The Washington Post, reporting a CBS News poll, claims: 'American gun ownership drops to lowest in nearly 40 years'.
According to the survey, which was conducted among 1,001 Americans in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting, 36 percent of U.S. adults either own a firearm personally, or live with someone who does. That's the lowest rate of gun ownership in the CBS poll going back to 1978. It's down 17 points from the highest recorded rate in 1994, and nearly 10 percentage points from 2012.
. . .
But gun purchases, as measured by FBI firearm background checks, are at historic highs. And data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms shows that gun manufacturers are churning out record numbers of guns. Many gun rights advocates argue that these figures mean that the overall number of gun owners is growing: If more guns are being sold, more people must be owning guns.
But the declining rates of gun ownership across three major national surveys suggest a different explanation: that most of the rise in gun purchases is driven by existing gun owners stocking up, rather than by people buying their first gun. A Washington Post analysis last year found that the average American gun owner now owns approximately eight firearms, double the number in the 1990s.
There's more at the link.
This is, of course, a completely erroneous conclusion. I can demonstrate that from my own experience. As regular readers will know, I've trained disabled and handicapped shooters for many years. I've helped well over a hundred people to obtain their first gun, often letting them shoot examples from my collection in order to make their selection, then showing them how to find one at a reasonable price, either from gunshops or via sources such as Armslist. I've personally donated something like three dozen firearms over that period to people who couldn't afford to buy them (disability income being notoriously low), and I've had friends (and even a couple of gun shops) do the same. The recipients were all, without exception, new gun owners.
During the same period, I've watched (and sometimes helped) my friends introduce other new shooters to the safe handling of firearms, and assisted them to select their first (and often subsequent) guns based on their particular needs. I've also built up long-standing ties with several firearms vendors, who all (without exception) assure me that over the past few years, they've been getting novices coming in to their stores in ever-increasing numbers to buy their first firearm for self-, home- and family defense. Many are returning to buy more guns for other members of their family.
What I think this poll reflects is an entirely justifiable caution among gun owners. "Let's see . . . a total stranger has just called me, wanting to know whether I have guns in my home. Suuuure, I believe they're who they say they are and I trust their good intentions - NOT!!!" Who's to say the caller is, indeed, a pollster, and not a criminal wanting to pick the best possible target for his burglary? There's also the fact that we live in a politically correct environment where guns are being demonized by their opponents. Why should we voluntarily identify ourselves as targets for such nonsense? For that matter, if gun confiscation is potentially on some politician's agenda, why should we identify ourselves as having something for them to confiscate? (In my case it's too late to worry about that, but for others, not so much.)
No. I absolutely don't buy the CBS News poll results, and I think the Washington Post's analysis is way off beam. Sure, existing gun owners probably have increased the size of their collections; but there are also millions of new gun owners out there. I'm delighted to say that I've helped well over a hundred of them to become such. I'll do my best to double that figure over the next few years!