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NBC Poll: Majority of Voter Households Own Firearms

Monday, December 4, 2023

NBC Poll: Majority of Voter Households Own Firearms

The last few weeks haven’t been kind to gun grabbers - and we’re not just talking about President Joe Biden’s woeful poll numbers. Black Friday is typically the largest day of the year for gun sales. This year, gun buyers set a record for FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks on the unofficial holiday. Even better, on November 21 NBC News published a piece titled, “Poll: Gun ownership reaches record high with American electorate.”

According to the article, “More than half of American voters -- 52% -- say they or someone in their household owns a gun, per the latest NBC News national poll.” The item went on to explain, “That's the highest share of voters who say that they or someone in their household owns a gun in the history of the NBC News poll, on a question dating back to 1999.”

Moreover, this widespread gun ownership crosses the political divide. 45 percent of independents reported that they or someone in their household owns a firearm, while 41 percent of Democrats confirmed the same. America’s burgeoning firearm-owning households are also diverse. The NBC piece reported that 41 percent of Black respondents reported living in a gun-owning household, which is “a 17-point increase among that group in just four years.”

Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies, who helped conduct the poll, told NBC News, “In the last ten years, we've grown [10 points] in gun ownership. That's a very stunning number." As shocking as some might find that figure, there is good reason to believe that the number of gun owner households is far higher than the poll reported.

Consider a June 2023 study published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, titled, “Predicting potential underreporting of firearm ownership in a nationally representative sample.”

Summarizing the article for Reason magazine, J.D. Tucille explained that the researchers used data gleaned from known gun owners to build profiles of likely gun owners. Then,

they then applied the profiles across their sample of 3,500 respondents to estimate who was likely fibbing about not owning guns. The results depend on the probability threshold applied, but they came up with 1,206 confirmed owners, between 1,243 and 2,059 non-owners, and between 220 and 1,036 potential but secretive owners lying about their status.

These findings suggest that there could be between 18 to 86 percent more gun owners than is typically reported. The high end of the estimate would suggest an over 60 percent gun ownership rate.

Similarly, Wake Forest Professor of Sociology David Yamane believes that polling systematically underestimates gun ownership. In a 2019 piece titled “Why Surveys Underestimate Gun Ownership Rates in the U.S.,” Yamane laid out the case for systematic underreporting and provided a bevy of reasons why gun owners would be reluctant to be truthful with pollsters. The professor noted, “My educated guess is that the underestimate is at least 10%, that 25% would not be an unreasonable amount, and more than 25% is likely.”

Whatever the true gun ownership rate, these recent findings are great news for gun owners and terrible news for gun prohibitionists. For decades gun control backers have perpetuated the myth that gun ownership is falling, against the best available evidence to the contrary, to try to get politicians to do their bidding. Readers can decide whether this anti-gun gambit was fueled more by self-delusion or intentional fraud. Politicians will need to decide whether to indulge these charlatans or respect the fundamental rights of the majority of voting households.

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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.