Gun ownership numbers

Via David Hardy we have:

telephone surveys result in numbers that are significantly too low, as by an eighth to a tenth, even when the ownership is completely legal.

These were old studies (1990 and 1995) but let’s assuming they are still valid.

This is where gun ownership is legal and doesn’t count situations such as Chicago or D.C. where gun ownership is highly problematic. So lets go with the “low by an eighth” number or:

0.875 x OwnershipRate = ReportedRate
OwnershipRate = ReportedRate/0.875
OwnershipRate = 1.14286 x ReportedRate

The reported rate for 2014 is 34% so the true ownership rate is approximately 39%.


4 thoughts on “Gun ownership numbers

  1. The same, only more so, goes for the survey numbers about defensive gun use (the famous Kleck survey).

  2. How do they count my response of “Thanks but I’m not interested (click)”?

    How do they count my response of not answering the phone in the first place? Is that a wash, or is it an indicator suggestive of gun ownership? Taking the call, but declining to answer the question; how does that fit into the numbers? thos who don;t answer, or decline to answer, would most likely, or more certainly, have more of the “leave me alone” attitude that suggests gun ownership. What about not having a phone at all? What percentage of people with no phone at all are gun owners?

    What does any of this have to do with the question of whether or not human rights should be acknowledged and protected? IS THERE a question of whether or not human rights shoud be acknowledged and protected?

    My current thesis is that only Progressives (“social engineer” types) take polls and keep statistics of this general nature. To one guided by principles, such poll taking and numbers keeping is of no use or consequence. Market research for a business is one possible exception, and even there, my guiding principles tell me that if I make a good product, people will buy it, whether or not I asked them in advance. If I ask them in advance, and change my product design accordingly, I end up with a “committee model”

    There is the story of a line of musical instruments marketed as the “Committee Model” series. It was to take the musical instrument world by storm. It Could. Not. Lose. It could not lose because each instrument was “designed” by a committee of some of THE BEST AND MOST FAMOUSEST players of the time, and how can you go wrong with THAT (O.M.G.)?

    It flopped. What’s that saying about too many cooks? Taking a poll for product development then is to demonstrate that you never had anything to begin with. If you had, you wouldn’t need to ask. You’d know. Who new, for example, that everyone “wanted” a personal computer? No one. Until some time after they were first showed one. You can’t want something you don’t understand. Them that built the first ones understood that once people actually saw what could be done with a PC, they’d want one. That was enough. Now we all carry them around in our pockets, though the Big Cheezes at IBM wondered WTF would anyone want a computer in their home for? Experts.

    • The Browning M2 heavy machine gun. Designed by one man, still in use nearly a century and two world wars later. The M60 medium machine gun. Designed by committee implementing Best Features ™ from around the world, a POS from day one and while still technically in use by many nations it’s slowly being replaced as funding allows and usage demands.

  3. I think it’s even less than the numbers suggest.

    If you look the gun ownership survey numbers from Gallup, there was a *MASSIVE* drop in the percentage of people saying they owned guns back in the early 1990’s, from the high 40’s to low 50s percentage-wise, down to the high 30’s by the end of the decade.

    Look at the drop between October 1993 to July 1996: It went from 51% down to 38%. There were 105 million households in the US in 1990, so that implies that within less than 3 years the number of households owning guns dropped by approximately 14 million.

    I find that rather hard to believe.

    So what else was going on in that time frame? The Brady Law. The Assault Weapons Ban. The beginnings of the moral panic about school shootings. Fallout from the incidents at Ruby Ridge, ID and Waco, TX. Is it any wonder that gun owners might have gotten a little paranoid about answering questions about gun ownership?

    It never really recovered from that drop during the first Clinton Administration. To my eye, the gun ownership self-reporting rate averaged in the high 40’s until then, and afterwards it jumps around in the high 30’s to low 40’s.

    Another telling thing to notice: The lowest point on that graph, at 34%, was on April 26-27th 1999, just one week after the Columbine shooting.

    It’s my hypothesis that surveys of gun ownership are essentially worthless, because there is evidence of massive under-reporting, perhaps more than twice what the papers that David Hardy find: Unless there was a massive influx of used guns in the market in the mid 1990’s (something I don’t remember, in fact, quite the opposite: Clinton was lauded as the gun salesman of the century) it’s more like 25% of the people who actually do have a gun in the household falsely claim that they don’t, and it could actually be much higher.

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