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There’s a new trend in anti-gun land: marginalize gun owners. Pretend they’re not important. The trend started with data unleashed by Gallup and the General Social Survey that supposedly revealed declining American gun ownership. This despite a steady, relentless increase in the number of FBI background checks needed to purchase a gun or (in most states) obtain a concealed carry license over the last five years. Despite the fact that gun manufacturers were—and still are—struggling to meet surging demand. Here’s the chart and how the LA Times spun the numbers back in July . . .

“The major point is that the American ‘culture of gun ownership” that one often hears about has been strikingly on the wane for the past generation. A similar decline has taken place in the number of Americans who hunt, now about 5% of the population.

Huh. Just yesterday, the National Shooting Sports Federation (NSSF) reported that “the participation and economic data [for hunting and fishing], released in August by the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service shows a 9 percent increase in hunters and an 11 percent increase in anglers compared to the 2006 survey.”

To be fair, writer David Lauter almost makes the connection between more guns and less crime (he gets it exactly backwards) and almost highlights the reason the study can’t be trusted (other than a mountain of contradictory data):

Of course, hardened criminals aren’t likely to respond to the GSS survey, so there’s probably some under-reporting going on. But that was true 30 or 40 years ago, too, and isn’t likely to have affected the overall trend.

In fact, Americans don’t like to tell strangers about their guns. Not just the ones who consider government the greatest threat to individual liberty (i.e. those afraid of firearms confiscation). Gun owners who understand that discretion is the better part of valor.

Again, it’s the FBI pre-purchase, pre-permit NICS checks that gives us the clearest, most objective measure of American gun ownership. They’re up 46 percent in the last eleven years.

Could the number of American gun owners be shrinking while the ones who remain are buying more guns and applying for concealed carry licenses? It could. But as there is no “official” gun registry there is no definitive data on the question. Relying on an opinion poll to form an opinion is, in my opinion, overly opinionated.

Anyway, left-leaning media mavens have taken the meme—gun ownership is declining!—and run with it. Our old pal Dan Baum,,, etc. would have you believe that TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia are a dying breed.

As summer turns to fall, the anti-gunners are moving on (dot org) to why this [alleged] decline in firearms ownership is happening.

Notice I used the NSSF’s regional chart. That’s cause NPR went straight to the middle of what they perceive to be gun territory (at least in their world view). Texas! Smoke Cleared, Texas Gun Owners Remain Wary concedes defeat to the rise of gun rights, but not before sounding the death knell for American gun culture. Again. Still.

East Texas has changed in Campbell’s lifetime. Quite simply, what used to be vast tracks of empty land has filled up with people. The wilds where hunters once roamed now sport tract housing and double wides. It’s a big reason gun ownership is declining in America — down 40 percent since 1977 . . .

Texas was once the center of the movement to safeguard gun rights. Today, nearly every fight has been won in the state, and indeed around the country.

While gun owners in East Texas appreciate their rights, many remain wary.

Which is NPR’s polite way of saying that a bunch of ignorant maybe even insane rednecks have won the day on gun control.

It would be difficult to overstate the level of distrust East Texas gun owners have for the Obama administration. Campbell doesn’t trust the president, either, but even he is taken aback sometimes.

“I have friends who don’t order two or three boxes of shells — they order them by the thousands. And it’s like, ‘What are you getting ready for?’ ” Campbell says.

Although Campbell isn’t preparing for a possible invasion by U.N. troops, he shares the sentiments about the president.

“He’s done these things with the health bill. He will do these things with the U.N. treaties to take our guns away from us,” Campbell says.

Paranoia plays on NPR. Big style. And what publicly-funded radio report that includes guns and rednecks is complete without playing the race card?

As for any willingness to compromise on something like limiting the size of ammunition clips, Campbell says if Democrats could be trusted not to ask for more and more, he’d consider it. But he says you can’t trust Democrats in general, and you certainly can’t trust Obama. And he says liberals mistake gun owners’ enmity toward the president for something it’s not.

“It’s not a black thing, it’s a liberal thing,” Campbell says.

