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Old June 16, 2013, 09:57 AM   #1
mack59
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Interesting report on increase in gun ownership

In 2011 and 2012 there were a total of more than 35 million guns sold. Retailers reported that over 25 percent of purchasers were first time gun buyers. That means that over 8 million people in the past two years are new gun owners and given reported above average sales for the first five months of 2013 - it can be conservatively estimated that there are at least 10 million new gun owners in the last 2 1/2 years.

What will be interesting to note is if this increase is reflected in the one survey that has consistently shown a reported decrease in gun ownership - the General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, NORC, at the University of Chicago - whereas Gallup and other polls have shown a decrease and increase over time.

10 million new guns owners would account for three percent of the US population. This increase dovetails with reports of increases in Women gun owners and concealed carry permits issued nationwide.

I see the General Social Survey used by gun control advocates all the time as evidence that most Americans don't own guns and that owning a gun is not the social norm as they attempt to demonize or marginalize gun ownership and gun owners. So I believe that if the General Social Survey does not reflect an appreciable increase in gun ownership then it will be shown to not be a accurate or reliable measure of gun ownership rates.

I will be waiting for their latest survey results this year. I do not believe that they do accurately reflect the rate of gun ownership, but we shall see. If they show no change or another decrease then they will be at the least be shown to be an outlier in gun ownership surveys if not significantly unreliable.
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:05 AM   #2
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There is a difference between new gun owners and buying new guns (gun sales). That may be why the surveys have conflicting results. Based on ammo sales in the past 10 months, I would conclude that everyone in the country has at least 5 guns, LOL

Bottom line, people are freaked out with the crap going on around the world, the scandals going on in our own govt. and they are taking every precaution to protect themselves and their families.
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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With the advent of the Internet, and the plethora of news agencies, and the fact that every local newspaper and television station now has a web site, we get news from small towns that we would never have heard about even two states away when print news and the national TV networks were our only source. As just one example, several months ago there was the story of the young mother in one of the southern states whose husband had just died of cancer, and she had to shoot a home invader while on the phone with the 9-1-1 dispatcher to protect herself and her baby.

Pre-Internet, that story would never have made it to my part of the country. Now people can see that home invasions happen every day and they realize more and more that the police can't prevent them, they can only arrive after the fact to write reports and take photos. So ... more people are waking up and smelling the coffee.
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Old June 16, 2013, 10:59 AM   #4
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Just judging by the attendence of gun ranges around here I would say the number of gun owners is growing by leaps and bounds. They are so crowded on the weekends I don't go anymore, even with the ammo shortages. Every trip I take to the range I see at least one newbie being shown the ropes by a friend. On the weekends it got a little scary with all the newbies.
Don't get me wrong. It is good to see more & more Americans exercising their 2A rights and it is good for the 2nd Amendment politics. I myself like introducing newbies to the family. It may be selfish of me but I don't care for the crowded conditions, although most of the new folks let me have their brass. (Woo Hoo).
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Old June 16, 2013, 04:45 PM   #5
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One interesting characteristic of the GSS is that it reports both those reporting firearms ownership AND those refusing to answer or who answer "don't know. ". If you track the reports for the last 20 years or so (firearms ownership isn't asked each cycle), as the reported ownership has drifted down refusals have gone up by a nearly equal amount.

A few months back I somewhat innocently asked this forum about willingness to participate in such a survey. The answer was almost universally and resoundingly, NO. There was more than a little 'kill the messenger' sentiment thrown in too, but I expected that when I asked the question.
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Old June 16, 2013, 08:20 PM   #6
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Also, as there is no record of private sales, there is no record on the number of people who ask Uncle Bill for one of his spare revolvers or have always had grandpa's shotgun in the closet but are just now using it or buy a Glock off of Armslist.
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Old June 16, 2013, 08:39 PM   #7
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Interesting, I did not know about the refused to answer category or its steady increase. Certainly that may well be the answer to the skewed numbers if the next survey does not show an increase in gun ownership rates with more than 3 percent of the total population becoming new gun owners in the last 2 and a half years.
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Old June 16, 2013, 11:54 PM   #8
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I would say there is an upswing in people just messing with pollsters for sport.

