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Surprising results of new gun ownership study

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    MSN News: 3% of Americans own half the country's 265 million guns

    We have often discussed (argued) gun ownership in this website, but much of that discussion has been premised around the concept (myth) that gun ownership is spread evenly across America. Furthermore, Congress has blocked funding for any agencies such as the CDC that wanted to better understand trends in deaths by guns. With the help of statistics from a new in-depth study by researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities, we can now narrow the discussion (arguments). Here are the statistics from the study to ponder:

    • Americans own an estimated 265 million guns – more than one gun for every American adult
    • However, only some 55 million Americans actually own guns.
    • Half of those 265 million guns – 133 million – are in the hands of just 3% of American adults, so-called “super owners” who possessed an average of 17 guns each. The super owners consisted of an estimated 7.7 million Americans and owned between eight and 140 guns each.
    • The percentage of the U.S. population who own guns decreased slightly from 25% in 1994 to 22% last year. That means 78 percent of the population does not own a single gun.
    • Between 300,000 and 600,000 guns are stolen each year.
    • Gun owners tend to be white, male, conservative, and live in rural areas.
    • 25% of gun owners in America are white or multi-racial, compared with 16% of Hispanics and 14% of African Americans.
    • There are an estimated 111 million handguns nationwide, a 71% increase from the 65 million handguns in 1994.

    You can read more about those statistics at the above link. For the 2nd Amendment gun nuts, nothing in this study will change their thinking. However, for ordinary Americans who are conflicted on the need to own a gun or pass much needed gun safety legislation, these statistics should help consolidate their views.

    Comments?

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    I'm not surprised by these stats at all. Gun owners are dwindling by the day, but gun sales continue to rise because the far-right "patriots" have convinced themselves that the government is going to come get their guns so they keep buying more.

    I only know one person who owns a gun and he is a deer hunter in the Midwest. That's it.

    I also agree that no amount of facts will ever change a gun nuts thinking. They are so brainwashed by the NRA that it's impossible to have a rational conversation with them. My cousins husband (the only gun owner I know) is all for background checks and various other gun safety laws. I think a lot of people who own guns are just like him. The only problem is that the loudest voices in the room tend to win (and have the money to buy off our politicians).

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I own a small shotgun. My one son owns a single hand gun. My other two children.... I don't know because they never said and I never asked. I kinda like having my shotgun because it often seems like this country is headed down an ugly path and every day we get dozens of examples of how this country is full of idiots. I would not be shocked if we get a dose of civil unrest. Who knows what is ahead of us.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    The most absurd reason presented to own a gun is for self defense. I have personal knowledge of only one confrontation of a victim carrying a gun and a perpretator. The crook snatched the victims purse and ran off with her gun in the purse. But suppose the victim was carrying the gun locked and loaded. At what point in a confrontation could an average person decide to end a person's life based on the possibility of a threat. I would say that in most cases the crook would have disarmed the victim before the victim could decide to act. The above survey notes that violent crime has gone down. That is probably an anomaly but in any case violent crime exists. Violent crime can be profiled according to historical facts. I think violent crime could be best mitigated with an increase in police presence in profiled areas and situations. I don't think the public would object because profiled areas could best described by an obvious lack of police presence in profiled conditions. I have no problem with any kind of registration because with existing and probable developing algorithms anybody can be identified and located for any reason. The study seemed to underestimate popular accepted data like population asnd total number of guns. I believe known data is Bradley effect skewed. As far as registration and similar laws the debate just wastes time until positive actions come to debate. Any mention of serious consideration would surly start another personal firearms buildup. The only real solution is unwarranted search and seizure to confiscate all firearms. One step short of confiscation is the same immense force required for confiscation but only executing normal police duties. Otherwise under common sense laws the violence will continue.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I own my shotgun (which is never loaded) incase somebody is ever trying to kick in my front door..... I could decide to change their mind in a convincing way. My first inclination would not be to kill them but to remind them harshly that I don't agree with or appreciate their methods. I know and agree that far too often family members are hurt or killed with a gun that was said to be for protection. All a person can do is practice safety, keep others away from your gun, keep ammo available but not right with a gun, and hope really hard that years and years go by with never even thinking about using the damned thing. Luckily, nobody is ever trying to kick in my front door so it's a non-issue.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    There is another aspect of using a gun for protection that is not often discussed in the media. It's the uncontrolled adrenalin rush that comes at the moment that can vastly affect a person's ability to use his/her gun competently or as intended. They make mistakes. The police are trained for it but still also make mistakes. I wonder how many of these police shootings of unarmed victims are a result of an officer firing his/her weapon out of fear.

    The adrenaline dump: It's more than just breathing

    I grew up with guns in our household, but choose to not have a gun in the house now. I'm part of the 78 percent, buy I also respect those who do have guns and keep them safe from children. However, keeping them locked away out of the reach of children kind of defeats the purpose of having them for ready. That mother who was shot and killed by her own 2 year old toddler reaching for that loaded and ready gun from her purse while shopping in a grocery store is just one statistic that is gut wrenching. She feared being robbed, but instead was killed by her own 2 year old.

