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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, May 16th, 2013

The pundits say that gun owners are a smaller-than-ever minority, and that a majority of American homes are “gun-free.” (I hate that phrase, “gun-free.” No, guns are not vermin. Anything which sounds that helpless as “gun-free” can’t be A Good Thing.)

Let’s look at some recent statistics, though.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports their recent survey of gun dealers that in 2012, about 25% of their sales were to first-time gun owners.

My friend and colleague Dave Workman – such a solid resource that I find myself linking to his stuff more often in this blog than any other source – observes that some 15,000 new concealed carry permits were processed last month in his home state of Washington alone. The list of permit holders increased by more than 60,000 there since May of 2012.

Brother Workman quotes another outstanding source of solid information, Howard Nemerov of PJ Media, who in turn cites a recent Gallup poll showing that 47% of American adults have firearms at home. .  Sounds like a pretty substantial “minority” to me.

Obviously, density of gun ownership is a regional thing. You’ll have fewer guns in Manhattan high-rises, and more in rural farmhouses and on Western ranches, where guns are working tools as well as self-defense implements.

And, let us not forget, a whole lot of folks don’t want to tell strangers that they have guns, whether or not the stranger has identified himself or herself as a pollster. The media has, for decades, stigmatized gun owners. Besides, who wants to announce having in their house one of the very few things besides prescription drugs that thieves can peddle in the underworld for more than their intrinsic value, instead of pennies on the dollar?

We aren’t an overwhelming national majority, but we sure aren’t the weak and fading shadow the Prohibitionists wish we were.

Dave Workman ( left), Mas (center) and Tom Gresham (right) show how anti-gun media reacts to statistics favoring gun owners.

The Three Wise Men

26 Responses to “THE REAL STATISTICS”

  1. Paul Edwards Says:

    I’d go about 75% to 25% Mas.

    The bought and paid for Lame Stream Media comprises 75% Lies, and protective gun owners tell pollsters “I got no Stinking Gun” about 25% of the time.

  2. Stu Strickler Says:

    Thanks for an update on the truth, Mas!

  3. Norm Emminger Says:

    How many times do we have to learn the lessons of “Prohibition”?

  4. Roger in NC Says:

    Mas, as you suggested, I believe that the perception that gun ownership is declining is derived from flawed polls and good folks who lie to pollsters about their guns (bless their hearts). The suggested decline in gun ownership reflected in the various polls correlates with the timing and degree of distrust of our government. I would not be surprised at all if the true ownership ratio was now well above 50%. Of course, that does not include myself since all of my guns inexplicably disappeared one night while I was watching Piers Morgan win an argument with Ted Nugent over the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment. Damnedest thing.

  5. HKlover Says:

    Your picture accurately depicts the Obama administration

  6. Old NFO Says:

    You’ve nailed that one Mas, and no the media does NOT want anything positive having to do with guns… sigh

  7. Carl Price Says:

    Is that threesome, parodying the media:
    See not the Truth
    Hear not the Truth
    Speak not the Truth???

  8. Bill Meinhardt Says:

    This is Kentucky. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t own a firearm .

  9. glenbo Says:

    I’m part of those who don’t have any guns, since I lost all of them in a tragic boating accident late one rainy night in a rented boat, in a storm. Don’t remember why I had them all, either.

  10. Ted Says:

    Good morning Mr. Ayoob. Love your work. Slightly off topic – I just read a second article in which you mention that you cannot use your thumb to “safely” ease back the hammer of a Smith & Wesson Centennial revolver to check rotation of the cylinder with loaded rounds in place. You CAN slide a business card corner first under the cylinder from front to back to force the bolt downward and free the cylinder to rotate. It does cause the cylinder to rub against the card but it allows you to safely check to be sure that a high primer or thick cartridge rim will not hinder rotation of the cylinder. Just wanted to pass that on.

  11. Matt Says:

    I conducted my own ‘random poll’ yesterday during lunch at work. I stood up in the break room and asked everyone on my shift to raise their hands if they own any kind of gun. There were 14 people in the lunch room (counting me) and TEN people held up their hands. One of the remaining four said ‘I don’t but my dad has a bunch of rifles and shotguns, for hunting, and I live with him.’

    That’s in the suburbs of Atlanta, to put it in geographical perspective. I, for one, do not believe any of these ‘polls’ that report low numbers of gun owners and high numbers of people supporting more restrictive gun ownership laws.

  12. Jaji Says:

    Having worked for a polling agency (Quinnipiac) several years ago I can state that on most occasions they polled New York City. We were given a list of 1000 randomly generated phone numbers within a certain area code and phone prefix, and had to achieve a 2/3 response rate to submit our calls as “valid”.

    Whenever you hear of a poll that claims that “The American People feel XY or Z”, know that chances are that is the opinion based on questions asked of approximately 667 New Yorkers.

