Thursday, March 14, 2013

Curious Numbers

(Click on image to enlarge and then boogie on back.)

Why, yes.  It is David Horsey Week at Cab Drollery, primarily because once again the man is on fire.  This cartoon and column has to do with an interesting poll which dealt with gun ownership.

According to the General Social Survey, a project of the independent research organization NORC, the number of U.S. households with guns dropped from 50% in 1973 to 34% in 2012. This decline has shown up everywhere, including the historically gun-toting regions of the South and West.

According to researchers, just 23% of people in urban areas have guns, compared with 56% of country folk. Even that rural percentage is down from 70% in the 1970s. The number of hunters is dropping fast. Only 10% of women own firearms. Most young people are shunning guns -- just 23% of those under 30 have guns now, compared with 47% four decades ago. Latinos are a growing segment of the population, but their gun ownership numbers are small.

Democrats and independents have disarmed in droves. The number of Democrats with guns is half what it was when the first survey was taken in 1973. The only two demographic groups that have kept their fingers on the trigger are the elderly, holding steady at 43%, and Republicans, up slightly at 51%.

What may at first seem odd is how these numbers contrast with the many recent stories about gun shops selling out their inventory as people react to the push for tighter regulation of firearms. Who is buying all those assault rifles and handguns? Apparently, there are no statistics that can give us a definite answer, but I have a pretty good guess. ...

If the pollsters are correct, there are a whole lot of people in this country who live in an alternate reality woven from the exaggerations and outright lies of Internet fabulists, talk radio screamers and NRA propagandists. These people tend to be old, male and Republican -- the same folks who have not given up on guns.

So, the answer to the riddle seems fairly obvious: While more and more Americans are finding guns unnecessary for sport or protection, the most paranoid among us are building personal arsenals and driving gun sales through the roof.    [Emphasis added]

A warning:  I tend to be a little skeptical of poll results these days.  Too often there is a bias and that bias shows up in the selection of people polled and in the way questions are phrased.  That said, if the survey David is talking about is even minimally fair, those are some pretty astounding numbers.

I have family members who hunt, and I doubt they've turned in their deer rifles or duck-hunting shotguns.  I also know some liberals who collect guns and see nothing wrong with owning what I would call "assault rifles."  I doubt, however, that they've gone out to WalMart or gone on line to order large magazines, thousands of rounds of ammunition, or a few more military style automatic weapons.  If I'm wrong, my nephew will set me straight in comments.

That said, the danger is not so much from the hunters or the collectors, but from those who would steal those weapons, or those who would use them out of paranoia.  For those reasons, Horsey's comments and the findings of the poll he cites are grounds for some hope at the very least.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:27 AM  
Blogger John Gardner said...

I wouldn't say there's a drop in ownership. I'd say there's a drop in people who "claim" to own guns.

With the way gun ownership has been vilified lately, especially by the creation of an artificial class of "assault" weapons, whose definition changes daily, a lot of people I know will flat out say "No" if you ask them if they own guns.

"Nope, lost them all in a tragic boating accident" is the internet meme version of the answer.

In my circles, during the last few months, a lot of people have stories of neighbors or previously anti-gun friends asking them for recommendations on what to buy, etc. And a lot of those kinds of people would flat out be embarrassed or afraid of the reaction of their friends if they knew they were gun owners.

Have I bought standard capacity magazines lately? No, because there almost impossible to find with the current paninc buying going on. thousands of rounds of ammo? Nope, because the prices are outrageous!

8:12 AM  
Blogger John Gardner said...

oh, and one more thing: Apparently, a lot of people seem to think that gun "sport" = hunting, which is not the case.

There are tons of other kinds of sport shooting, from things like trap or skeet, with a shotgun and clay pigeons, to things like IDPA and IPSC's "practical" or "defensive" shooting, where you shoot small timed stages where you typically draw from a holster and engage targets in a simulated environment. There is cowboy action shooting, where people use period reproduction revolvers and rifles to shoot from moving horses.

There is "3-gun" competition, where you're using a pistol, rifle (aka, "scary black assault weapon with the thing that goes up", if you're a senator) and a shotgun.

There are tons of other marksmanship events, like "appleseed" shoots, competitions at Camp Perry, there are events where all competitors use classic service weapons like the M1 Garand, etc. (interestingly, in the currently proposed "assault" weapon bill, the garand isn't considered an assault weapon because it doesn't take detachable magazines, it uses 8 round clips instead, and clips are not magazines! but it does have several other features that purport to make it scary and assaulty to the enemies it faced through like 50 years of service in the military around the world...)

8:24 AM  

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