Gun Ownership Down to Record Levels: But Could it be True?

Anti-gun Gunshop Owner and overall useful idiot to Michael Bloomberg Mike “The Gun Guy” Weisser linked this article in “Support” of his latest anti-gun ramblings.

Here’s the Graph from the article:

Look at the undulations on that graph!

Looks like there was a slow decline from 1999 (Which is a sharp peak) and then a spike in 2010, with a more rapid decline all the way to 2016 which is the last data point.

What I find most interesting in this graph is what we call the Delta Values. Delta represents change, and in this case RATE of change.

Now let’s look at the spikes. The first big spike is in January of 1994. Hmmm what happened in 1994, Why in September the Federal Assault Weapons Ban came into effect. The signing of this law really amounts to the Normandy Invasion in the fight for the 2nd Amendment. It was the moment when the tide turned from the anti-gun side winning battles and the pro-gun side just mitigating losses, and also it really marked the end of the “Elmer Fudd” gun owners. Of course Fudd’s aren’t gone, I just mentioned Mike “The Gun Guy”, who thinks carry and modern rifles should be banned….but he should keep his guns for shooting at deer.

But overall the insanity that was the features list of the 1994 AWB, and how emboldened the anti-gun lobby became by what a massive victory it was, the American gun owner woke up, and realized the “Gun Nuts” might be right with all their talk of bans and confiscations.

So the restrictions placed on what is now known as the Modern Sporting Rifle lead people to curiously, and possibly as an investment to buy rifles and handguns in the face of the bans.

And as we can tell today, it turns out some of those people might have been pleasantly surprised.

The next peak is in 1999, which was the year where George W Bush narrowly lost to Albert Gore, the man who was Vice President under the guy who signed that Assault Weapons ban.

Another peak at 2010 which is really just the recent explosion of gun culture 2.0 and all the wonderful women, minorities, and people from Urban and Suburban communities who have all started buying guns and taking their personal protection very seriously.

So as I said, these are all PEAKS, not plateaus on the graph. The number rises rapidly and then falls just as quick.

The brilliant people at CBS are claiming that the households in those peaks now no longer own firearms.

If so, where did they go? It’s not like guns evaporate, burn to ash, or rust to dust. Further it’s illegal to simply pitch a gun in the trash, and I think THOUSANDS of operable firearms just mouldering in the landfills of America would be the biggest news story of the century, and we wouldn’t be able to turn on the TVs or radio without hearing PSAs about how to PROPERLY dispose of your guns. Hell there would be gun drop-off bins at every police station, just like they have bins for prescription drugs.

I wouldn’t be much of a scientist if I didn’t consider that the peaks themselves might be totally bogus.

So yeah, maybe a ton of people are saying “Oh yeah, baby, I own SO many guns” to the surveyor on the phone.

Well except that NICS data points (plus the social data for those of us who follow the industry) support this, those were HUGE years for background checks, and while a NICS Check might mean the sale of one gun, it could be many as well, so while the numbers from NICS can be artificially low, they are NOT artificially high.

So the guns weren’t being dumped in the trash, so where did they go? Well they needed to have changed hands. Did they go to Gun Shops?

Did you see huge gluts of used guns after any of these peaks? Me neither, the used gun market is pretty steady.

Gun buybacks never amount to much, and overall they’re pretty uncommon. These days most places have abandoned the idea entirely, and the few places so indoctrinated with anti-gun rhetoric that you can still find a buy-back have them MAYBE twice a year.

That just doesn’t add up as a sink for all the guns we’re seeing vanish from the graph.

Of course the anti-gunners CONSTANTLY say “Less people own guns, but the people who do own guns own LOTS”.

Well that would mean that there would be a TON of private transfers. There is no data to support that either.

Of course you all know the reality. If somebody calls you on the phone and starts asking you personal questions, you either lie, or hang up.

But why the peaks? Where are those coming from. I have a hypothesis, and let me know in the comments what you think of this.

Those peaks are NEW gun owners. I remember when I bought my first 1911, I wanted to tell EVERYBODY and show it to ANYBODY who could stand to look at it.

I actually got reprimanded at work shortly after this time because a co-worker was so sick of hearing me talk about guns, range-time, and the 2nd Amendment that they complained to HR.

Several family members recently bought their first guns and boy there is LOTS of gun talk at family gatherings now.

I think there is a natural progression to new gun owners, specifically these new gun owners unique to Gun Culture 2.0. What I mean is people who didn’t grow up hunting and shooting, who don’t come from a gun-owning family background.

I think these people reach a breaking point where they go from being disinterested, to aware of guns, to curious, to finally deciding to take the plunge and buy their first gun. And while I disagree that the average gun owner in America owns a massive armory of guns like the antis claim, I do think these people often buy several guns within their first few years of gun ownership just to fill the various needs they have, like a concealed carry gun, a home defense gun, and .22 guns for training.

These people are excited about the hardware, and if somebody asks them about guns, they’re probably more than willing to tell them anything they want to know, and probably some stuff they didn’t.

But the hardware phase is fleeting, and quickly they get into the software side, taking classes, and learning about self defense, reading books, and ….following politics.

Once you dip into the waters of 2nd Amendment Politics you don’t have to go very deep before you start hearing about gun confiscations….and that isn’t wrong, just listen to the antis, they’ll tell you!

When they get there, suddenly being the chatty Cathy about all the guns you have becomes a bit unwise.

Hell look at me, I don’t shut up about guns and what I own, but I also blog and podcast under a pseudonym, and don’t publish my address.

So it’s my hypothesis that it isn’t the GUNS that are disheartening, it’s the Greenhorn gun owners who are willing to answer phone surveys talking about their guns that ARE “disappearing”. And of course I mean “Disappear” as in “Growing into smart and seasoned gun owners”.

So if this is true, that not only means the antis are WRONG, but those numbers vanishing from the graph represent people who will DIRECTLY oppose anti-gun laws.

Certainly the data available to me supports this hypothesis.

What do you think?

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3 Responses to Gun Ownership Down to Record Levels: But Could it be True?

  1. Loess says:

    That was exactly the hypothesis that I have come to when thinking about that graph.

    And then every time someone mentions NICS as a count of guns sold, I giggle a little bit because of how many states let you show a CCW permit and skip the NICS call.

  2. Ratus says:

    The main bit of trickery with this chart is that it is a percentage of a changing number.

    If the number of households in the U.S. was static then it could be a fair-ish comparison, but it isn’t there are almost 50 million more in 2016 then in 1978.

    Number Percentage Number
    Year of house- from with
    -holds graph guns
    1978 76.03 51% 38.7753
    1994 97.11 53% 51.4683
    1999 103.87
    2010 117.54
    2016 125.82 36% 45.2952

    So even if the polling data was actuate there are more households with guns now then in 1978.

    • Ratus says:

      Ah crap my table is screwed up.

      It was Year, Number of households in US, Percentage listed on the graph,
      and Number of households in US with guns.

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