By Naveen Athrappully
The number of Americans carrying handguns on a daily basis doubled between 2015 and 2019 according to a new study, with self-protection found to be a key reason for the increase.
The study, published by the American Journal of Public Health on Nov. 16, is based on a survey of 2,389 U.S. adult handgun owners conducted between July 30, 2019, and Aug. 11, 2019. The results of the study show that roughly 3 in 10 handgun owners carried a gun on their person in the previous 30 days of the survey. Of those who carried in the past month, 4 in 10 did so every day.
“Extrapolating to the estimated 53 million US adults who owned handguns in 2019, we estimate that about 16 million US adults carried a handgun in the past 30 days (up from 9 million in 2015), and that almost 6 million did so every day (twice the approximately 3 million who did so in 2015),” the study reads.
In 2019, 73 percent of firearm owners reported owning them for protection, an increase from 65 percent in 2015 and 46 percent in 1994. Motivated by a desire for personal protection, handgun ownership between 1994 and 2021 jumped to 83 percent from 64 percent.
The study comes as the sale of guns skyrocketed in the state of Oregon, where a strict gun control measure was recently passed.
The new law limits the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. It mandates buyers to obtain a permit before buying a firearm, which includes completion of a firearms training class. The law comes into effect on Dec. 8.
According to Oregon State Police, background checks to buy a gun rose to 4,000 per day after the Nov. 8 election from about 850 per day prior to it.
Gun Ownership and State Policy
In the study, researchers found “no notable differences” in the proportion of owners carrying their handguns whether the survey respondents resided in “permitless carry” states or in “shall issue” states.
“We found that proportionally fewer handgun owners residing in ‘may issue’ states than those residing in ‘permitless carry’ states and ‘shall issue’ states carried handguns in 2019.”
While only 1.2 percent of handgun owners without a permit in “may issue” states carried handguns in 2015, this number jumped to 7.5 percent in 2019.
In a “permitless carry” state, a gun owner doesn’t need a permit to carry a gun. In a “shall issue” state, permission from the government is required to carry guns. In a “may issue” state, authorities have “substantial discretion” to either approve or deny an applicant seeking permission to carry a gun.
The Biden administration and Democrats continue to push for more gun control. However, fewer Americans are supportive of such policies, according to a Gallup poll published on Nov. 21.
The poll found that only 57 percent of American adults think laws related to gun control must be made stricter, down from 66 percent in June.