The General Social Survey reported earlier this month that “gun ownership has declined to a record low. About half of all American households owned at least one gun in the 1970s. In 2014,only 31 percent had a firearm.”
According to the Congressional Research Service (page eight), there were about 310 million civilian-owned guns in the United States in 2009. More than eight million have been imported or manufactured since then. Taking into account gun ownership figures, this means that there are more and more guns in the hands of fewer people.
A poll conducted by Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns asked respondents “How many guns do you or does a member of your family own?” According to the data, ten percent of gun owners belong to the National Rifle Association. “The owners of one-to-nine guns possess a total of about 110 million firearms. That means the “10 or more” respondents represent about 4.5 million households that own 230 million firearms — an average of more than 50 guns per household. And that’s just an average, which means some very large number (a million?) own more than 100 guns.”
This means two things. First, potential private gun sellers completely outnumber licensed dealers. We need background check laws to cover private sales to protect public safety. Second, while multiple polls have shown the NRA’s political stance is not shared by most of its members, or even by most gun owners, the organization “is run by and for a group of people who have invested a huge amount of money, time and emotional energy in their gun collections. That takes them far outside the American mainstream but also makes them willing to fight so hard for unregulated guns that it seems completely irrational. But understand, to the arsenal owners, it isn’t.”