A study released by Pew Research Center on Aug. 10 found that 72 percent of the gun-owning citizens it polled in early June cited protection as their primary purpose for owning a firearm. The figure represents a five percent increase when compared to the firm’s same question in 2017. Violent protests, widespread social unrest and calls to defund law enforcement plagued the nation during that six-year gap.
The survey, conducted June 5 to 11, 2023, also inquired if those participants who do not currently own a firearm foresee possessing a gun in the future. Forty-seven percent said they could, roughly an identical result from the company’s findings in the previous study. Men were more likely to purchase than women.
Black non-gun-owning citizens are far more willing to consider buying a firearm than any other demographic—66 percent. Whites took a distant second at 48 percent, followed by Hispanic (40 percent) and Asian Americans (38 percent).
Of those 5,115 participants who have already exercised their Second Amendment rights, 81 percent said they feel safer owning a gun. Even the majority of people who do not own a firearm, but live in a household that has one, feel safer—57 percent. Only 12 percent of them are worried or concerned about a firearm being under their roof.
Pew Research Center findings, however, are based on responses from members of its American Trends Panel. Some of the results, including only a quarter of women surveyed owning a gun, are disputed by a variety of industry studies. The center’s report admits, “Measuring gun ownership in the United States comes with a unique set of challenges. Unlike many demographic measures, there is not a definitive data source from the government or elsewhere on how many American adults own guns.”
Underreporting of firearm ownership, largely fueled by privacy concerns, is a widely accepted fact by most researchers. A recent study out of Rutgers University New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, for example, claimed gun ownership in the United States could be as high as double of today’s most widely circulated estimates.