Guns in the United States have become concentrated in a number of “super-owners,” while more women are also exercising their Second Amendment rights, according to results from a survey published Monday by the Guardian.
The survey, considered to be one of the best glimpses into American gun ownership in more than 20 years, says there are more than 70 million new guns in American homes but that ownership has still declined from 25 percent to 22 percent since 1994. The study, conducted last year by public health researchers from Harvard and Northeastern universities in Massachusetts, showed the number of guns increased from 192 million in 1994 to 265 million in 2015, a 38 percent total increase. About 71 percent of that jump came from handguns.
But while the total American stockpile has increased, the survey showed that 130 million of the 265 million total guns are actually owned by just three percent of the adult population. “Super-owners” possess on average 17 guns each, according to the Guardian. With more women seeking to protect themselves, the report “found that the proportion of female gun owners is increasing as fewer men own guns.”
The statistics unearthed in the study largely mirror a poll conducted in June by CBS News following the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. That survey found that gun ownership in American households had reached an almost 40-year low, with only 36 percent of adults claiming to own a fire arm. It’s the lowest percentage since 1978, and 17 points lower than the record high in 1994.
"Gun owners remain a potent political force in the U.S., due largely to the successful efforts of advocacy groups like the NRA. But survey data showing declining gun ownership suggests that the NRA has been successful largely by channeling the energy and intensity of an existing gun-owning base, rather than by broadening that base and bringing more supporters into the fold," the Washington Post wrote at the time.