Monday, April 16, 2012

Some Simple Facts About Gun Ownership (Surprise!)

There are few stats on Women in their Underwear Who Own Guns, but the pix is good
Those of us who believe gun ownership in the United States should have significant limitations, got a bit of a boost with the new issue of The New Yorker Magazine and an article by Jill Lepore titled "Battleground America."

The story presented these simple facts:

  • There are about 300,000,000 (300 million) privately-owned firearms in the U.S., one per person. That breaks out to 106 million handguns, 105 million rifles, 38 million shotguns.
  • We're No. 1 (in the rate of civilian gun ownership in the world) and No. 2 Yeman has half as many guns per capita as we do.
  • That said, most Americans don't own guns (which makes one wonder why in the hell the gun laws are as they are). Three fourths of people who own a gun in the U.S., own two or more. Gun ownership, in fact, has declined in the past several decades. In 1973 half our households had guns; in 2010 it was 1 in 3. Thirty years ago, a third of Americans owned guns. That's down to 20 percent.
  • Men own guns at a rate of 1 in 3 (half in 1980) and women have remained steady at about 1 in 10 (though NRA scare tactics has kept that stat from falling).
  • Another surprise: Gun ownership is higher among white people than among blacks. It is, of course, higher in the country than in the city, and among older people than younger people.

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