    An aside: One irate person on the other end of the phone asked me how I got her “prescription number that the doctor gave her; nobody was supposed to have that number”. Yeah, real mental giants…

  13. Jack Says:

    I was born in NYC and remember always having an interest in guns because I wanted to be a police officer and saw numerous city homes of friends and relatives with large gun collections in gun cabinets in plain site of us kids in the early 60’s. I also saw many men carrying concealed snub-nosed revolvers in their pockets friends of my dad as well visiting at my parents home for self protection we were a mile from JFK airport the 60’s brought many changes and dangers. When I moved to a rural area of Florida as a teen with my family in 1971 guns were 100 times greater and all over the place, even in my high school parking lot hanging from kids pick up truck windows. So from NYC to Florida guns are all over the place, any survey that shows those skewed numbers is false.

  14. snuggles Says:

    I never tell a surveyor that I have a gun.

  15. Tim from CO Says:

    I personally wouldn’t respond to a survey regarding firearms. Unless it was from Springfield or S&W etc.

    My absolute favorite statistic is “The gun industry is shrinking…” yet “The powerful gun-lobby stops all common-sense reform”.

    You know… might be a guess… but maybe the gun-lobby is powerful because of the people who support it? Nah, couldn’t be that. It’s the gun-industry. They stay in business, not because people buy firearms, but because Obama gave the gun-industry a bail out. 😛

  16. Josh Welch Says:

    An argument by the liberals for gun prohibition is that 90% of the people were in favor of the last background check bill that didn’t even survive the senate. (I don’t know where they got that statistic, nobody asked me.) And that the senate didn’t pass the bill because they were afraid of losing re-election. I want to know why the Senators are afraid of losing re-election if 90% of all people were for the gun bill?

  17. David Keough Says:

    To me, survey’s can be used to mis-lead the public. Our government, knows better than to blame crime on weapons like an AR-15. Their mission is to mis-inform.

  18. Jim Says:

    Terrific photo!

  19. james Says:

    Polls can be tainted by the way they are asked. Just because some asks a question about common sense gun control, that is too broad of a target. I do believe in the current background check system, but I do not think more controls need to be added. What is needed is the enforcement of the current laws. When a pollster calls me, I have fun with it. I usually answer “That question is too broad and can be construed to back one political group.

  20. Patrick Says:

    AG Harris Bans All New Semiautomatic Handguns in California

    California’s Kamala Harris, the best-looking attorney general in the nation, has signed a letter mandating micro stamping technology for all new semiautomatic handguns being sold in the Golden State. [Read the letter here.] Any new model handgun must have a microstamped serial number somewhere on the gun’s frame and a firing pin that stamps a unique number onto the cartridge before (or as) it ignites the primer. I immediately reached out to Brandon Combs of the Firearms Policy Coalition to confirm. Confirmed. Brandon has assured me that the Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale is being challenged in court as a whole. Meanwhile for those Golden State gun buyers this means . . .

    Californians who surmount the paperwork and scrutiny required to purchase a handgun can still buy any of the handguns on the current Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. But that’s about it. As of today, all new models which manufacturers want to introduce for sale in California will need to follow the new guidelines. They’ve got to be capable of microstamping.

    There’s not a single handgun manufactured in the United States that microstamps a cartridge. Not one. Why should there be? The technology is both expensive and useless (the firing pin can be replaced or sanded down in seconds) and consumers may well balk at the idea. So gun makers looking to introduce new models into California are going to have to design and build handguns that microstamp or . . . nothing.

    Chance are they’ll walk away. Even without this microstamping misegos, gunmakers are dropping California compliant models. The state’s registry of acceptable gats has declined by half since its introduction, from 2400 models to 1279 today. SIG SAUER “lost” 17 models in the month of March alone.

    There may come a time when California gun shops may have only a dozen or so new handgun models for sale. Or, perhaps, none. Think that’s an exaggeration? California still has no less than 46 civilian disarmament bills floating around in the Sacramento legislature. It’s a slave state for sure

  21. Dave Oliver Says:

    if the anti gun people say we don’t need guns in our society then why do we need the capability of over 100 mph in the vehicles we operate?

  22. Uncle Dave Says:

    Lying, has never bothered the other side.

  23. JMD Says:

    If guns are disappearing from American homes, then the anti-gun crowd must have won. Time to declare mission accomplished and close up shop, I say.

    A year or two ago I saw a poll on a gun blog asking if you would tell a pollster that you owned any guns. While the sample group was admittedly biased, over 90% of respondents said they would lie to pollsters and say that they didn’t own any guns.

  24. Dennis Says:

    I agree. If gun ownership is in decline, they need to just step back and watch the “problem” die a slow death. Evidently they do not believe their own polls or they wouldn’t be so upset. I wish I had not sold all my guns years ago in that gun buy-back program……….

  25. xteeth Says:

    The most likely thing to have happen in your home if you have a firearm there is the injury of you or one of your family members. The odds are really bad. Originally, 43 to 1 by Kellerman. So what if it is only 20 to 1. As fearful as you are, still the most likely event is you or yours getting injured. A really bad bet.

  26. Mas Says:

    xteeth, you picked a weak horse to ride in here with. The Kellerman study is widely considered a classic example of “how to lie with statistics.”

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