Monday, July 31, 2023

Potential Gun Ownership in America Could Be As High As 60%, Doubling Previous Estimates


An increase in the number of undisclosed firearm owners, akin to the politically renowned "unvoiced majority," has prompted weapons experts to think that the true percentage of American gun owners might be considerably higher than the often-quoted figure of 30%.

On the upper limit, it's conceivable that as much as 60% of Americans possess guns, a figure likely boosted by the rise in gun purchases by women and minorities during the pandemic, particularly in suburban and urban locations. At the lower limit, at least 40% of Americans are likely to own guns, according to an innovative research examining those who deceive pollsters about their firearm ownership.

The study, conducted by the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University, is making waves in the sector, which has struggled for years to ascertain accurate figures of U.S. gun ownership and understand the dichotomy between polled support for gun control and the lack of action when legislative measures are presented.

J.D. Tuccille, from Reason Magazine, brought portions of this study to light in an early July post, creating ripples in the firearm industry about the likelihood of significantly higher gun ownership in the U.S.

He underscored the study's inference that about a third of the respondents might not be truthful when denying gun possession. Tuccille detailed how the researchers developed profiles of verified gun owners and extrapolated these profiles to their sample of 3,500 respondents to predict who might be disingenuous about not having guns.

This attracted the interest of Stephen Gutowski, the founder of The Reload blog, who discussed Tuccille's analysis and the potential ramifications of the study in a recent video post.

Gutowski stated, “This has been a suspicion for some time, but now there's a study that provides quantifiable evidence. Their estimate suggests that almost half of those claiming they don't own guns actually do, causing a considerable inconsistency. The percentage could jump from roughly 33% to somewhere in the 60s,” he elaborated.

Tuccille referred to these misleading respondents as "covert gun owners," who might not be honest due to concerns about the government or their neighbors discovering their firearm ownership. He suggested that these individuals might deny owning a gun, especially in urban locations where it is often looked down upon. Local customs may also influence their responses.

Both Tuccille and Gutowski suggested that significantly higher U.S. gun ownership rates than those quoted by major pollsters like Pew and Gallup could significantly affect legislators promoting gun control. Tuccille highlighted the potential repercussions of this study, saying that if it's accurate, then gun ownership isn't exclusive to conservatives, and attempts by liberals to target the Right via gun control could backfire.

He further argued, "It’s no longer safe to target a good if you want to punish an enemy." In Reason, he added, “With a diverse and expanding group of gun owners, there are significant implications for politics and policy. These new gun owners are likely to resist any attempts to take away their self-defense tools and may take umbrage at the restrictive policies promoted by urban, left-leaning politicians, which impact all gun owners, regardless of their geographical location and political leanings. Essentially, the gun-ownership demographic is evolving, but newer owners are more reluctant than their predecessors to disclose their status to researchers and government officials.”

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