As for the mass murders that take place in this country seemingly like clockwork, what is a ridiculous cliche to many urban Americans is bedrock truth here in East Texas: “Guns don’t kill people — people kill people.” And, the thinking goes, if there were more law-abiding Americans carrying concealed handguns, the psycho murderers could be shot before they did more damage.

If you need convincing, Christian and Campbell can tell you stories until the cows come home about how the bad guys got stopped in their tracks. The NRA shares these tales of successful self-defense with their membership like sweet candy. There’s no disputing its organizational success. The push for gun control in this country is deader than Campbell’s hogs.

Wow. Condescend much? Yes. Yes they do. But NPR can’t change the fact that gun rights rule the day. All they can do is play pin the tail on the dumb ass. Who is a lot closer than they’d ever imagine.

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  1. Gun ownership is on the rise? Good. It’s nice to have company.

    Gun ownership is on the decline? Well, I guess I’m special, then. 😉

    Either way, “shall not be infringed” means the same thing.

  2. Went to the Fredrickburg, VA gunshot last weekend. I’d never seen ammo and guns leave the show in such numbers. No science here but to the casual observer, me, it seemed everyone was leaving with a new box and a bag of ammo. At several tables, I looked at “the last one”. In fact I bought the “last one” Bushmaster M4 clone (model specific) at one dealer who said they were having a “banner day”. And that was Saturday afternoon. I am guessing by Sunday, the selection was even thinner.

    I personally know 5 people who’ve bought their first gun this year because I helped them. My sons who are coming of age, both bought their first rifles this year too (with a little $ help from Dad).

    • Texas here! Austin to be specific. Just bought my first AR a month ago. At work there has been more talk about new firearms ownership then ever, amongst both those I would consider liberal leaning and not. In fact I would say the topic has actually brought those people closer to a mutual center.

      • Exactly Billy, my wife is friends with a woman whose husband I now have to hang out with on occasion. Bad thing is he’s a lefty, good thing is he’s a gun nut. So whenever the political discussion gets too heated, I switch the subject to my new “what-ever-gun” I just bought or need to have. Viola instant peace and harmony.

  3. Here in Texas declining ownership is far from the truth. I know I personally have converted 3 anti’s to either gun owners or people who enjoy going to the range.
    Heck a my high school even had a gun saftey/hunters Ed class (the teacher is retired now so I don’t know if they still do it)

  4. “I have friends who don’t order two or three boxes of shells — they order them by the thousands. And it’s like, ‘What are you getting ready for?’ ” Campbell says.

    It’s not anything particularly strange. In the last 10 years or so, the price of ammo has basically doubled, and you get a better price if you order by the case. Saving money is not something that is difficult to understand.

  5. I’ve only ever responded once to one of those phone surveys. I remember it wasn’t about guns but it’s been long enough ago now that I honestly don’t remember what the exact theme was.

    Anyway, I was feeling ornery that day and just for shits and giggles I came up with the most off the wall answers I could. The person taking the survey diligently copied my answers down and if they were aware that I was shining them on they didn’t show it.

    • +1. I believe it is my moral duty to lie to pollsters. If we mess up their numbers enough, their polls will eventually be recognized as trash. (Actually, with a hang-up rate approaching 90%, the polls are trash now.)

      Maybe, with enough people lying to pollsters, the politicians will have to start telling us what they really believe instead of what they think we want to hear. This is the same reason to put “human” or “mixed race” in the “what race” question of the Census.

      Actually, the only thing these “numbers of gunowners” polls show is the numbers of gunowners naive or stupid enough to tell a stranger, on the phone, that they own guns. The decline (from 55% of households ADMITTING to gun ownership in 1980, down to 35% today) is more a reflection of the declining trust in pollsters than the ownership of guns.

    • IF they weren’t writing down “preferred” answers instead of your response. Unfortunately not all surveys are on the up and up and will revise your answer, or give you one if you don’t answer.

    • This could be monumentally significant. People started using answering machines in the 1970s. Then Caller ID became available around 1990. These days I cannot imagine any person whose phone doesn’t have voice mail and Caller ID. And why is that so significant? As answering machines and Caller ID proliferated, so did people screening calls like the examples of Greg Camp and Moonshine7102.

