minneapolis third precinct riots
Mostly peaceful protests in Minneapolis (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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By Rob Morse

Our society is changing and those changes have resulted in many of us choosing to buy a firearm. We see crime rising around us. We notice that criminals are no longer routinely caught by police or prosecuted in the courts. The response is entirely predictable.

We make decisions like considering a move to a safer location (see: California, Illinois, and New York) We decide that owning a gun for personal protection makes sense. That may sound like mere speculation but a number of recent surveys have confirmed these trends. Almost 14 million of us bought a gun for the first time in 2020 and 2021. More than half of us now own firearms.

Personal protection is the main reason we buy a gun today. By a two-to-one margin, more of us think crime is getting worse rather than getting better. Sixty percent say it’s getting worse in our urban areas. Those opinions come from a Harvard-Harris poll conducted only a few weeks ago.

Democrats think the increase in crime is because of a worsening economy while Republicans think it’s because criminals aren’t being prosecuted and punished for their crimes. Most Republicans think that the police are afraid to do their job while most Democrats disagree.

Courtesy harvardharrispoll.com

By a four-to-one margin, voters in both parties think that laws about minor crimes like shoplifting should be rigorously enforced…except for Democrats. A majority of us blame “woke” Democrat politicians and district attorneys who won’t prosecute crimes. Most of us think that the US justice department is focused on politics rather than stopping gangs and crime syndicates.

A majority of voters in both parties now think that it is necessary to own a gun for personal protection. Including independent voters, 63-percent of us now believe it’s necessary to own a gun to prevent criminal attacks.

Americans have acted on those beliefs and gun ownership has grown over time. We’ve seen record gun sales for the last 50 months. We have some data on the number of new gun owners. A Pew research poll from August said that 41 percent of us live in a household with a firearm. That estimate may be on the low side since a Gallup poll put the number at 44 percent. A recent NBC poll put the number at 52% of us who live with a gun in our home. The variance between different polling organizations are significant, but the trend of increased gun ownership is consistent.

Courtesy NBC News

We have to be skeptical about these polling numbers. Recent research indicates that many of us don’t tell the truth to strangers on the phone when the strangers ask if we own firearms. As many as 60 percent of adults might own a gun as compared to 30 percent or so indicated by other polling.

That’s another indication of our changing society. It makes increasing sense that we are reluctant to tell strangers whether or not we own firearms. Gun owners don’t want to be targeted and have their guns taken. Households without guns feel more vulnerable if they admit they are disarmed. More of us are increasingly concerned about having our personal information gathered and sold.

It’s undeniably true that the face of gun ownership is changing. The stereotypical gun owner used to be an old, white, rural male. Gun owners now are increasingly young, urban female, and of a minority group. In short, gun ownership now better represents the population at large. The older stereotype of gun owners was that they were politically conservative. It doesn’t follow any more that new gun owners will follow suit and vote Republican.

Gun ownership is unlikely to significantly change voting patterns. Party affiliation is a stronger predictor of attitude towards firearm regulation than is gun ownership. In general, Republicans who don’t own a gun are slightly closer to Democrats. Democrats who own a gun are slightly closer to Republicans. That said, the difference between the political parties is larger than the difference between gun owners and non-gun owners within those parties.

Owning a firearm is only one of many cultural differences that separate liberal from conservative politics. The Democrat party may have adopted firearms prohibition as a basic party plank, but most liberal gun owners ignore that and vote for liberal candidates anyway.

As usual, change happens at the margins. A centrist Democrat who recently bought a gun may now see the Democrat party’s gun prohibitions as the issue that changes his vote. But old habits die hard. That’s not something anyone should count on.


This article originally appeared at Slow Facts Blog and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. You can follow polls if you want. Polls don’t actually mean anything so all of that is just plain silly. You live in that world and you will be lied to.

