Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Study Finds Fewer People Willing to Answer Questions about Gun Ownership

Friday, June 22, 2018

Study Finds Fewer People Willing to Answer Questions about Gun Ownership

A common thought (maybe even a rational one) is that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media. A recent study confirmed that more people are refusing to answer questions about firearms ownership.

Iowa State University political scientist Robert Urbatsch analyzed data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and found that the number of people refusing to answer a question about gun ownership roughly tripled since the year 2000. The increase appears steady from the year 2000 through 2016 and Urbatsch found the increased non-response rate concentrated among Republicans (though the rates among Democrats and Independents also increased). Coincidentally, Pew recently confirmed that gun ownership is far more common among Republicans – meaning, the people driving the increase in the GSS question refusals are also those most likely to own a gun. Go figure.

Urbatsch discusses how this increase could be driven by increased polarization, by political elites' and partisan commentators' fear-mongering, or by distrust of government and an institutionalized belief in individual autonomy. For some reason, more people are hesitating to share their gun-owning status with a stranger on the phone conducting a survey for the government.

This isn’t new. Take a look at the Gallup trend below; notice the sharp increase after 1993…right around the time Congress was working on a major gun control effort (the 1994 assault weapons ban). In December 1993, less than 0.5% of respondents refused to answer that question. In July 1996 (the next time the question was asked), 2% of respondents refused. The number acknowledging they had a gun in their household dropped from 49% to 38% in the same time period. The percent refusing first hit 4% in October 2009, then hit 4% again in October 2013 and October 2014 – when anti-gun politicians controlled both the White House and the Senate. The number of refusals dropped from 2016 to 2017. A simple trend line does not indicate causation…but one major difference between 2016 and 2017 was the political outlook. In 2016, there was a concern that a historically anti-gun politician could win the Presidency; by October 2017, President Trump had secured the White House.

Now, look at the positive responses – those who admit there is a gun in their household. Does anyone really believe that gun ownership rates dropped ten points from December 1993 to July 1996, and then regained six points between that July and November 1996? This is clearly the most extreme example present and some fluctuation is to be expected due to sampling issues. However, the fluctuations – particularly when viewed in conjunction with the political environment – reinforce Urbatsch’s findings.

Sometimes research confirms what we expect or what we already know. Sometimes such research is used as a vehicle to deliver unrelated or tangentially-related points. Urbatsch, regardless of whatever personal beliefs he may or may not hold regarding firearms or politics in general, does not. He sticks to his findings and puts them into a context that all of us should appreciate: “These findings suggest that ignoring nonresponse on gun-ownership questions may lead to increasingly biased results. A naïve analysis omitting respondents who refuse to answer gun-ownership questions may result in a sample that is less Republican and more pro-gun-control than is the general population.”

Good advice for researchers everywhere. Think about that the next time you see an article claiming some high percentage of gun owners favor absurd restrictions.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Gun Ownership
TRENDING NOW
Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Another Week, Another Democrat Presidential Contender Out to Round Up America's Guns

A smart person learns from his mistakes. An even smarter person learns from the mistakes of others.  Beto O’Rourke, an unemployed Texan running for president, must not be too smart.           

Monday, August 19, 2019

Florida Alert! "Assault Weapons" Ban Amendment Bans ALL SEMIAUTOMATIC RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS

The so-called "assault weapons" ban that is proposed for a constitutional amendment to be on the 2020 Election Ballot bans the possession of: “any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun CAPABLE of holding more than ten (10) rounds ...

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

No, Joe, Your Gun Ban Didn’t Work

Joe Biden has been out on the primary campaign trail working hard. Maybe a little too hard. “We got to let them know who we are,” he recently told a crowd of supporters at the Iowa State ...

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Amnesty International’s Desperate Measure

There are some odd dynamics in international relations. Countries in which people are not free serve on the UN Human Rights Council. Political considerations guide every action.  Of course, the NRA is a single-issue organization so ...

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

NRA Member Berated for Carrying Firearm

NRA member Darrell Kennedy was on vacation with his family at Yellowstone National Park earlier this month when an anti-gun vacationer snapped a photo of his holstered firearm and tweeted out a hate message. “Sat ...

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

News  

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sparking Dialogue or Sparking Joy: Competing Views on Gun “Buyback” Initiatives

The Christian Science Monitor describes itself as “an independent international news organization” that wants to “help you to see news events as starting points for constructive conversations.” Its editorial board recently published an article, A seed for society’s ...

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Bill Clinton Touts Failed Gun Ban With Bogus Info

Bill and Hillary Clinton just don’t draw like they used to. Shunned by much of his own party, (described by one Vanity Fair commentator as “2020’s bubonic plague”) the former president has been relegated to providing lazy ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

Thursday, August 15, 2019

California: Appropriations Committees Send Bills to the Suspense File

On Monday, August 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee sent AB 1254 to the suspense file and rescheduled AB 1669 to be heard next Monday, August 19. On Wednesday, August 14, the Assembly Appropriations Committee sent SB 172 ...

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

News  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to Oppose Gun Control

In the wake of the recent two criminal mass attacks, a number of gun control proposals have begun to circulate in our nation’s capital. None of these proposals would have prevented the recent tragedies, but they all ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.