Poll: Americans Concerned About Self-Defense, Oppose Weapons and Magazine Bans

ar flag ar-15


By Larry Keane

America’s rifle – the modern sporting rifle – is growing in popularity.

That fact only follows logic, as lawful firearm ownership in America is on the rise through the COVID-19 pandemic and further propelled by heightened social unrest, uncertainty and acts of criminal violence. There are an estimated 2.5 million new gun owners in recent months, and that’s why the National Shooting Sports Foundation, as the firearm industry’s trade association, has been working to ensure all gun owners are aware of the fundamental rules for safe and responsible firearm use and storage.

We also wanted to understand America’s feeling about modern sporting rifles (MSR), the semiautomatic rifles that are popular with recreational shooting, hunting and increasingly used for self-defense. There are nearly 18 million of these rifles in circulation and they’re proving to be the most popular selling centerfire rifle on the market.

A recent NSSF survey of registered voters in 18 key states showed that most voters, 56 percent, see self-defense and home-defense as the most common reason for someone to own a gun. Considering about one-third of the respondents reported feeling less safe in their homes and communities, the current firearm purchasing increase is not surprising. In fact, over a third of voters have become more supportive of the rights to keep and bear arms because of the current environment.

Reason for Gun Ownership

What does this mean for the perennial debate over banning semiautomatic rifles like MSRs? According to the survey results, a majority of voters in these states oppose a so-called “assault weapon” ban, which would outlaw the popular MSRs based solely on the cosmetic features of the firearm. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents acknowledge that a ban on MSRs would not be effective for reducing crime in their communities.

Voters Oppose a Ban on Semi-Automatic Rifles

Voters were also asked about their opinion on the proposals to limit the capacity of ammunition magazines. Most respondents believe that a magazine capacity limit would have “no impact at all” on reducing criminal violence or that it may increase crime. About 54 percent agree that citizens with a lawfully owned firearm should be able to choose the type and amount of ammunition they use.

With an eye on the upcoming elections, candidates should know that nearly three-quarters of voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports gun safety and education programs. This holds true across partisan divides and without regard to gun ownership.

Voters Support Gun Safety and Education Programs

The collective impression that can be made with voters’ voices in this study is clear: American citizens want to be able to choose the manner by which they protect themselves and their families. These results run counter to the soundbites from gun control groups which downplay the value Americans place on semiautomatic firearms, including MSRs. Americans want the ability to effectively protect themselves and their families in these uncertain times with the firearm of their choice.

The sample size for the survey is 800 likely voters in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, and the margin of error is +/-3.5% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that if this survey were repeated, results would not vary from the population by more than 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20. Responses were gathered via landline and cell phone interviews conducted with live operators at a professional call center. Demographics were adjusted to reflect the population from which the sample was drawn. The survey was conducted June 23 – 28, 2020 by Harper Polling. The total percentages of responses may not equal 100% due to rounding.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


  1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    “56 percent, see self-defense and home-defense as the most common reason for someone to own a gun.”

    As your natural/God given civil right it should rank highest as ones birthright

    Perhaps the NSSF will take their own poll to heart and end the collaboration with civilian disarmament proponents in the infringement of Americans birthright.

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    Can’t wait to see the confiscation plans. Should be interesting to say the least.

    1. avatar edward kenway says:

      Organized and brought to you by the goat ropers who liked the Green New Deal and COVID tracing idea.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Please never mention covid contact tracers again.

  3. avatar enuf says:

    Ruger 10/22 remains my most favorite, all time preferred firearm. Have worn out more magazines on that gun than any other.

    AR-15’s are a lot of fun too and bring many advantages. Especially for teaching young person’s on centerfire, semi-auto long guns. Low recoil and low cost, light weight, excellent for the next training step after a bolt action.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      Its a whole lot easier to carry 1000 rounds of 22 than 1000 of 5.56mm. And I have two 10/22’s and an AR-15. But sadly my bump stock was lost in a boating accident.

      1. avatar Phud Elmore says:

        That’s a good thing. I lost two by giving them to a friend. Really. Because they are foolish, ammo-wasting toys in addition to wrongly unlawful. I bought the two when I felt the right slipping away. Reflex, and it cost me.

        1. avatar doesky2 says:

          Yeah….totally uncontrollable….uh huh

        2. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

          Doesky>> I don’t consider shooting all over into a berm controllable.

          By controllable, I mean that consistently hitting center mass or head shots on man sized silhouette targets faster than I can with a standard semi auto.

          The recoil rail with a bipod that I had on my slide fire rifle went a long way in improving hits but still does not compare to a real FA.

        3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          to Cooter E Lee
          “The recoil rail with a bipod that I had on my slide fire rifle went a long way in improving hits but still does not compare to a real FA”

          The Bump stock is not a full auto weapon. It does however perform very similarly to a real FA. Unfortunately the legal owners were not given the time necessary to develop training programs to actually see just how accurate they could be.