    The fact that so many guns have been sold in such a short period of time HAS ABSOLUTELY affected the parties stance on guns. The Democrat left sees this just as the rest of the world. There truly is a gun behind every blade of grass. More now than ever before. What this has done to the left is drive them over the edge. They have re-doubled their efforts to get it all ‘under control’. I believe the left was caught off guard on this. They didn’t actually expect the American people to act this way. Largely due to the way they view American citizens as subjects. This is why Biden truly expected us all to gets the Covid shots (he said so after all). The left has always wanted to go after our guns. This was symbolized by a revolver tied in a knot infront of the UN. I think they saw what they thought was the best opportunity they ever had to actually accomplishing a gun confiscation. What happened in New Orleans with Katrina failed. Then in 2020, such a huge serge in sales (that really hasn’t stopped) just sent them all over the top beside themselves saying “hell no, something’s got to be done about this”. It affected them alright. There is no doubt about that.

    • Prndll,

      Agree…the Dems and extreme left have unintentionally triggered the proliferation of firearms. Lefty extremists are purchasing firearms. Yet, the anti-gun schrilling sirens get louder and louder.

      • That’s part of it too. Their lunacy feeds on itself. It spirals out of control and sooner or later that process result in a mass shooting.

      • “most liberal gun owners ignore that and vote for liberal candidates anyway”
        Tragically, this is true. And the fact that gun ownership among voters is incrementing from 49% to 50% to 51% means little.

        Nevertheless, if the Democrats remain in control (and this will continue in the major cities) the crime situation will continue to deteriorate. Voters on the Left, Independents and RINOs will increasingly become aware of the cognitive dissonance between their owning guns and supporting gun-controlling rhetoric in The Party. And the number of Leftists/Independents/RINOs will continue to grow with the number of gun-owners with no sympathy for The Party.

        At some tipping point – say 67% – The Party will feel that the cost of maintaining their gun-control campaign is too great. It sacrifices too much among marginal voters who just might not support them.

        The foregoing is merely a theory predicated on an honest ballot box. But we can’t count on an honest ballot box. It could be that The Party would continue its War on Guns even if polling indicated that 93% of voters supported gun-rights. It’s not who votes that counts; it’s who counts the votes.

      • “…the Dems and extreme left have unintentionally triggered the proliferation of firearms. Lefty extremists are purchasing firearms.”

        Psychology 101 in action.

        The fastest way to motivate someone to buy one is the fear of not being able to have one…

    • a combination of civil unrest, lack of effective policing and seemingly endless attempts to limit access is what is fueling this…for many these days a gun is part of their daily kit….

  2. I strongly object to calling them political ‘parties’ because they are never any fun.

    Besides, the primary directive of any institution is self-preservation. Second, the aggrandizement of wealth and power. Eventually, the welfare of its members becomes a concern only to the extent it advances the primary and secondary objectives.

    However, I have seen local churches and ministries avoid the above-said corruption.

  3. No one has to own a gun to understand Gun Control in any shape, matter or form is Rooted in Racism and Genocide…

  4. “Democrats think the increase in crime is because of a worsening economy…”

    Democrats think…
    Thanks for the laugh.

    In the 1990s, the economy was much better than it is right now, and the violent crime rate was twice as high as it is now. It dropped steadily starting about 1990 and has been essentially the same for the past 10 years. Look at any bad economy in our history: 1870s, 1890s, 1930s, etc. There is no correlation between a bad economy and bad crime.

    Would be nice if the so-called smart set actually knew shit. But that’s asking them to question all the nonsense they believe in, which would mean an end to leftism. Can’t have that!

    • The crime rates as it pertains to mass store theft/robbery is very specifically due to the simple fact that those committing these crimes are allowed to. Store owners and managers wont do anything but possibly put things behind locked glass (which does nothing). Police wont do anything to stop it either as a matter of directive from the people that pay them. It’s all being allowed to happen and it isn’t going to stop until someone decides they’ve had enough. The state of the economy has nothing to do with it. These criminals think they are owed reparations and have the right. Although Bidens war on energy causing prolonged high inflation does create a convenient excuse.

