Gun Ownership Up One Percent In One Month

| March 5, 2013

The Facts

The latest NBC/WSJ poll indicates that the number of households reporting gun ownership rose a full percentage point in just one month.

Ownership currently stands at 42%.

In comparison, gun ownership rose just 3 points since January, 2011.


Owner Demographics

First, there’s a gender split, with more men saying they own a gun (48 percent) than women (36 percent).

It also varies, of course, by region. There are more gun owners in the South (50 percent) than anywhere else. The Northeast has the fewest (28 percent).

There’s also an urban-rural split. Just 34 percent of those who live in cities said they own a gun, but six-in-10 rural respondents do (59 percent). (Just 41 percent of those who live in the suburbs do.)

And there’s a Democratic-Republican split as well – just 30 percent of Democrats say they own a gun, while 55 percent of Republicans do. Forty-nine percent of independents said so.

By race, whites own more guns than minorities. Nearly half of whites (47 percent) said they own a gun. Just one-in-five African Americans said so (20 percent) and just 28 percent of Hispanics.

Trend Reversing

The numbers match up with similar polls taken by Gallup, Pew, GSS, and others. All indicate the general reversal of a generation-long trend towards fewer guns.

The number of households owning guns declined from almost 50% in 1973 to just over 32% in 2010, according to a 2011 study produced by The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. The number of gun owners had gone down almost 10% over the same period.

However, fears over gun and assault weapon bans have driven gun sales higher.


  1. February, 2013 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll
  2. A Shrinking Minority: The Continuing Decline of Gun Ownership in America (PDF)

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