So much for gun ownership surveys

Hear ye!  Hear ye!  The most recent ‘wisdom’ from ‘the latest General Social Survey‘:

The number of Americans who live in a household with at least one gun is lower than it’s ever been, according to a major American trend survey that finds the decline in gun ownership is paralleled by a reduction in the number of Americans who hunt.

According to the latest General Social Survey, 32 percent of Americans either own a firearm themselves or live with someone who does, which ties a record low set in 2010. That’s a significant decline since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when about half of Americans told researchers there was a gun in their household.

The General Social Survey is conducted by NORC, an independent research organization based at the University of Chicago, with money from the National Science Foundation. Because of its long-running and comprehensive set of questions about the demographics, behaviors and attitudes of the American public, it is a highly regarded source of data about social trends.

There’s more at the link.

Sounds like bullshit on a stick, if you ask me.  For a start, if I get a phone call from someone I’ve never heard of, claiming to represent an allegedly ‘respectable’ research organization and asking whether I’ve got items in my house that are highly desirable to thieves, how do you think I’m going to answer them?  They can forget about getting honest feedback from me, right there and then!  I daresay I’m far from the only person with such a reaction.  Furthermore, here are three easily-confirmed observations:

  1. The number of background checks on firearms sales isn’t exactly evidence of any ‘decline’ in firearms ownership. Since President Obama took office, the increase has been mind-boggling (link is to an official US Government chart in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).  Furthermore, they refer only to purchases in gun shops or at gun shows that require a background check.  (Such checks aren’t exactly effective at ‘stopping gun violence’, either.)
  2. Background checks aren’t conducted or required in most states for face-to-face private transfers of firearms.  To mention just one example, check out Armslist for your state (or, if yours requires background checks on private transfers, for another state that doesn’t).  See for yourself how many firearms are being advertised by private citizens like you and I.  The last several firearms I’ve bought and sold have all been through private, ‘off-paper’ deals (the last one was only four days ago).  I intend to do more such deals in future.  I can get better prices that way, whether selling, buying or swapping.  (I’m looking to swap a couple of Glocks right now for different models, and already have someone interested in one of them.)  Does it bother me that no-one is undergoing background checks for such purchases?  No.  Why should it?  I don’t assume that anyone buying a gun privately is automatically a criminal, and neither should anyone else in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
  3. I’ve been training others to shoot for many years.  Without exception, every year has seen an increase in the number of those seeking training or advice.  “What gun should I buy?”  “How should I train?”  “What and how much ammo should I keep in the house?”  These and other questions have been addressed in articles here (see the list in the sidebar).  I take the time to do that because there are more and more people looking for answers.  That hardly squares with a decline in gun ownership, does it?

Nope.  I’ll take this story with a pinch of salt and several pinches of gunpowder.  Makes the salt taste better, you know . . . almost like the bitter tears of lamenting, lying gun-grabbers.  Aaaahh!  Savor the flavor!



  1. Even aside from potentially identifying your home as a target for thieves… How do I know that the survey isn't going to later be used as a "hit list" for some gun-seizing scheme at some point? Paranoid? Maybe. But, given the extensive overreach of the current occupant of the White House, I wouldn't put anything past him.

  2. Ring, ring "hello"
    Them " do you a a few minutes to answer some survey questions"
    CLICK put down phone and walk away.

  3. ring, ring.

    "Guten tag" (Good day)

    brain dead question in English

    "Ich spreche kein Englisch" (I don't speak English)

    *click* (hangup phone)

    return to normal activities.

    (Substitute response in Russian, French, Italian, Bulgarian or Swahili as appropriate)

  4. It goes against all common sense. All one has to do is look at the number of NICS checks to know that is BS…

  5. The anecdotal evidence suggests your view is correct.

    I'll offer another piece of anecdotal evidence to support it – gun club membership.

    I'm the membership secretary for a private gun club. In 2008, our membership was approximately 1,850. Today our membership is approximately 2,600. And this is after the huge impact that the Global Economic Crisis took on membership.

    While many new members were long time gun owners, the number of new owners is outpacing prior owners.

    Bob S.

  6. I react the same way Anonymous does. I hang up immediately. I suspect many surveys then interpret my non-answers to be what they preferred them to be.

  7. I enjoy talking to survey takers, though I would never tell one I own a firearm.

    Be creative, lie like a Clinton.


  8. Polls are automatically suspect. Generally the reason a poll is conducted is for someone to try to prove a point. Poll methodology is subject to the whim of who is paying for the poll.
    Another tactic is selecting the demographics, ie: college students, inner city residents, etc.
    I would not answer questions such as "do I own a gun" and I am sure many of the people polled did not answer honestly.
    Bob S. has it right, there are a lot of new shooters and gun owners, but the anti rights types would love to show (using polls) that we are in the minority and fading fast.
    What they don't understand is that even if we were a minority it doesn't make a difference as rights are not subject to vote in a Constitutional Republic thereby avoiding the tyranny of the majority
    Paul in Texas

  9. I think I'm going to get a recording of one of those old time REALLY scary clown laughs so I can be ready for such a survey. Darn. I never get in on the fun.

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