The latest it of gun ownership propaganda disguised as science and as news is that gun ownership is on the decline. They claim that there are fewer people buying guns. Of course, they can’t hide the fact that there have been so many guns sold in the last year, that the NICS system that performs background checks has been overloaded.
So how do they spin this fact? They do a survey to ‘prove’ that gun sales are up, but the guns are being sold to just a few people. The problem is that this supposed ‘fact’ is being proven because of a telephone survey. According to this survey, which is disguised as science, they claim that 20% of the US population owns 65% of the firearms. There are a number of problems with this claim. Let’s take a look:

The entire basis for this claim is a survey where a caller phones your home, and then asks you if you have a gun in the house. I don’t understand how anyone thinks that this method is in any way scientific. There are a number of flaws in this survey: selection bias, response bias, non response error, and other sampling problems ensure that ANY survey of sensitive issues will not reflect the true numbers.

The true test of gun ownership rates is not self reporting surveys, but other metrics like total gun sales. Of course, gun sales in a nation that does not register firearms don’t tell you how many people are buying firearms, only how many firearms are being bought. The closest remaining metric is the issuance of concealed weapons permits.

As of February 28 n my home state of Florida, there are 1,374,341 active concealed weapons permit holders. According to the US census, the population of people over 18 years of age in Florida is 15,795,277. This means that there is one
concealed weapons permit holder for every 11.49 residents.

In December of 2013, there were 1,278,246 permit holders in Florida,
with an adult population of 15,562,646. This means that 14 months ago,
there was one concealed weapons permit holder for every 12.21

This means that the rate of gun ownership in the state of Florida is 6
percent higher than it was 14 months ago, which translates into about a
5 percent annual increase in gun ownership.

In fact, the number of concealed weapons permits in the state of Florida has more than doubled since 2009, when there were 591,830, which
was double the number of permits from 2002, when there were 295,658
permit holders.
Look at the numbers:
In 1988, there were 32,814 permit holders. It took three years to double that to 65,497.
In three more years, that number doubled again to 132,150.
Another seven years, another doubling to 259,710.
Seven more years, and there is another doubling to 511,868.
Five years later, the number had doubled again to 1,098,458.
In 25 years, the number of adults in Florida increased from 10.0 to 15.8 million, which is a 158% increase, but there are 41 times as many concealed weapons permit holders, meaning that the number of permit holders is increasing 26 times as fast as the population as a whole.

That is hardly a decline.

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SiGraybeard · March 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for that work on the statistics and extracting the real numbers. Fantastic!

I was a little surprised at the nearly 9% of the population being CWFL holders. Last time I looked, and it probably was in '09, ISTRC that it was about 5%. That's really impressive growth, as you demonstrate.

chipmunk · March 7, 2015 at 5:42 pm

If someone called me, stated they were doing a survey, and asked if I had a gun, there is NO WAY I would tell them. My answer would be "That's none of your business."

Anonymous · March 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

This means that the rate of gun ownership in the state of Florida is 6 percent higher than it was 14 months ago, which translates into about a 5 percent annual increase in gun ownership.

While I completely agree with your premise, your logic may not be accurate.

The number of increased permits doesn't necessarily indicate an increase in new gun owners. It could be just those long term gun owners finally getting their permits.

Of course there is considerable evidence, as you suggest, such as NICS checks, new comers to shooting sports, etc to indicate that guns aren't just being purchased by current gun owners.

Our little private range has gone from 1,850 members in 2008 to nearly 2,600 members today. Much, not all, but much of that growth has been from new shooters.

Bob S.

Divemedic · March 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm

In 2008, the NRA's membership was estimated at 2 million by a Denver newspaper.
Just two years ago, the NRA claimed 4.5 million.

The Washington post looked at magazine subscriptions and claimed they were lying, and only had 3 million members. The faulty claim there was assuming that all members received one of the three magazines. I know that is false, because I am a life member, and I don't receive one. Don't want it.

However, there is not one single metric that shows gun ownership is declining, or even becoming concentrated. The anti forces desperately WANT and NEED for gun ownership to be on the decline, because to admit otherwise is to admit that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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