During the last election we got so many calls doing 'polls' that I just hung up on them if I was busy or engaged them in meaningless conversation to waste their time. At one time in my life I guess I was more responsible and would try to answer questions as honestly as I could but that has changed. Now I value my time more and my responsibility to help them to compile statistics less.
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Old June 17, 2013, 12:01 AM   #9
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I have to agree with DaleA. I just hang up on calls like that. I feel a little bad for being rude because I know it isn't the employee's fault, but I simply do not feel like dealing with the polls. I certainly would refuse to answer a gun related poll. Interesting stuff though, I had suspected that firearm ownership had been increasing in the last few years. I wonder what the final stats for this year will look like after all the panic.
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Old June 17, 2013, 07:21 AM   #10
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With physicians sometimes asking if you have a gun in the house (which could get to your health insurer and result in higher premiums or a canceled policy in the future), and other intrusive inquiries about guns, I am not surprised that a cautious gun owner would refuse to participate in a poll or would outright deny owning guns. On this and other gun related forums there have been warnings from some that even discussing owning guns might someday be used in a courtroom against you, for criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit. These comments often elicit comments like "I used to own a gun but lost it in a boating accident". My guess is that gun ownership is far higher than indicated in any poll, but gun ownership does not automatically translate into being pro-2nd Amendment when entering the voting booth. How many millions of gun owners probably voted for Obama? Probably more than you would imagine.
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Old June 17, 2013, 07:31 AM   #11
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Retailers reported that over 25 percent of purchasers were first time gun buyers.
How would the dealer know that? Is that one of the questions on the forms? If it is, I have been missing that one.
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Old June 17, 2013, 08:09 AM   #12
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Here is a story that has all the information in it on numbers of background checks and percentage of first time buyers. http://www.foxbusiness.com/industrie...er-gun-makers/

As to knowing the percentage of first time buyers, what decent retailer isn't going to talk to a customer to develop a business relationship, not only to sell the gun but to sell cleaning kits, accessories such as hearing protection, training classes, shooting range time, etc... where there is an even higher profit margin. First time buyers ask more and different questions, they need to buy more accessories, that means the gun store has to order more such accessories as they are selling more. Heck, I bet without even talking to individuals buying guns and volunteering that they are first time buyers, retailers would have a pretty good estimate of first time buyers by just looking at their sales inventory and restocking needs, visa via accessories.

Heck, I'm a small time FFL and I know who is a first time buyer and who isn't. Not that hard to tell.

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Old June 17, 2013, 10:03 AM   #13
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I don't doubt that retailers often ask questions of their customers and have some idea of who is new and who isn't. I just doubt that they actually keep such records. Some stores MIGHT keep such records, but it isn't any sort of industry standard. That "25.8%" are first time buyers has to be generalized guess, taken to 1 decimal place like they really have specific data. It is the accuracy of such a guess that is in question.

Quote:
Heck, I'm a small time FFL and I know who is a first time buyer and who isn't. Not that hard to tell.
Okay, you are small time and can tell. Do you have the records to support exactly what percentage of your sales are to first time buyers? And what about larger retailers with multiple employees. So each employee may know if the buyer is first time or not, but do the employees pool their observations at the end of the day on a tally form? No, probably not.

Knowing if an individual is a first time buyer is one thing. Knowing exactly what percentage of your buyers are first timers is a completely different matter. If determining a percentage of first time buyers is anything like shooters recollecting how many malfunctions they have how or just how tight their groups were and have been, then I would think the NSSF's poll results to be rather dubious on this matter. I would not be surprised that if in reality, it was off by 10 points or more in either direction.
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Old June 17, 2013, 12:44 PM   #14
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Knowing exactly what percentage of your buyers are first timers is a completely different matter.
I think there's some fuzzy logic going on in those retailer surveys.