          Having trained with machine guns while I was in the army. I saw this as a real less expensive alternate. Have you trained with machine guns? Based on the uneducated public reaction to bump stocks, I’d say most people don’t know how to employ MG’s. And don’t understand that they are not “bolt action rifle” accurate. ie sub MOA or 1 MOA.

          If I remember correctly less than 80 died from being shot by the bump stock equipped AR-15’s at Mandalay Bay. Most of the 500 who were injured, were not shot at all. But were hurt in the panic, trying to get under cover.

          The Thompson sub-machine was marketed to large land owners who might face a mob of cattle rustlers. Like the McCloskeys in St Louis Mo. Large land owners who faced a mob of a couple of hundred criminals. Auto Ordnance had no military sales for 20 years, before WW2. They did very well with just civilian MG sales.

          Besides its our right to own any Arm we choose. Civilians really do have a need to repel a mass attack. And since organized mobs are burning cities to the ground I’d say that need is real in 2020.

          I understand what I’ve said makes some people nervous. However the 2A is not about hunting. And when the current local governments have reverted to tyranny. By using mobs to get what they want from innocent city residence. Then having a low cost alternative to real machine guns is just what the Founders had in mind.

          And anyone can find out if Obama sent machine guns and grenade launchers to your local city or county law enforcement agencies. Its all on the internet.
          I personally want to have better firepower than the cops have. And historically in the USA. Civilians have always had better weapons than the police or military.

          It kept us a free people that way.

        4. avatar doesky2 says:

          Cooter…”By controllable, I mean that consistently hitting center mass or head shots”

          I’d wager that most LMG’s over the past 100 years were NOT designed to the criteria that you just stated while in FA mode.

        5. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

          My comment wasn’t very well thought out or expressed.

          What I am trying to say is that bump stocks will not typically score more hits in a given period of time. They are not some magic laser gun where 30 bullets fired = 30 kill shots. Neither are real machine guns for that matter, but bump stocks are much harder to get and stay on target due to the reciprocating motion of the firearm and the necessity of holding it a certain way to reliably cycle multiple rounds.

          I agree that FA machine guns (and bump stocks) can be deployed tactically and it is our birthright as Americans to own them.

      2. avatar c says:

        Bump stocks are a waist for self defense. What do you want, 3 bullets in one person or 3 bullets in 3 persons coming at you to hurt you. What would put fear in them would be a bump stock with phospherous tracer rounds. Shot them in the army, totally bad ass, if the bullet doesn’t kill you the phophorous burns right through you to the soles of your feet.

        1. avatar Void says:

          New here?

  4. avatar Asdf says:

    I’m more concerned what percentile of that 56% wants to keep their arms by voting red?

    1. avatar Delta795 says:

      We will only keep our right to keep firearms until the 0.1% decides they are no longer willing to allow it to continue. Voting red after that will only accelerate that effort. We’d be much better off educating progressives about how their rights and liberties are guaranteed and strengthened through responsible firearms ownership.

      1. avatar c says:

        They really do not think like you, they are unable to think logically. Until they can think with logic and not feelings you are out of luck.

  5. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Bitterly clinging, that’s me.

  6. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    BuT, buT, BIden Is LEadINg in tHe POlls!

    So, either the presidential polls are misleading, this one is, or both are.

    Or people who vote Democrat don’t understand what Democrats want to do with guns.

    It’s probably the latter, given the anecdotal stories about “new gun owners” and how upset they are at how gun laws delay their acquisition of a firearm.

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      Voters are largely oblivious.
      Remember all the offended Democrat voters during the last VA election who had no clue it was Northam in that picture? Somehow in the age of Twitter, Facebook and the 24 hour newscycle most people are still totally dumbfounded that there exists a world out here.

      The truly awful thing is those morons who do go vote think they’re the informed ones because they bother to cast a ballot. I can’t count how many times I’ve had the “I didn’t know voting was today/here” conversation in line with these idiots. When asked what day Thanksgiving is on they’d respond with “I think it’s on a Thursday this year.”

      1. avatar Dude says:

        “Somehow in the age of Twitter, Facebook and the 24 hour newscycle most people are still totally dumbfounded that there exists a world out here.”

        They still have no clue that Obama built those cages to detain illegals, and Obama deported more people than Trump has. Democrat voters are an ignorant bunch thanks to the confirmation bias media they consume.

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Correct,remember when Hellary had it all sewed up in the polls,however she still blames her loss on everything under the sun rather than she’s a corrupt miserable witch who Americans wouldn’t vote for.
      Oh yeah Shotgun Joe Braindead’s a shoe in.

    3. avatar c says:

      1 + 1 =2 to a logical person. 1 + 1 = what ever I think it should equal to a liberal. Do you see the problem now?

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Accounting 101: How much is 1+1? Answer: Whatever the boss wants it to be.

