Number of American gun owners lowest it's ever been, study shows


(Graphic: Associated Press)

A major American trend survey released this month shows that the number of American gun owners is the lower than it’s ever been.

The 2014 General Social Survey finds that 32 percent of Americans either own a gun or live with someone who does. It’s a significant decline compared to the 1970s and 80s, when about half of Americans told researchers there was a gun in their household.

According to the study, the drop is attributed to a decline of hunters since the number of American adults who hunt has been cut in half, with roughly 15.5 percent in 2014.

Firearm ownership is still higher among whites than blacks. Thirty-nine percent of white respondents said they own or live in a home with a gun compared to 18.1 percent of black respondents.

Similarly, a greater percentage of non-Hispanics, with 36 percent, said they own a gun than Hispanics, with 15.2 percent.

Female gun ownership has had little change since 1980 and there is no meaningful trend in the level of personal ownership, according to the study. In 2014, 35 percent of men said they owned a gun, and 11.7 percent for women.

The study also shows support for a law requiring a police permit before buying a gun has had little change. Roughly 72 percent favor the idea, 27 percent oppose, and 1 percent don’t know. Compared to 1972 when 70 percent favored the idea, 27 percent opposed, and 3 percent didn’t know.

The survey was administered by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, which primarily used in-person interviewing for results. The group surveyed 2,538 American adults between March 31 and Oct. 11, 2014.

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