Share of Homes With Guns Shows 4-Decade Decline the front page of the New York Times proclaims. I’ll leave it to more statistically-minded members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia to dissect the General Social Survey’s methodology. Suffice it to say, it’s entirely possible that the number of respondents admitting that they have a firearm in their home may be declining—especially over the last year. By the Times’ own admission, “Gallup, which asks a similar question but has a different survey design, shows a higher ownership rate and a more moderate decrease.” Here’s the thing about that . . .
If we head over to gallup.com (the Times somehow forgot to link) we discover that they interviewed three times as many people (6k) and came up with the same number. Only Gallup says . . .
Across those six data sets, an average of 30% of Americans said they personally own a gun. Another 14% did not personally own a gun but live in a household with someone who does.
I don’t know how much overlap exists between the two data sets, but I make that a lot closer to 50 percent that General Social Survey’s 34 percent. And another thing. The Times says . . .
The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 49 percent in the 1980s, 43 percent in the 1990s and 35 percent in the 2000s, according to the survey data, analyzed by The New York Times.
In 2012, the share of American households with guns was 34 percent, according to survey results released on Thursday. Researchers said the difference compared with 2010, when the rate was 32 percent, was not statistically significant.
Wait. That means that the survey reveals a two percent increase in the last three years. Equally interesting, the man behind the General Social Survey points out that there’s only one way to get an accurate picture of American gun ownership:
Tom W. Smith, the director of the General Social Survey . . . acknowledged the rise in background checks, but said it was impossible to tell how many were for new gun owners. The checks are reported as one total that includes, for example, people buying their second or third gun, as well as those renewing concealed carry permits.
“If there was a national registry that recorded all firearm purchases, we’d have a full picture,” he said. “But there’s not, so we’ve got to put together pieces.”
Absent that particular Constitutional abuse, the Times turns to Dr. Daniel Webster director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research for analysis of the [alleged] trend of declining gun ownership.
Somehow the Times forgets to mention that it’s the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center for Gun Policy and Research [emphasis added]. As in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire backer of the Mayors Against
Gun Ownership Ilegal Guns.
Urbanization also helped drive the decline. Rural areas, where gun ownership is the highest, are now home to about 17 percent of Americans, down from 27 percent in the 1970s. According to the survey, just 23 percent of households in cities owned guns in the 2000s, compared with 56 percent of households in rural areas. That was down from 70 percent of rural households in the 1970s.
So the places where it’s hardest for Americans to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms is the place where gun ownership rates are low. Who’d-a thunk it? Provided we’re talking about legal guns.
The country’s changing demographics may also play a role. While the rate of gun ownership among women has remained relatively constant over the years at about 10 percent, which is less than one-third of the rate among men today, more women are heading households without men, another possible contributor to the decline in household gun ownership. Women living in households where there were guns that were not their own declined to a fifth in 2012 down from a third in 1980.
So there are more households than before, which would dilute the percentage of gun ownership. Got it.
The increase of Hispanics as a share of the American population is also probably having an effect, as they are far less likely to own guns. In the survey results since 2000, about 14 percent of Hispanics reported having a gun in their house.
What are the odds that Hispanics are FAR less likely to report a gun in their home than Anglos?
Anyway, we’ve been saying it since we began: the more Americans who own guns, the safer all of our gun rights will be. The NRA and others should take their cue from Mr. Leghorn and get newbies on the range.