Society

Gun Ownership On A Steady Decline

| by Sasha Melendez-Goldman
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According to the latest data from the General Social Survey (GSS), household and personal gun ownership is on the decline in the United States. 

The GSS, which is conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, revealed that household gun ownership hit its peak in 1977, at 53.7 percent. By 2014, household gun ownership had dropped to 32.4 percent, and personal gun ownership fell from 30.5 percent in 1985 to 22.4 percent in 2014, The Huffington Post reports. Thus, just a little over one in five people owned guns in the U.S. last year.

Those who reported having a gun in their household from data collected between 2010 and 2014 were 39 percent Caucasian, 18.1 percent African America, and 15.2 percent Hispanic. The survey also found that “households with firearms are concentrated in rural areas and in regions with more residents living in rural areas," according to the NORC.

The GSS revealed that the NRA's marketing campaign toward women and younger generations has been seemingly unsuccessful. The survey showed little change in these demographics, as the Violence Policy Center reports: “Personal ownership of firearms has not appreciably change[d] for women from 1980 through 2014. Between nine percent and 14 percent of women personally owned a firearm during those years and there is no meaningful trend in the level of personal ownership." Targeting “young guns” has also not increased the numbers of gun owners under the age of 35. Data taken from 1980 shows 23.5 percent of gun owners were under 35 while the 2014 data showed a drop to 14 percent.

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The possible reasons for this downward trend cited by the GSS were: the aging of the current-gun owning population -- primarily white males, a lack of interest in guns by youths, the end of military conscription, the decreasing popularity of hunting, land-use issues that limit hunting and other shooting activities, environmental and zoning issues that force shooting ranges to close and limit new range construction, and the increase in single-parent homes headed by women.

Sources:  The Huffington Post, The Violence Policy Center

Photo Credit: The Gun Store Las Vegas, mashable.com