major reason they owned a firearm.
The demographics of gun ownership have changed little in recent years. Gun ownership is far more common among residents of rural areas (47%) than among people living in suburbs (30%) or urban areas (20%). Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (45%) are far more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners (20%) to report owning a gun.
Few gun owners worry about having a gun in their home. Just 12% of gun owners say they worry about having guns in their home; 88% say they do not.
Sizable majorities say owning a gun makes them feel safer and gives them a feeling of enjoyment.
— Pew Research in For Most U.S. Gun Owners, Protection Is the Main Reason They Own a Gun