Question about Why People Own Guns and What Kind of Guns They Own

Gun Culture 2.0

Question: Why do people own guns?

Surveys typically offer people several options to describe their motivations, usually including: hunting, collecting, recreation, and personal protection or self-defense. Over the past 20 years, self-defense has replaced hunting as the primary reason for gun ownership for Americans.

Some surveys allow people to list multiple reasons, for example the 2015 National Firearms Survey:

  • 63% Protection against people
  • 40% Hunting
  • 34% Collecting
  • 28% Sporting use

Similarly, a 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center finds the following “major” reasons for gun ownership:

  • 67% Protection
  • 38% Hunting
  • 30% Sport shooting
  • 13% Collecting
  • 8% Work

Some surveys force people to choose one reason as primary, such as a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center:

  • 48% Protection
  • 32% Hunting
  • 7% Target/sport shooting
  • 2% Constitutional right
  • 2% Collecting
  • 7% Other

According to the 2013 Pew report, the percentage answering protection was up from 26% in 1999…

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