I can tell you with utter certainty that there are a heck of a lot of first-time gun buyers out there. I couldn't begin to formulate an exact number, though.

There's also a difference between first-time buyers and first-time customers. I sold quite a few AR-15 rifles to folks who didn't seem to know much about them, but that just means they're new to that platform. They may very well have experience with other firearms.
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Old June 17, 2013, 01:06 PM   #15
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10 million new guns owners would account for three percent of the US population.
A far more interesting and relevant statistic would be to compare the number of guns being bought against the number of people legally able to purchase them, rather than the entire population of the country. Subtract everyone under the age of 18, all felons, all domestic violence types, illegal aliens, and the mentally ill, plus the other dozen prohibited types... then give me some numbers. 10million new guns sold to first time buyers spread over everybody who could actually pass a NICS check... now we're really onto something.
A quick Google search shows about 75million are under 18yrs and 11million are illegal aliens. The tough part seems to be trying to figure out how many felons there are... I found one study from 2010 that showed approx 1 million people living in the state of Michigan were convicted felons, and that study showed data to support that the total felon population of the USA was somewhere between 15% and 20%. I thought this was staggering... as a country, we convict approx 1 million people a year of felonies. Assuming some of these are repeat, and knowing that felonies last forever... it would be really easy to believe that 15% range... 45million? Then add all the domestic violence types and mentally ill and others...
Can we safely say that somewhere in the neighborhood of 130’ish million out of 300million can't/won't pass a NICS check due to age/conviction/status? I betcha it's more.

So now we have 10/170… call it 6.5% of the eligible population bought their first gun last year??? Even if the math is off by 10 million here or there, that’ still staggering... and that doesn’t count first timer’s who bought their gun FTF.
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Old June 17, 2013, 02:13 PM   #16
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The math is staggering, but once again, it isn't based on actual known data, is it? It is based on NSSF survey of gun shops that don't actually keep track of such information.
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Old June 17, 2013, 05:47 PM   #17
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Heck, I'm a small time FFL and I know who is a first time buyer and who isn't. Not that hard to tell.
So much for verifiable data. Sorry, that is just your guesstimate. In reality you have no idea who or who is not a first time buyer.
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Old June 17, 2013, 05:52 PM   #18
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Retailers surveyed by the NSSF, a trade association for the firearms industry, reported that 25.8% of their customers were first-time firearm buyers in 2012.
From:
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/industrie...#ixzz2WW5qo0to

Again, what tool/method did they use to determine who was a first-time buyer? It was never reveled and is highly suspect. If they did not measure it in some way, it did not happen!
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Old June 17, 2013, 07:05 PM   #19
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I'm not sure how relevant my experience is to the "first-time" buyer discussion, but I bought my first firearm last year. However, I had owned and operated rifles my entire life... they were just all my Dad's or Uncle's. I reckon that some of the people that are first-time buyers, aren't necessarily new to shooting if they are younger (like myself).

And then vice versa.
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Old June 18, 2013, 12:17 AM   #20
mack59
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Actually I can tell you exactly the number of first time buyers I had. So much for your assumption. No numbers are exact or perfect, the 10 million is just a rough number based on the best available data or estimates. The decimal place comes not from individual retailers submitting numbers into decimal numbers but from the aggregate of the percentage of reported sales and from all reporting dealers.

The point is that not that the number is perfect, but that it is a measure that can be used to helped to verify other estimates of gun ownership beyond just anecdotal evidence of gun ownership and first time buyers.

The General Social Survey is treated by Gun Control Advocates as the gold standard of gun ownership rates and reported as such by the media has shown a continued significant decline in gun ownership. Other polls such as Gallup have shown a decrease in ownership and then an trend of increase. Gun Control advocates use the results of the General Social Survey to bolster a social and political argument that gun ownership is dying out and with it the power of the NRA and the Pro-gun movement. They also use it to push the Meme that gun ownership is not normal or socially acceptable anymore.

