An overwhelming majority of Americans view gun ownership as essential to their freedom. This is what a recent Pew Research poll discovered in a deep dive into the complex relationship Americans have with guns.
According to the poll, “The nationally representative survey of 3,930 U.S. adults, including 1,269 gun owners, was conducted March 13 to 27 and April 4 to 18, 2017, using the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.” In other words, the survey is pretty comprehensive. And its findings reflect the understanding of many clear-thinking Americans on the 2nd Amendment: for those who do own and use firearms, it is integral to who they are.
Guns are ubiquitous in our culture. Both the bad guys and the heroes utilize them in movies and books, which accurately reflects reality – the bad guys will always have guns and good guys know that firearms are an effective tool for securing property and protecting loved ones. In other words, gun ownership is completely normal, and – contrary to what the gun grabbers and “security liberals” would have you believe – safe.
There is a direct correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and less crime. Urban areas have fewer lawfully obtained guns and higher levels of criminal activity. Socioeconomics are a driver, but the impact of burdensome laws on who can own and carry firearms in urban areas plays a distinct role in lowering safety levels for residents.
Only a third of Americans expressed that they do not nor would they ever consider owning a firearm. A healthy 66 percent of gun owners, a significant portion of whom own more than one, would never consider not owning one. These people exist in a culture where gun ownership is the norm. It would be interesting to see the minority of Americans who eschew guns react to the findings here.
The survey results show a clear relationship between the conscious choice to own a gun and the exercise of personal freedom. Other studies on crime and gun owners have found that gun owners commit fewer crimes as a population than the police. The civilizing factor of owning a firearm increases the level of responsibility that must be exercised. This positively impacts everyone in proximity to gun owners.
Of note: only 19 percent of those dwelling in urban environments, where crime is the highest, own guns. In rural areas where crime is exceedingly low, 46 percent of those surveyed reported owning a gun. Of suburban respondents, 28 percent own guns. To place a finer point on the data, in just one out of five homes in an urban environment will an intruder face the possibility of a homeowner defending his home and loved ones with a gun. In a rural area an invader faces a nearly 50/50 chance, hence the miniscule incidences of criminal activity.
Another point worth noting is that while most gun owners could never see themselves not owning a gun, they have no desire to force others to possess them. Conversely, many Americans who do not own firearms have an almost compulsive desire to disarm law-abiding gun owners even as proof mounts against the efficacy of confiscation and disarmament. When guns are regulated away from those who seek them lawfully, only the criminals are armed.
Americans’ broad exposure to guns includes an overwhelming number who have fired a gun or have lived in a home with a gun owner. Approximately seven out of ten Americans have fired a weapon at least once.
Again, guns are tools and Americans have experienced their use as normal. The research done by Pew exposes the lesser-known facts surrounding firearm ownership and America’s relationship with guns. One thing is patently clear: guns aren’t going anywhere because Americans who own guns associate them with liberty and self-reliance. And that’s a good thing.
Stacy Washington is host of the "Stacy on the Right Show," broadcast on Urban Family Talk Monday through Friday from 2-3pm in St. Louis, Missouri. Click here for more.