  7. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    I am a bit surprised that Team Joe would risk losing votes by continuing to publicize the ban part of his platform. He he joyfully outright lies about other things, why not wait until after the election to emphasize that? Surely he knows that he already has the votes of those that require the ban from him. Sure he is mentally challenged but he has paid campaign strategists that are good at their job, no?

    1. avatar Ing says:

      So one would think. Personally, I think they’re simply counting on hatred of Trump to carry the whole thing; they’re all-in on whatever makes them look like the polar opposite of the Bad Man.

      1. avatar Dude says:

        That’s it. They think they’re going to ride a wave of hatred and division into power. The virus is his fault. Nancy is calling it the Trump Virus. They’re trying to blame the virus related bad economy on Trump. They’re blaming the civil unrest on Trump. They know their voters are too ignorant to realize that the Left has been cheering on the lock downs and the mostly peaceful rioters. As stated above, they can get away with this because they control 90% of the Trump hating media.

        1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          “They think they’re going to ride a wave of hatred and division into power.”

          It worked for Trump in 2016, you know. A sizable part of his win was people’s hatred of Hillary.

          The Leftists are *pissed*. Angry people show up to vote. We used that kind of anger to neuter Obama in the mid-term of his first run. That very well could push them to victory this time.

          So make those purchases now, instead of later…

        2. avatar jwm says:

          I don’t think Trump rode a wave of anger into the oval office. I think he rode a wave of ‘enough of the same old bullshit’ into office.

    2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      People who are filled with hatred also can’t see the truth.

      1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        That’s debatable. We were so enraged after ObamaCare was rammed down our throats that we turned the House to our control, and Obama was effectively neutered for the rest of his presidency.

        They can do the same to us in November…

  8. avatar Dude says:

    Guys, this doesn’t mean these people won’t vote for Joe Biden. Our very own Miner49er, who seems to agree with 99% of Left wing positions and politics, is against AR confiscation and magazine limits. Yet, he will be voting for Slow Joe, or at least vote against Trump.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      He’s only for ar 15 and standard cap mags if they are in the right hands. He supports red flag laws, ubc’s, etc.

      He is not a 2a supporter. He’s an arm the antifa and blm supporter.

  9. avatar CharlieKing1 says:

    Well, this is a bit of positive news…however, if they want to keep their arms, then don’t vote for Slow Joe. Kind of have to agree from some of the above comments, some of these folks don’t know who they’re voting for or what day Thanksgiving falls on…

  10. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    From Redwood city California. The Left just “F”‘ed up really bad. I look forward to being able to paint: “The 2nd Amendment is for Everyone” or “Abortion is murder” or “Trump 2020”. And you can paint “Being gay is great”, or “Jesus Christ is King”. What ever floats your boat.
    Public streets are now a public advertising space. The more speech the better I say.
    And all painted at tax pay expense. And guarded by the local police. All thanks to a republican lawyer. A very smart hot chick!

    I remember being told as a kid back in the 1970’s, the answer to the speech of the KKK was more speech. And I agree. Start painting the streets. The world is your canvas. And the pavement is you microphone. video 16 min long.

    BLM Street Mural ERASED After Woman Requests MAGA Mural, Too

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:


      “California town scrubs Black Lives Matter mural after Trump supporter requests ‘MAGA 2020’ painting”


      1. avatar Geoff "Ammo. LOTS of ammo..." PR says:

        …and we have other *Breaking News* :

        “Watch Live: Trump Authorizes “Surge” Of Federal Agents Into Cities Plagued By Violence, Including Chicago”


        And the Philly DA has his nose all out of joint about that :

        “Philly DA Says He’ll Prosecute Trump ‘Stormtroopers’ Sent To Control BLM Chaos”


        Stock up on popcorn, people – This is about to get very *interesting*… 🙂

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          Fun times are ahead!!

        2. avatar Dude says:

          “Philly DA Says He’ll Prosecute Trump ‘Stormtroopers’ Sent To Control BLM Chaos”

          So they’re literally admitting that they WANT BLM Chaos. That’s hilarious. These people have gone off the deep end.

        3. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          I mean it is Philly, they were plenty comfortable with the new black panthers providing ‘security’ at polling sites a few elections ago.

        4. avatar Victor says:

          More domestic militarization, targeting lawful protesters as much as criminal rioters? Such might just as well be used against us when there one day is a D president. How is that possibly something funny?

          I can’t help but wonder if it’s just schadenfreude at the fate of the Others.

        5. avatar Dude says:

          You just completely ignored the quote I listed and the comment I made specifically about said quote. The people in charge are admitting that they want burning, looting, and murder. Try to keep up.

    2. avatar Montana Actual says:

      lmfao. +1000

      Just start painting MAGA everywhere there is BLM crap, even if you don’t care for Trump and vote 3rd party, it’s the point that matters.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    BREAKING: Donnie’s sending in the FEDS to Chiraq. And elsewhere…about damn time!

  12. avatar RGP says:

    I like guns. That is all the reason I need.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Spot on.

  13. avatar Darkman says:

    I’ll just leave this here.
    Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey | Fox News

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