If they are correct then Gun Control and eventually gun bans will succeed and represent the wave of the future. Like it or not people and politicians want to be in sync with the future in order to stay in power and in order to be socially accepted. As the beloved Eric Holder stated years ago if guns can be made as unaccepted and demonized as smoking then gun control and gun bans will succeed in the long term.

So where do we stand now? Is gun ownership growing or declining? What if any evidence do we have? We have a stand off or in the media a losing hand as the General Social Survey seems more accepted and is given more weight even though it is partially financed by the Joyce Foundation.

I believe that gun ownership has increased in the last 8 years, but my belief or anecdotal evidence is worthless. Which are more accurate polls such as Gallup or the General Social Survey? Is gun ownership increasing or decreasing?

No, the data from the NSSF is not perfect and therefore estimates cannot be considered exact but I would hold that they do offer strong evidence of increasing gun ownership and that rough estimates can usefully be made. And that those estimates along with the growth in CCW licensees argue that the gun culture is not dying but is actually growing. I also suggest that should the General Social Survey not reflect a measurable increase in gun ownership but no change or a continued decline that this data can seriously undercut the validity of that survey.

Disagree if you wish, but for me it is another data point that can be used as evidence that supports an increase in gun ownership against the Gun Control Meme of gun culture and gun ownership as increasingly uncommon and ultimately irrelevant.

People may use it or discard it as they wish.
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Old June 18, 2013, 12:23 AM   #21
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Actually I can tell you exactly the number of first time buyers I had. So much for your assumption.
How do you measure that with certainty?
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Old June 18, 2013, 01:25 PM   #22
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I can remember 30 years ago I could tell most everybody in this small town owned guns because there were at least two in the rifle rack in the back window of every pick-up truck. And if you looked into the window of most cars, there was a gun on the front seat. And no violent crimes!! Nowdays, everyone is afraid to admit to owning a firearm for fear the government will know and try to take it.

As far as first time buyers, I have a small gun shop too. When the customer says "I've never owned a gun before" you can be pretty sure they are a first timer. And if they have purchased several guns from you in the past, you know they are not a first timer.
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Old June 18, 2013, 01:42 PM   #23
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Actually I can tell you exactly the number of first time buyers I had. So much for your assumption.
...but I noticed you didn't, not that it matters. If you know how many first timers you have had, then you must also know how many total buyers you have had and total purchases you have had.

Maybe YOU can tell us, but you are a small operation and you don't sell many guns, not compared to the Walmarts, Ganders, Cabelas, Academys, Bud's, and other such stores that have lots of customers, lots of employees, and who don't keep such records. Sure, any employee can spot a person they think or are told is a first timer, but that doesn't translate into real data.

Given the millions of sales that we are talking about here, I am fairly certain the GSSF didn't survey the thousands of small FFLs to get their data or bother to verify that the FFLs they did survey could actually show real data to support the numbers reported. Were you and Miss Stana surveyed? The two local FFLs I deal with were not. One of my tenants who is an FFL was not. Hmmm.

Miss Stana has a small shop as she noted and can tell who is a new customer. However, I noticed she didn't claim to not the exact number of new buyers she has had.
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Old June 18, 2013, 07:18 PM   #24
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I wonder if some of this data is based on NICS checks? Az. does not do a check if you have a CCW permit. There might be some other states like that.

Incidentally, I don't know anyone that does not own a gun. I suppose it's a "birds of a feather" kind of thing.
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Old June 19, 2013, 02:12 AM   #25
Double Naught Spy
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NICS checks would not provide valid data as to who was new or not. That folks with CCWs don't have to go through the check in some states would only be indicative of those people who do have CCWs, assuming the gun shop actually keeps a running tabulation on how many people they NICS v. CCW.

Of the people not CCW, there is no way to know from NICS if they are first time or not.
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