Survey Finds Americans Use A Gun For Self-Defense 1.67 Million Times Annually

Responders reported that most incidents are resolved without any shots being fired.

by
posted on September 15, 2022
gun owners survey

A recent survey conducted by William English, from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, found “….that guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year.” The number is the product of an exhaustive effort in early 2021, when roughly 54 thousand U.S. residents over the age of 18 were polled. In all,16,708 of the people who participated owned a firearm and, “…approximately a third of gun owners (31.1 percent) have used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on more than one occasion…” the study’s abstract explains.

“[I]n most defensive incidents (81.9 percent) no shot was fired,” English wrote, confirming the inaccuracy of studies that rely exclusively on shots-fired or injury reports provided by law enforcement or other government sources. “Handguns are the most common firearm employed for self-defense (used in 65.9 percent of defensive incidents)…,” he wrote. “Approximately a quarter (25.2 percent) of defensive incidents occurred within the gun owner's home, and approximately half (53.9 percent) occurred outside their home, but on their property. About one out of ten (9.1 percent) defensive gun uses occurred in public, and about one out of thirty (3.2 percent) occurred at work.”

Nearly 82 million Americans own at least one gun, according to English’s findings, and they don’t fit the historical stereotype. Overall, females account for 42.2 percent of the ownership. More than a quarter of African Americans in the United States own guns (25.4 percent), 28.3 percent of the Hispanic population does and so do 19.4 percent of Asians. The figure is 34.3 percent among white Americans.

Roughly 415 million firearms are owned by Americans, 171 million of them handguns. There are 146 million rifles and 98 million shotguns, according to the survey results. Thirty-nine million people, roughly, have owned or own magazines with a capacity larger than ten rounds and 24.6 million have possessed, or currently do, a modern sporting rifle.

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