Gun Owners Add to Their Stockpile

Christopher Ingraham: “There are nearly twice as many guns in the average gun-owning household today as there were 20 years ago, according to new Wonkblog estimates based data from surveys and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2013, there were an estimated 8.1 firearms in the typical gun-owning household, according to these data. In 1994, the average gun-owning household owned 4.2 guns.”

“For many owners guns are like tools, and you need different tools for different jobs: a rifle for hunting deer. A shotgun for hunting duck. A pistol for self-defense. An AR-15 for fun. Etc.”

“But in recent years, it seems many gun owners have seen fit to expand their toolboxes. There are probably a number of factors driving this: fear-stoking by some gun rights groups in the wake of mass shootings can lead to surges in gun-buying from existing owners concerned the government could take  their guns away. The rising popularity of ‘prepper’ groups, who stock up on food and firearms in preparation for a variety of coming apocalypses, may also be playing a role.”

 

FavoriteLoadingSave to Favorites
  • Calbengoshi

    Notwithstanding the quote in the article, the AR-15 was designed to be used for anti-personnel purposes in a military context, and not for “fun.”

    However, the article is correct in saying that for many (but certainly not all) gun owners it makes sense to own more than one firearm. Those who hunt different types of game, from small birds to large birds and from small rodents (e.g., squirrels, rabbits, etc.) to larger animals, typically use different types/sizes of firearm depending on the species being hunted.

    The problem in this country, however, is that a large number of people who never go hunting own firearms, and they tend to be the ones who use firearms in committing crimes (including crimes of passion) and/or whose firearms are used in accidental shooting deaths. Those who hunt also sometimes use firearms improperly, but I think to a lesser degree than those who own firearms but do not use them for hunting. After all, one who uses a firearm to kill an animal, especially an animal as large as a deer or an elk, is fully aware of what that firearm actually can do. and understands the feeling that comes with killing another living creature.

    • pisher

      Fewer and fewer Americans hunt these days. Many who do hunt with bows and arrows, to create more of a challenge (and avoid scaring game away). Hunting isn’t really the issue here, and I see fewer and fewer gun owners trying to justify gun ownership that way. The issue is that a minority of Americans are afraid of their fellow Americans, and are arming themselves for some coming attack.

      “I need all these guns to protect myself from the government that’s going to come and take all my guns!”

      There’s also a millennarian aspect to it–the private arsenal today takes the place of the fall-out shelter back in the 1950’s. When the angry non-white mobs, the foreign invaders, the Obama coup, or the shambling legions of the Walking Dead appear, they’ll happily jeer at their unarmed neighbors “We told you so!”

      Most of us feel insecure because there are too many guns, but the guns to these people represent security. The fact is, guns can be used for self-defense, and often are. It’s just that the presence of so many of them in a largely peaceful society means that far more often they will be used to break the peace than keep it.

      • Calbengoshi

        I agree with most of what you say, but in the absence of supporting statistics I cannot agree with your assertion that guns “often are” used in self-defense.

        • pisher

          That’s nit-picking. We can acknowledge that in certain situations a gun comes in handy (as Joe Biden did when he told home-owners to buy shotguns instead of handguns or assault rifles) without acknowledging the need for all this armament.

          And you know as well as I do that good statistics don’t exist on this issue, nor is that an accident.

          • Calbengoshi

            You were the one who made the assertion as if it were factual, so I don’t think it is “nit-picking” to challenge the accuracy of your assertion. And while I acknowledge that there may be some situations in which a firearm might come in handy and not subject a user who lacks combat training to more danger of harm than being without a firearm, I think those situations are very rare.

            Like you, I have no statistics to back up what I think in this regard. However, unlike you, I have not claimed that what I think is a fact.

          • pisher

            Again, nitpicking. If the only agreement you can accept is total, it’s hard to take you seriously. You didn’t cite a single statistic to back up anything you said in your first post. Probably because you considered them all ‘common sense’ statements. Like “Hunters are less likely to kill people because they kill animals on a regular basis.” Interesting idea–can you back it up? One could argue that killing large mammals would desensitize some people, and make it more likely that they’d shoot people. And of course, hunters are constantly shooting people by accident. You will remember the incident with Mr. Cheney. That was a relatively mild example.

            Saying that in high crime areas, people with guns may often find them useful is a common sense statement. There is nothing wrong with people having guns to protect their homes in some situations. I still think that carrying guns around in public places, and leaving them where kids can get at them creates more problems than it solves.

            We’d save a lot of lives if we banned all private gun ownership–but vastly more if we banned private automobile ownership, forcing everyone to take mass transit (obviously it would be necessary to create decent mass transit in the very large portion of this country that has none). Not even Bernie Sanders would propose that (of course, he’s well to the right of either of us on guns, because he’s from Vermont).

            I can acknowledge that guns are sometimes useful without having to cite statistics. That is a common sense statement. Which I followed by saying that the ready availability of guns designed solely for killing people will invariably create more crimes than it prevents.

            Why are we arguing?

            Well, I’m arguing. You’re nitpicking. Not the same thing. 😉

  • Calbengoshi

    Notwithstanding the quote in the article, the AR-15 was designed to be used for anti-personnel purposes in a military context, and not for “fun.”

    However, the article is correct in saying that for many (but certainly not all) gun owners it makes sense to own more than one firearm. Those who hunt different types of game, from small birds to large birds and from small rodents (e.g., squirrels, rabbits, etc.) to larger animals, typically use different types/sizes of firearm depending on the species being hunted.

    The problem in this country, however, is that a large number of people who never go hunting own firearms, and they tend to be the ones who use firearms in committing crimes (including crimes of passion) and/or whose firearms are used in accidental shooting deaths. Those who hunt also sometimes use firearms improperly, but I think to a lesser degree than those who own firearms but do not use them for hunting. After all, one who uses a firearm to kill an animal, especially an animal as large as a deer or an elk, is fully aware of what that firearm actually can do. and understands the feeling that comes with killing another living creature.

Read previous post:
Do Higher Marriage Levels Drive Economic Strength?

Washington Post: "According to new research, states with a high concentration of married couples experience faster economic growth, less child...

Close