      So how would that explain data that says fewer and fewer people own guns over the years? I can easily argue that many gun owners are a little more cautious about strangers than the rest of the population, which is one of the reasons they have guns. Well if gun owners are a little more cautious about strangers, that applies to strangers who call them on the phone as well. That means people who have guns are less likely to answer calls from strangers who are calling to ask if they have guns!!!

      If my simple premise is true, the very survey itself is biased against people who are a little more cautious than the rest of the public. In other words the trend in the graph doesn’t tell us that fewer people own guns, it tells us that fewer people who own guns answer calls from strangers!

  6. Every gun show I’ve attended since Obama’s been president has been crazy busy. Big one in Tampa, small one in Ocala—all so packed it’s difficult to walk, and lots of people buying guns and ammunition.

    They were this busy during the Clinton administration, too.

    Then again, they were busy when W was president, too.

    I think people in Florida like to buy guns.

  7. NPR does its lefty propaganda thing with our tax money. Ain’t that great?

    Why is the Federal government in the TV and radio business? C’mon, you already know the answer.

    • NPR gets about 10% of its funding from guvment. Cut it. It will survive because of listeners like me. And as far as being “lefty”, multiple studies have shown it is the least bias of news networks. It is still bias, everything is. Bullshit meters need to be up to date whenever you listen to any news organization, this article including

      • NPR will fail utterly, thier programing is Stateist, the Nature Shows are available on the Net and Cable (with the original voice over) The BBC has it’s own US network. NPR and PBR are both commie fronts.

    • NPR gets about 10% of its funding from guvment. Cut it. It will survive because of listeners like me. And as far as being “lefty”, multiple studies have shown it is the least bias of news networks. It is still bias, everything is. Bullshit meters need to be up to date whenever you listen to any news organization.

      • Oops. Double post. It said publication failed. My bad.

        No, they weren’t. Like I said, multiple studies have confirmed that. ill post my sources after work. With that being said, oh ma gawd, Democracy Now is absolutely unbearably liberal. its like MSNBC condensed into one hour.

    • “As for the mass murders that take place in this country seemingly like clockwork, …”

      Notice how federalism encourages us to consider people from other states as somehow being relevant to local political issues. Mass killing in state A is somehow politically relevant to voters in states B through Z.

      • The ones who benefit from this situation are the usurpers of government authority, their agents and the like-minded, but usually less empowered, mass murderers.

        • Furthermore, federalism removes property rights from any consideration of what is the proper role of the government. Following a mass murder event in, for example, New York, residents of the 49 other states must now live the rest of their lives as though they were the victims. This notwithstanding the fact that their property was not in any way involved in the incident. Thus government’s presumably valid role in protecting citizens’ property rights is abandoned by politicians, their supporters, etc., in favor of a model where government’s only real goal is to expand the scope its own authority and wealth.

  8. Yeah, like most of us are going to say “Why, yes, we own several guns” to some unknown person on the phone. Who probably has our address, which is laughably easy to obtain for less than $20 through multiple web sites. What the article should be called was “despite a sharp decline in admitted gun ownership, the number of Federal background checks condducted indicate a dramatic increase in gun ownership.”

  9. LA Times? NPR?

    The very idea that anyone assigns any credibility whatsoever to such sources is downright hilarious.

    Next they’ll be telling us CNN is doing great, because all anyone really needs is five viewers, four of which are asleep.

  10. Why is nobody pointing to the obvious denominator “household” in debunking this. As the divorce rate has soared in the last few decades, we’re creating more households. The same phenomenon is playing havoc with income statistics and economists are wise to it but, of course, the media are not. When a man an a woman are married and live together, they constitute a household. When they divorce, they are now two households. If they owned a gun, upon divorce their own little gun per household ratio is halved from 1:1 to 1:2. Multiply that by tens of millions of divorces and also young men and women waiting longer to form households, and you have a huge increase in households. It is households that is increased, not gun ownership that is decreasing.

    • Ooohhh. This plus my comment above will totally wreck the claims that fewer people own guns today than in the 1970s.

