Gun Ownership in America Hits Record High
Gun Ownership in America Hits Record High

By Michael Clements

Gun ownership among U.S. citizens is at its highest in more than two decades. According to a recent NBC News poll, more than half of American voters, 52 percent, report that they or someone in their household owns a gun.

According to the poll, that’s the highest share of gun ownership since 1999, the first year the question was asked.

Gun rights advocates say they are not surprised, given reports of increased violent crime.

“Considering recent history with declines in law enforcement ranks and violent crime making headlines, it is no wonder Americans are falling back on the Second Amendment for personal and family safety,” Alan Gottlieb, Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) wrote in a press release.

“Why should anyone, including NBC News, be surprised by this revelation?”

Gun control groups Brady and Everytown for Gun Safety did not respond to telephone calls and emails requesting comment.

Billy McLaughlin, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, agreed with Mr. Gottlieb’s assessment.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, Mr. McLaughlin said government action and inaction are the reasons many Americans have armed themselves.

“Law-abiding Americans, having witnessed everything from politicians’ attempts to close gun stores during the pandemic to the Biden crime wave decimating our communities, see law enforcement being undermined by progressive district attorneys not prosecuting criminals, effectively putting them back on the streets,” Mr. McLaughlin wrote.

“The marked rise in gun ownership is a rational response from any citizen who sees the likelihood of them being a victim of crime has increased exponentially.”

Members of the National Rifle Association walk past a rifle display during the group’s Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 15, 2023. (Michael Clements/The Epoch Times)

According to the poll, gun ownership rates track with the political views of those surveyed. The poll found that 66 percent of Republicans live in households with a gun, with 45 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats reporting the same.

This is up from 2004, when a March NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 57 percent of Republicans said they lived in gun-owning households. Just 41 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats reported the same.

Along racial lines, Black households reported a 17 percent increase in gun ownership over the past four years.

The poll reported that 56 percent of White voters and 41 percent of Black voters live in gun-owning households.

“We are encouraged by what appears to be a cultural shift in America,” Mr. Gottlieb wrote in his press release.

“More people of all backgrounds are taking personal responsibility for their safety and that of their families.”

Erich Pratt, senior vice president for Gun Owners of America, agreed.

“At the end of the day, this data only confirms that more and more Americans recognize the government cannot be trusted with their safety,” Mr. Pratt wrote in a statement to The Epoch Times.

“Gun Owners of America is proud to stand in the way of any politician or group that threatens our unalienable right to keep and bear arms.”

The 2023 NBC News poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and members of Hart Research, surveyed 1,000 registered voters, including 833 by cellphone, from Nov. 10–14. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, according to NBC News.

The prior polls were surveys of American adults by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.

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