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“Personal protection is the top reason Americans own a gun, as was true in 2000 and 2005. This, rather than views on the Second Amendment, may explain why moving toward greater gun control, as Obama and many Democrats have sought to do, is so difficult. Those who own firearms for protection may feel that their own personal safety is a vital need on which they do not wish to compromise.” – Gallup, Inc.’s Art Swift, Personal Safety Top Reason Americans Own Guns Today [at]

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  1. Alternately, you could say, “I don’t own a gun BECAUSE of the second amendment, I own a gun THANKS TO the second amendment.”

  2. Honestly, personal protection came second. I initially was into guns (and bought my first couple) because I’d shot before (other people’s), thought they were cool, and wanted more. I had the first handgun for six months before I got my carry permit.

    • This for me too. Honestly, the first things that would come to mind for me if I was asked would be “recreation” or “hobby”.

      That said, I have a lot of hobbies, and this is the only one that could perforate a home intruder, so protection would be a close second. Otherwise I’d have to waste a decent single malt upside said intruder’s head, and no one wants that.

    • I agree, but i only waited 6 months because I bought it in late August, broke it in in September, and that year after September it was too freakin cold in Northern Michigan to take a CPL class.

      Of course, my luck being what it is, it was 60 in February when i signed up and 30, rainy, and windy in April when i took the class.

      It also gave me lot of confidence in the gun. I was the ONLY one that didn’t have mechanical issues.

    • Pretty much the same here. If I’m giving only one answer, personal protection comes first because it’s the most serious reason. I could check off all but three of the answers on that poll, because they’re all reasons I’ve considered.

      But I started buying guns and going to the range every week because shooting is fun.

  3. Unless one is fortunate to live in certain states, concealed carry in fact is a privlidge extended by your state legislature rather then being an exercise of a civil right.

    As such,the 2nd Amendment for most of us isn’t a valid justification -otherwise wed need no permit,no?

    • Many more states will let you open carry. As is keeping one for home defense.

      But I find it interesting people in this thread seem (so far) focused on handguns.

    • At this point states that don’t have open carry are anomalies. 7 don’t have open carry at all, though a couple of those are b-s though since they are in may issue states where you have little chance of getting a license (NJ and HI that I noticed, probably more though.)

      • I’m pretty sure both Feinstein and Bloomberg understand the need for guns for their own personal protection. Probably why Feinstein owns guns and Bloomberg employs dozens of security guys with guns.

  4. I carry more out of a sense of enjoying the last vestige of freedom we have than out of fear for my personal safety. But then again you never know what could happen.

    • Yeah, as an addendum to my above, I now carry for personal protection, but I don’t live my life in fear. I made it a habit, and now it’s like picking up my keys. I found that carrying caused me to be slightly more situationally aware, but I wasn’t a slacker in that department to begin with. The “celebrating my freedom to do so” developed as time went on.

      • Depends a lot on where you live. I live in Iowa where the murder rate is about 1.5 per 100,000. I’m probably more likely to need a fire extinguisher than a firearm. It’s also a state where you can do just about anything with a little note from your local sheriff. You can carry open or concealed, you’re not legally obliged to obey “no firearms” signs, you can go to a bar – and drink(!) (provided your BAC doesn’t top .08%), you aren’t required to inform a LEO that you’re carrying – just about anything except walk into a school. That’s a lot of freedom in this day and age. Granted, needing a note from your sheriff is blatantly unconstitutional, but where else can you go and exercise your freedom like that?

  5. All of the above. I can’t remember a time when guns weren’t a part of my life. I was born to it. As a youth they were a farm tool and hunting instrument. We didn’t worry about self defense then. Different world.

    There was a brief period after the military that I dropped hunting and guns. The guns came back, hunting didn’t. Although since my son has developed an interest in hunting It’s starting to come back into my life. The camels nose under the tent.

    Mostly it’s about recreation with a side of self defense. If it was legal for me to cc I would. Maybe someday.

  6. Hold on now… I ain’t gotta explain why I own my guns to anyone. It is none of thier business. Colin Noir had a video up a while back inwhich he said something like “Why do you own a gun? Why did you buy that stupid shirt?” it was a pretty funny rant.

