The Gallup Poll released a report today showing that self-reported gun ownership is at the highest level in 18 years. Currently, 47% of American households report that they have either a firearm in their home or somewhere else on their property. This is an increase from last year when only 41% of homes reported a firearm.
The bottom line according to Gallup is this:
A clear societal change took place regarding gun ownership in the early 1990s, when the percentage of Americans saying there was a gun in their home or on their property dropped from the low to mid-50s into the low to mid-40s and remained at that level for the next 15 years. Whether this reflected a true decline in gun ownership or a cultural shift in Americans’ willingness to say they had guns is unclear. However, the new data suggest that attitudes may again be changing. At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades — a finding that may be related to Americans’ dampened support for gun-control laws. However, to ensure that this year’s increase reflects a meaningful rebound in reported gun ownership, it will be important to see whether the uptick continues in future polling.
While gun ownership is highest among men, Republicans, and Southerners, what is most interesting to me is not that there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans but that self-identified Democrats or Democrat-leaning who report having a firearm rose from 32% to 40%. (See graph on gun ownership by Party ID.) This would correlate strongly with what Sebastian reported earlier about support for a handgun-ban being at record lows.