      • there are ways to stop or slow these store robberies…but, so far most retailers don’t seem interested…and we’re not talking about guns…better barriers, limiting access, possibly a fee to enter that is refundable after a purchase…things like that…

    • “Look at any bad economy in our history: 1870s, 1890s, 1930s, etc. There is no correlation between a bad economy and bad crime.”

      In the depths of the C O V I D shut downs, I asked a cop if crime had been rising with so many out of work. He thought about, and replied “Not really”…

  5. It’s been shown time and time again that when it comes to certain subjects like “Do you have a gun in your home” many people do not tell the truth and also tend to tell survey -takers what they want to hear rather than admitting to views that are not “politically correct.”

    Also the way questions are written tend to greatly bias the answers. A survey company can pretty much steer a survey to say anything they want it to say. Most of the major survey companies are very left-leaning and have a definite agenda.

    Surveys are flawed. Garbage in Garbage out. It’s all garbage

  6. Why would Democrats think it’s because of a worsening economy? They have the economy they wanted and the only changes they’d make to it would move society closer to Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil or Columbia and those isn’t exactly a low-crime utopias.

    When lefties get exactly what they want they always respond to the guaranteed disaster with either “this isn’t true X” or by blaming some external actors that may or may not exist like “white supremacy”, “East Asia”, or the ever present and meddling CIA. Even as they control the CIA. If it weren’t for those nefarious external forces derailing their “true X” utopia and peace would rule the world.

    • Or “it’s [inflation/gas prices] because of Putin’s war. There’s nothing I can do about it.” Remember that one? Then remember the “you’re welcome for lower gas prices” (lol)?

      Democrats think “it’s because of a worsening economy” because they’re constantly fed the lie that criminals have to steal because they’re poor. “They just need bread…and money for school…and maybe a new car.”

  7. Liberal leaders ‘pile’ their ideologies onto countries like Ukraine…Turdo blames US conservatives for him being caught in his liberal socialism fascism stupid.

      • Youcranez be smart if they said fuckit, we give. Member general chowdip giang fck’s statement ” The out come will be the same, the only difference will be the lives lost. ”
        Poking the Bear when the Tiger slips unseen in the grass.
        I like hindi trap music

  8. Liberal gun owners have never ever been supporters of civil rights. They will always worship the state. They have always supported waiting periods to purchase a firearm.

    They have never supported the second amendment but they certainly do like their guns.

    • Chris. I tend to agre. To a certain point.
      Location has a lot to do with the resilience of infringements and the percieved freedom of some individuals. It boils down to the dirt we were born from.

  9. Although there are some RINOs, the Republicans are better for gun ownerss than DEMONcRATs.

  10. Has anyone besides me seen the leftist riots (insurgency) in the last three weeks? These left leaning students, lead by their professors, are supporting terrorists (real terrorists) called hamas. these are the same people that rioted after St George died in Minneapolis. They are the much of the vaunted first time gun buyers in the last 2 1/2 years and they aren’t buying guns to help out the police. they believe in a violent uprising against the fine folks that commented above. Yeah, think about it…antifa and blm supporters are those young minorities that so many “gun writers” are bragging about. Many if not most have no criminal record and can pass a background check and can get guns for those that can’t. It’s right before us and we don’t see it, they are coming after US! and the U.S. i hope I’m wrong.

  11. I’m a bit late to the comment party on this one, however there is no better gun salesman than a democrat like Obama or Biden. Gun sales skyrocket when those types get elected. Unintentionally, they sell more guns than the greatest advertising campaign of all times. The more there are out there and owned by Americans, the less and less likely any attempt at confiscation becomes. (and, to poke a little fun, I personally own in the vicinity of 75 firearms. Guess I run the average up)

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