July 1st, 2015

Nearly a Third of Americans Own Guns

Gun Ownership Study 2015 Columbia Injury Prevention

As an American firearms owner, you’re in good company. A new Columbia University Study indicates that nearly 30% of American adults own at least one gun. As you might expect, state gun ownership rates varied greatly. States with low population density showed a higher percentage of gun owners. The Top Five gun-owning states were: Alaska (61.9%), Arkansas (57.9%), Idaho (56.9%), West Virginia (54.2%), and Wyoming (53.8%). As you’d expect Montana (52.3%) and New Mexico (49.9%) were in the Top Ten, but to our surprise Texas, at 35.5%, was not. Must be those Yuppies in Austin …

Two East Coast micro-states were at the bottom of the scale, with gun ownership rates under 6%. Delaware, at 5.2%, had the lowest percentage of gun owners, followed by Rhode Island (5.8%).

The gun ownership study, published on the Injury Prevention website, showed that 29.1% of Americans over age 18 own firearms. Results were based on a web survey of a representative sample of 4000 persons from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. CLICK HERE to Read Full Study.

Gun Ownership Study 2015 Columbia Injury Prevention

Gun Culture Supports Firearm Ownership
The study also tried to assess the impact of “gun culture” on gun ownership rates. Not surprisingly, where family and social group attitudes favored gun ownership, more people owned guns: “Gun ownership was 2.25 times greater among those reporting social gun culture. Exposure to social gun culture was robustly associated with gun ownership and to our knowledge, this is the first study to establish empirical evidence of the relation between social gun culture and gun ownership.” However, “we cannot infer whether exposure to social gun culture predisposes one to gun ownership or whether the latter increases likelihood of participation in the former.”

General Findings
The study summarized its findings as follows: “A strong association between gun ownership and being a part of a social gun culture was observed, even after adjusting for significant covariates. The other individual covariates independently associated with gun ownership were age > 55 years, not black, male, income > $25 K, ever married/partnered and medium/high violence exposure.” Worthy of note is that the lead statistician for this project, Dr. Bindu Valesan, is a Vice-President of the Gun Violence Survivors Foundation (GVSP). She works as an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University.

Because of Valesan’s association with the GVSP, some have challenged this study’s conclusions regarding “gun culture” and the reasons Americans own firearms. Nonetheless the findings regarding the percentage of Americans who own guns are noteworthy. These numbers show the importance of firearms to a huge segment of our society. If anything, the Columbia University Study numbers support the NRA’s claims that nearly half of American households own guns. In 2010, 39% of Americans surveyed by the Gallup Poll said they had a gun in their home. Infoplease.com states that the percentage of U.S. households with firearms: “has been fluctuating between 38% and 42% in polls taken since 2000, and has ranged between 36% and 51% since polling began in 1959.”

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