    Toddler reaches into purse and gun goes off, killing mom

    She is not alone.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    TJ Wrote: I own my shotgun (which is never loaded) incase somebody is ever trying to kick in my front door..... I could decide to change their mind in a convincing way. My first inclination would not be to kill them but to remind them harshly that I don't agree with or appreciate their methods. I know and agree that far too often family members are hurt or killed with a gun that was said to be for protection. All a person can do is practice safety, keep others away from your gun, keep ammo available but not right with a gun, and hope really hard that years and years go by with never even thinking about using the damned thing. Luckily, nobody is ever trying to kick in my front door so it's a non-issue.

    So, TJ, please 'splain to us how that unloaded shotgun is going to protect you when and if you ever need it? Do you always carry a few shells in your pocket so you can quick load it in a few seconds (if you can find it)?

    I have a hard time remembering where my keys and wallet are when I need them much less something like a shotgun and amo! I think you are only fooling yourself about having an unloaded shotgun for protection!

    The odds are against you protecting yourself with an unloaded gun, especially in a state full of "deplorables" such as Florida.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    pr, I agree that I'm not fully protected with an unloaded shotgun. I will always prefer to say I had nothing for protection instead of having a loaded gun that falls easily into a very negative statistic. My hope would be that my dog would bark alerting me that there's a problem. Door kicker will not immediately get it done and I could attempt to protect my wife. I believe there's a 99.9995% chance that I'll avoid negative situations.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    Everything can't be reduced to its most common elements. There are people that simply want things. Every 1 liter sport bike can go over 150 mph. Dodge makes a Challenger that has 750 horespower. The Bugatti Veyron has 1200 horsepower and can go over 207 mph and cost over a million dollars. Just as people don't have a reason for wanting something there are people that just don't want people to have something. Trying to supply reasons and anti reasons dealing with people's wants can be difficult. In the case of guns all I see is more guns as a result of gun control. jaredsxtn's smart gun is the best solution I have seen and the most logical choice for acceptance. But it won't satisfy the people that just don't want people to have guns and those people are the backbone of gun control. Whether or not you believe gun control shut down our last lead smelter is a moot belief. What is gained by simply moving the source of pollution to a place that has lower standards for reducing pollution. And when we have a candidate focusing on solar power we now make no lead acid batteries. Almost all our military vehicles require lead acid batteries that now have to be bought from our potentially most powerful adversary. I realize there are multiple answers to the lead acid battery but the answer isn't operational on a dependable scale. Gun control is too complex to be resolved.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The only point that I will make is that the vast majority of gun owners do in fact support some of the forms of common sense gun safety legislation. However, it would appear that a very small minority, perhaps the 3 percent, are dictating the NRA narrative on 2nd amendment rights. That and the real gun profiteers, the gun manufacturers, who are behind the fear mongering and the ALEC sponsored legislation in Congress and states to support their various blood money schemes.

    Violence Policy Center: Blood Money II, How Gun Industry Dollars Fund the NRA

    I have previously shared VPC's 2011 Blood Money in this forum. The Blood Money II is a September 2013 update for those who really want to get into the nitty gritty of corporate profiting from gun sales. It is an eye opener.

    Kudos to the Violence Policy Center for sharing.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    The logic of mass ownership seems like the logic in this country having more than 12 nuclear weapons. At what point do you ask why so many ? In my opinion any more than 12 or 15 is pointless yet we maintain far more.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    I don't have any problem with any kind of "common sense gun laws" except that they won't do anything to stop gun violence on any significant scale if at all. If the whole idea of "common sense laws" is to be able to keep your guns by saying we are trying something then that is deceitful playing on peoples emotions and in some cases taking their lives. This is deadly incrementalism.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Yes but the world and especially the good ol USA is full of undereducated, racist, old white people who are very easily misled into believing total nonsense if it is repeated over and over constantly. One only has to look at the tropical Republican conservative, Trum supporter, Fox News addict. They have no idea of reality other that what they want to believe and are presented to them as facts because it reinforces all their insecurities.

    If it wasn't for the NRA changing into a political sales agent for gun manufacturers the typical " gun nut" would not be as likely to amass a smal arsenal of unneeded weapons. They wouldn't believe all the made up Second Amendment hype manufactured by the NRA for the sole reason to sell guns. Uninformed, ignorant people can be made to believe just about anything as witnessed by the rise of DT.

    The framers of the Constitution would be sickened if they ever came back today and discovered how the Second Amendment has been twisted and sold to the general public as the right (or need) to own a gun without any controls at all. It is simply beyond reason that anyone can or does believe what they are being sold by the gun lobby but, then again, the general public has never been known for its understanding of much more than the latest sports event, media star, fashion trend or video game.

    When you have a head full of shit it comes out you mouth first - just like The Donald. He believes in nothing but himself while his supporters actually are dumb enough to believe him!

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    No matter how bad the conditions are if the amount of guns grows and the resistance to change stops all efforts then it is time to look at another approach. On top of that you have rap artist now threatening competitors and their families openly on the media. At the same time their are activists attacking violence on the same people. I think violence is being used for profit. Lyrics and open threats on media are desensitising people to violence.