    • You are right you “ain’t gotta explain” anything. That, however, doesn’t mean you need to shout down the opportunity for other or even yourself to do so. Yes, there are ample reasons and definitely certain circumstances to be discrete about gun ownership. There are also reasons to take make use of public forums and explain your personal reasons whether that is personal protection, family tradition, hunting, the government, or yes last and most fundamental because a damn well can.

      When we as a community become so insular that we refuse to have the conversation or provide input to the larger discussion then our message does not get told and we are leave the other side in charge.

      • you are exactly right and I agree 100%. I had a shot of sarcasm with my coffee this morning but that did not come across in my post earlier.

        • Turns out my sarcasm detector is fueled by coffee and I the tank was a little low. Now that I am halfway through my espresso the detector is working. Glad we are in violent agreement.

  7. I don’t get it… the 2nd amendment isn’t a reason to own guns, it’s a reason to not try to take them away from people.

  8. I grew up in a home with no guns, and didn’t own any when I got married. Once my wife became pregnant with our first child I went and bought a shotgun in order to be able to defend my family should anyone attempt entry into our home. My first reason was definitely protection. The joy of hanging out with some buddies and shooting targets came later (as did the multiplying gun issues most of us face pre-boating accident).

  9. I don’t quite remember how I came upon it, but I first started reading Keep and Bear and Bruce Krafft’s writings there when I was 17 or 18. I remember his arguments and liberty-oriented message appealed to me.

    I wanted a 1911 before reading all that because it shoots big ol’ bullets. Using some of the arguments I read on that site helped me convince my parents to allow me to have one in their house.

    A decade later I own several guns, my dad owns one, my brother owns one, and my mom wants to get one.

    So, yeah.

    1. Second amendment
    2. Self protection
    3. Shooting is fun

  10. For any clueless ones visiting this site, the following is sarcasm:

    I own guns because I’m a racist. It’s Science!


  11. Wow…kinda surprised that “gun collecting” was only at 1%. I have close to 200 guns and have only shot about 10-15 of them. I like to target practice and always keep a gun in my home, car, office and person. But really surprised that I’m in a 1% fraternity of collectors, would’ve thunk more. FYI, I collect US WWII but do have and enjoy a few “black rifles”…thank you 2nd Amendment!!

    • Look at it this way: that still puts the number of gun collectors in the US at 1.0-1.4 million, which isn’t exactly chump change.

    • Maybe collecters are shy about talking about their collections? If I collected valuable widgets and had a sizeable number of them I’d keep it on the down low.

      • speaking of collecting, i collected another Ruger, A P94 DC this time that can use those mags you give me, thanks again. I get to “cool off” until the 19th, just in time for some fun and gun at the range with the family on thanksgiving.

  12. uh, the second amendment encompasses (among other things) the right to own a gun for personal protection, hunting, and sporting. So I guess some at Gallup don’t understand what owning a gun due to the “second amendment right” actually means.

    Owning a gun due to “second amendment right” probably is people saying they own a gun because they can – which is also a perfectly valid reason for exercising a right.

    However, the 60% who own a gun for personal protection (as an example), those people also own a gun due to the “second amendment right” as do all the rest.

    Basically that category should be 100% not 8%.

  13. According to the possible reasons on the list with the exception of Military/law enforcement my answer would have to be “yes”…. Just yes.

  14. For me, there are both practical and philosophical reasons to own firearms. Practically speaking, there’s self defense, recreation, b.s.’ing and bonding with the guys at the range/LGS/TTAG, and just simply having a useful skill, like speaking another language, playing an instrument or knowing how to sail.

    Philosophically speaking, the reasons to own get serious. That’s where you’re talking about SHTF and survival. That’s where the idea comes in of, God forbid, having to defend your country from your government. There’s also the concepts of legacy, connection with the past, self reliance, discipline, precision, personal responsibility, art appreciation and technological challenges.

    And yes, I’ll admit it: guns are fun, cool, sexy and here. Why own a firearm? Because guns. Duh.

  15. “Those who own firearms for protection may feel that their own personal safety is a vital need on which they do not wish to compromise.” Put that under “no shit, Sherlock”.

    The main reason for owning guns is to be able to fulfill the only Duty mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.

    • I was about to say that that last sentence pretty much summed it all up pretty nicely. Most of us, to a large extent, don’t want any potential diminution of our ability to defend ourselves, our family, our property, or (Heaven forbid) our liberty.

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