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How many times have you heard this question: “Do you own a gun?” Notice the definite article: A. As in Singular. As in One. Robert’s response to the proposed Massachusetts one-gun-a-month law was on the money. But the fact that there are people who support the proposal illustrates the mile-wide perception gulf between gun-owning Americans and their non-armed counterparts.

Whenever someone asks me the question “do you own a gun?” instinctively I know that they are probably not gun owners themselves. If they were gun owners, or if they were “gun people” (that is, people who don’t own guns but who associate with people who do), they would know that most gun owners own more than one gun. I don’t know what the average number is, but right off the top of my head, I can’t think of anybody I know who owns guns who has fewer than two. Most have at least four.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that the only time in my life that I’ve ever owned “a” gun was in that brief period of time after I bought my first gun and before I bought my second (my first gun was a Universal .30 Carbine, as pictured above, purchased from a Sears in Columbus, Georgia, in May of 1981).

Of course, there are some people who carry a gun occupationally: mostly police officers and security guards. For them, the gun may simply be a tool that’s part of their employment, taken off with the uniform and not thought about much afterwards. These are people who are “gun owners” who aren’t really “gun people.” Again, I imagine they are very much in the minority of gun owners.

The thing about guns is this: once you own one and spend some time shooting it you get inculcated into the “gun culture.” It doesn’t take long before you get to hankering for another one. Got a pistol? Now you feel the need for a shotgun. Or one of those cool assault weapons modern sporting rifles home defense guns. Got a hunting rifle? Pretty soon you want another one. Or a nice .22 for plinking and practicing. Or a handgun to pack for protection.

So that’s the QOTD. Do you own “a” gun, as in only one? Do you know anybody who only owns one gun? I would answer negative to both questions. How about you?

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  1. Recently, a cop climbing the stairs in my home at 2am asked me roughly the same question: “You guys got a lot of guns?” To which I answered “Two.” Seeing as he knew about them. So that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

    I met a guy at my FFL dealer’s digs yesterday who was picking-up a Smith and Wesson .38 snubbie. Stainless. Sweet. I asked him how many guns he owned. “One,” he replied. Huh? “Oh I have a bunch of hunting guns, but this is my first handgun. Something for around the house.” Been to the range yet? “Not yet.” Poor bastard. He doesn’t stand a chance against the irresistible forces of GAS (gun acquisition syndrome).

  2. I have…several. A couple of handguns and a couple of shotguns. That’s as far as I’m willing to go – publicly. I’m all well and good to have guns, but I’m not that crazy about publicizing it. I’m not particularly paranoid about potential gun confiscation, but I would worry about getting my gun stolen in a robbery. No sense in telling the bad guys what – and how many – to look for.

  3. Believe me, I completely understand the impulse not to reveal your whole aresenal, I was just more curious to know if anybody here would either admit to only owning one gun and having no desire for any more, or who knew someone else who did.

    Heck, even the people I’ve known in the past who only owned one gun were itching to get another one within just a few months.

    Maybe it could be another one of those viral internet messages: “Things you never hear a gun owner say” and at the top of the list would be “I have enough guns, and am not interested in getting any more.”

  4. I think the degree to which someone falls prey to “gun acquisition syndrome” is directly proportional competing interests.

    I love guns and I’ll always own a gun for personal protection (okay, I have two, but one is an antique that was given to me); however, first and foremost, I’m a car guy. Since only a small sliver of my disposal income has “fun” written on it, the “cars” category will usually get the lion’s share.

    In other words, I love guns – I’d love to own a mint-condition, mid-70’s nickel-plated, 6-inch Colt Python .357 – but if an unexpected two grand fell in my lap…maybe I’d buy a $300 Kel-Tec P3AT, but most of the rest would go toward car stuff (and if I found a set of Edelbrock aluminum FE heads for $2,000, I’d quickly forget about the Kel-Tec). Another way to say it is: I have two cars and one (self-purchased) gun. If I had Jay Leno’s car collection, I’d probably also own half that number of guns.

    This doesn’t mean that I lack passion towards guns; it just means that I’m more passionate about cars. I suspect it’s that way for other one-gun types, as well.

  5. Without going into too much detail, multiple guns over multiple decades. I haven't been down to a single gun since I left the house for college, and even that didn't last long. I really can't think of a person I know who only has one. Everyone has at least a deer rifle, shotgun, .22 rimfire, and pistol. As a start.

    Of course, I live in Texas. So maybe that's not normal elsewhere.

  6. I own just one gun. I bought it about two months ago. Even though I didn't grow up with guns, I think I've become less optimistic that bad situations won't happen despite being unlikely. As soon as my better half doesn't think of a gun as a pet rattlesnake, I'll probably be an owner of more than "a" gun.

    In reference to the previous comment, I also live in Texas, but it's a big place, so it's not surprising that not everyone I know owns a deer rifle, shotgun, .22, and a pistol.

  7. In respect to Ed's comment, it could just be that 99% of the people I know are rednecks.

    I do actually remember one guy that only had one gun. He had a personality "quirk" where he always had to (try to) be the most impressive person in the group. If we started talking sportscars, he'd show up the next day in a miata. A crappy old one, but there you go. Talk about 4-wheeling and he'd trade the miata in on a crapped out jeep. Guns? One day he shows up with some god-awful no name 9 mm handgun with a 16 round clip. God only knows if he ever fired it, but he loved showing it off. So a single gun owner, for the record.

  8. I kinda fall into the same category as Don. I spend enough time and money keeping a small fleet of cars and bikes running.

    I was "a" gun owner for about three months.

    However, back in November I got my C&R FFL. Other than the occasional new production firearm, there are five that are over 50 years old….

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