      For anyone who didn’t see or read my whole entry, I argued that gun owners — many of whom are a little more weary of strangers than the rest of the population — are just as weary about strangers calling them on their phone. So the graph shows us that gun owners are screening more and more calls from strangers who are calling to ask if they have guns! (Answering machines, voice mail, and Caller ID are technologies that have advanced to the point today that almost everyone screens nearly 100% of their calls.)

      Mr. Farago: I think we have to make a big deal about this. Seriously.

    • My thoughts as well….

      Daughter murdered….her children living with father and new mother….minus 1

      Wife passed and I remarried….minus 2

      Obama economy sucks so son and his two sons live with me…minus 3

      So, unlike the 70’s and previous where this arrangement was rare instead of commonplace the definition of family/household has changed.

      My real complaint is all the accessories available for the guns I have! That wasn’t an option in the past. BTW, EOTechs are the shEts! Me likes!….That is the price of ONE good gun….statistics lie….

  11. Looks to me like two separate statistics. One claims the number of households owning guns is dropping, one claims the number of guns bought is increasing. A simple reconciliation is that those households with guns have more guns than before.

    Another factor is that weasel word “households”. Just as with the claims that household income inequality is rising, it doesn’t take into account that households are changing. Single people marry later or not at all, and divorced people remarry later or not at all. Old folks live by themselves more often, meaning after one dies, the other is more likely to remain single than live in a child’s household. All of this splits the statistics. Whereas one income used to suffice for an entire family, now it takes two incomes, and much of the time, those two incomes are in separate households, thus dropping the average. Ditto for guns — if one person in a household owned a gun, that was 100%, but when the marriage dissolves, that’s 50%.

  12. The concept of ‘Households’ in America has radically changed as have government restrictions since early ’70s. Back in the early ’70s most homes probably had the mother, father, and kids combination. Dad was usually the gun owner. Now we have most kids living and growing up with the single-mother household. Many more people are ex-cons and can’t own guns (legally), been truthfully or not accused of domestic violence (can’t own guns), etc. Today’s urban areas such as Chicago, Washington DC, and NYC make it difficult to own guns reducing gun ownership. About one-third of Americans are now immigrants having been born and raised elsewhere often in lands that limited or banned guns. They are often therefore not (yet) gun owners. Though many of their kids will be gun owners. Financially, many adults (not in an intimate relationship) are now living together because of the economy so that might also be affecting how household is being defined. Bottom line: comparisons to the early 1970s are not clear and precise.

  13. There’s no doubt, from ATF and NSSF data that gun sales are exploding. Now the question is to what degree are new / first time gun owners vs. existing gun owners contributing to that trend. To my knowledge, the ATF does not release data on first-time NICS applicants. While a NICS app doesn’t necessarily mean a corresponding gun sale, that information would add perspective.

  14. Why does it even matter? Despite what antis may wish, Constitutional rights are not dependent on popular whims and participation numbers. Not to mention they’re flat out wrong in this instance, as always.

    • It doesn’t. But the antis are desperate for something, anything that will help their argument. As pathetic as an attempt as this is, I see it all of the time on popular anti blogs.

    • Not as long as there is at least a half dozen people out there still owning guns and ammunition. The fanaticism is unbelievable with ones like Sen. Chuck Shumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

  15. They’re utterly wrong about the Gallup poll, it shows that gun ownership and pro-2nd Amendment views are at their highest in around 40 years.

    The problem is that anti-gunners deliberately use outdated polls. I’ve seen them pop up on other forums claiming that there aren’t that many gun owners and if you follow their links, they’re using Gallup polls from a decade ago, whereas the most recent one (October 2011) shows that 47% of homes have at least one gun, 46% of men own at least one gun, and 23% of women own at least one gun.

  16. “East Texas has changed in Campbell’s lifetime. Quite simply, what used to be vast tracks [sic] of empty land has filled up with people. ”

    Pretty sure that should be “tracts”

    • I find Dave Workman’s series on Washington’s continuing CPL boom interesting. The state has added 32,000 new permit holders over the last year, just under half a percent of the state’s total population. As of now, just over 5.5% of the state has a permit.

