Tuesday, March 10, 2015

John Lott: Problems with using the General Social Survey to measure gun ownership

UPDATE: Gallup claims that household ownership of guns in 2014 stands at 42 percent.  This implies that about 134 million Americans live in households with guns.
Original: The New York Times cites the General Social Survey to claim that the gun ownership rate is low and falling.

It is an impressive drop, and many have used it to claim that while gun sales have increased, the increase has taken the form of more guns being owned by a smaller and smaller number of people.  In a July 31 article, CNN stated it this way:
A decreasing number of American gun owners own two-thirds of the nation’s guns and as many as one-third of the guns on the planet — even though they account for less than 1% of the world’s population, according to a CNN analysis of gun ownership data.
The data, collected by the Injury Prevention Journal, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the General Social Survey and population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, found that the number of U.S. households with guns has declined, but current gun owners are gathering more guns. . . .
Yet, the GSS survey shows a large drop that you don’t see in many other surveys.  According to Gallup, in October 2011, they wrote: At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades — a finding that may be related to Americans’ dampened support for gun-control laws.”  Here is the Gallup survey data since 1991.

Or take the ABC News/Washington Post Poll

More Here

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