Gun Ownership Hits Record High Among American Voters: Poll

Second Amendment

More than half of American voters say they or someone in their household owns a gun, which marks a record-high number, according to a new NBC News poll.

As gun violence impacts communities across the country with more than 37,000 gun violence-related deaths as of November, according to the Gun Violence Archive, debates over gun control across the country persist. Gun safety laws often stir up intense political arguments with conservatives often pointing to the Second Amendment as a main argument while those in favor of tighter gun control disagree arguing the death toll amid mass shootings. Meanwhile, according to Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to reducing gun violence in the U.S., there are an estimated 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States.

On Tuesday, NBC News released a national poll, which has polled voters since 1999 about U.S. household gun ownership, finding 52 percent of respondents this year said they or someone in their home owns a gun.

This number is up from 46 percent in 2019, according to an NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll. More than a decade ago in February 2013, the share of U.S. households that owned a gun was 42 percent.

Newsweek has reached out to Everytown for Gun Safety and the National Rifle Association via email for comment.

“In the last ten years, we’ve grown [10 points] in gun ownership. That’s a very stunning number,” said Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm that co-conducted the poll with members of the Democratic polling firm Hart Research.

“By and large, things don’t change that dramatically that quickly when it comes to something as fundamental as whether you own a gun,” Roberts added.

While gun ownership does fall along partisan lines, the poll also found that in November, 66 percent of Republican voters surveyed said that they or someone in their household owns a gun, while 45 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats say the same.

The data comes at a critical point in gun control legislation as the Supreme Court heard arguments in early November on whether a statute that prohibits the possession of firearms by people under domestic violence restraining orders is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, one of the toughest gun laws in the nation in Oregon was ruled to have violated the state constitution on Tuesday.

It was among the first gun restrictions to be passed after a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year changed the guidance judges are expected to follow when considering Second Amendment cases.

In addition to the increasing gun control debate, the poll found voters were split about how to view government intervention regarding gun ownership: 48 percent said they are concerned the government will not do enough to regulate access to firearms and 47 percent said they think the government will go too far in restricting gun rights.

The data also comes just one day after a state appeals court ruled that California can continue providing personal information of gun owners to researchers to study gun violence, reversing last year’s decision by a lower court judge who said such data sharing violates privacy rights.

The NBC News survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and members of Hart Research from November 10-14 among 1,000 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Semi-automatic firearms are displayed for sale on a shelf at the McBride Guns Inc. store on August 25, 2023, in Austin, Texas. More than half of American voters say they or someone in their household owns a gun, which marks a record high number, according to a new NBC News poll.
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