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
Shoddy Science and Shaky Assumptions: Court Invalidates California’s Handgun Ad Ban on First Amendment Grounds

News  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Shoddy Science and Shaky Assumptions: Court Invalidates California’s Handgun Ad Ban on First Amendment Grounds

Earlier this month, a federal court invalidated California’s ban on premises advertising relating to handguns (but not other firearms), disparaging the state’s proffered justification for the law as nothing more than “mere speculation and conjecture.” 

New Industry Statistics Underscore Popularity of “America’s Rifle”

News  

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Industry Statistics Underscore Popularity of “America’s Rifle”

Senator Dianne Feinstein has spent the last 26 years pushing gun control at the federal level and earlier this month demonstrated her willingness to distort facts and Supreme Court precedent in her ongoing effort to ...

Gun Control Twist: Saving One Life “Does Not Justify” Right-to-Carry

News  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Gun Control Twist: Saving One Life “Does Not Justify” Right-to-Carry

Gun control advocates often use some version of the phrase “if it saves one life” in order to justify their ineffective proposals. This week, the anti-gun editorial page of the Chicago Sun-Times offered a different ...

Bloomberg Presidential Run? Maybe. Bloomberg Effort to Buy the Midterms? Definitely.

News  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Bloomberg Presidential Run? Maybe. Bloomberg Effort to Buy the Midterms? Definitely.

Billionaire gun control financier and former-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is once again floating a presidential run.

Outrageous! NC University Forces Student to Remove NRA Flag from Dorm Window

News  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Outrageous! NC University Forces Student to Remove NRA Flag from Dorm Window

Elon University student forced to remove NRA banner from his dorm room window.

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Anti-gun Senator Accompanied by “Unprecedented” Security Detail While Traveling in California

News  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Anti-gun Senator Accompanied by “Unprecedented” Security Detail While Traveling in California

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is no fan of the Second Amendment. As California attorney general, she sided with local officials who refused to issue concealed carry permits to qualified, law-abiding applicants unless they could demonstrate an extraordinary ...

NRA Calls on Phil Bredesen to Retract Misleading Ad

News  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

NRA Calls on Phil Bredesen to Retract Misleading Ad

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund today called on U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen to retract a false and misleading campaign ad where he cites an incorrect NRA grade and misleads voters by claiming ...

Gun Control Activist Urges Canadian Audience to Get Involved in U.S. Politics

News  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Gun Control Activist Urges Canadian Audience to Get Involved in U.S. Politics

For someone who has previously falsely accused the NRA of funneling foreign money into domestic politics, it must be that David Hogg either forgot he was in Canada recently or failed to appreciate that it’s also illegal ...

No, It’s Not Harder to Buy Allergy Medicine than a Gun

News  

Friday, September 14, 2018

No, It’s Not Harder to Buy Allergy Medicine than a Gun

A twist on an inaccurate old anti-gun talking point is making the rounds on social media. On September 10, anti-gun public relations professional Wendy Zipes Hunter tweeted about a purported recent trip to drug store. Hunter claimed, “Couldn’t ...

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.