  17. The typical script of a pollster calling the Dyspeptic Household:

    Ring, ring, ring.

    DG: “Hello?”

    “(female voice) Good evening, sir, I’m calling from the Nosy Buttsniffing Pollster Company. May I ask you some questions?”

    DG: “Certainly.”

    “Female Pollster(FP): Are you registered Democrat or Republican?”

    DG: “Why, I have no idea.”

    FP: “But you voted in the last ‘n’ elections…”

    DG: “Did I now? Is that illegal?”

    FP, somewhat confused: “Uh, NO sir… if I could just get a party affiliation from you…”

    DG: “You’d like to party? Wow. We’ve only just met. OK, I’m open minded!”

    FP: (flustered) “NO sir, I’d like to get your party affiliation – which political party do you belong to?”

    DG: “Oh, I guess the Republican Party. Whichever bunch of idiots freed the slaves…”

    FP: “…?!?”

    DG: “I have a question for you, young lady…”

    FP: “Yes sir?”

    DG: (dropping voice to the tenor of Barry White): “What are you wearing?”

    Mrs DG, on other side of room: Eye-roll, followed by a heavy sigh… “here we go again… they’re so stupid, they never learn, they just egg the man on…”

    FP: “Uh, sir, I’d like to get through this survey if we could…”

    DG: (now having assumed the suave tone of a 70’s R&B singer): “Sure, baby. I’ll just put on some music, light a couple of candles and we’ll get all down and dirty with some statistics. You wanna do some of that smutty analysis of variance stuff with me?”

    FP: (click)

    Mrs DG: “You’re losing your touch. She was off the phone in under 90 seconds.”

    DG: “Sigh, I know. Getting old sucks.”

  18. “The trend started with data unleashed by Gallup and the General Social Survey that supposedly revealed declining American gun ownership. This despite a steady, relentless increase in the number of FBI background checks needed to purchase a gun or (in most states) obtain a concealed carry license over the last five years. Despite the fact that gun manufacturers were—and still are—struggling to meet surging demand.”

    None of those things actually invalidates the claim regarding overall gun ownership trends.

    Most gun owners own multiple firearms. It’s not like every gun sold or carry permit issued represents a new gun owner. I’ve only been a gun owner since 2006, and I currently have five guns and have parted ways with three others that I’ve acquired over the same time frame.

    Gun owners who previously might have only had a hunting rifle, home defense shotgun, or a 22LR plinker are increasingly purchasing handguns and obtaining concealed carry licenses.

    It’s entirely possible for gun sales and carry permits to surge, while the actual population of gun owners remains more or less the same.

    • Possible, but unlikely, IMHO. Another fact that is not mentioned are the eight million CCW holders, whose gun purchases do not show up in NICS, because no NICS check is required.

  19. Why should this surprise anyone? Democrats in general call black white, up down, hot cold, etc.

    They are delusional, pathological LIARS. (No offense to those who still believe themselves to be Democrats, but now really aren’t. This ain’t your grandpa’s Democrat Party, folks.)

    They must be crushed at all costs, every time they open their lying, disgusting mouths.

  20. Well I could see that decline though the 90’s how many new gun laws were passed though the 80 and 90’s? How many area’s become hostel to gun ownership? Let face it I owned 30/30 for the last 20 years I bought it when I lived in central PA. The sold them at the local dept store where I lived and the cost was under $200. Then I moved down to Maryland and the cost were greater and the places I could actually shot were less so guess what I didn’t by another one for then next 20 years. The Woollard Case made news in Maryland although the process isn’t finished it looks good for increase Gun rights and guess what there is renewed interest. I have already been out to a few ranges shootting rented guns getting a feel for what I want to buy. My mother is thinking about going out to the range as well. She would be a new gun owner.


  21. The declining percentage would mean something if the population stayed the same. But it instead increased from 212 million to 310 million. Oh those pesky facts.

  22. When does the madness stop?

    The anti-gun liberals will try anything to win this election, including saying we have won when it is yet to be decided. They do not want you to vote and are throwing everything they have into convincing you to not vote!

    I’ll believe it when they stop preventing National Concealed Carry amongst other attacks against the Constitution.


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