‘Nearly One-Third of Gun Owners Have Used Gun in Self-Defense,’ Says Report

More than 30 percent of American gun owners say they have used a gun in self-defense.

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A whopping 31.1 percent of gun owners—estimated to be about 25.3 million American adults—have used a gun in self-defense, according to the 2021 National Firearms Survey, by Prof. William English, PhD., at Georgetown University.

The survey was designed by Deborah Azrael of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Matthew Miller of Northeastern University, according to the Wall Street Journal. English released a draft in June and the WSJ just reported on its contents.

Ammoland obtained a copy of the 23-page report and it contains some eye-popping data. For example:

  • There are approximately 1.67 million defensive gun uses annually.
  • In most cases (81.9%) the gun is not fired.
  • Handguns are the most commonly-used firearm in defensive incidents. Shotguns follow at 21 percent and rifles at 13.1 percent.
  • Slightly more than 9 percent of gun owners carry a handgun openly or concealed “always or almost always.” Another 6.9 percent carry a handgun “often.”
  • The majority (74.8%) of defensive gun uses take place outside the home, and many (51.2%) involve more than one assailant.

That last item is important, as it bolsters the argument that the right to bear arms must apply to carry outside of the home. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging the New York State permitting scheme on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

The Hill also reported on the survey, which blows some commonly-held beliefs of the gun prohibition lobby out of the water.

According to the survey, 32.5 percent of American adults age 21 and over own a firearm. That’s about one-third of the adult population or approximately 81.4 million people.

That breaks down to 57.8 percent of gun owners being men and 42.2 percent being women.

Percentage-wise, 34.3 percent of Whites are gun owners, 28.3 percent of Hispanics own firearms, 25.4 percent of blacks are gun owners and 19.4 percent of Asians own firearms.

One piece of data picked up by both the WSJ and The Hill is extremely important, and not just because both publications zeroed in on it. Since January 2019, according to The Hill, “Nearly half of all new U.S. buyers since the start of 2019 were women, according to new data, a tremendous shift in the historically male-dominated market.” This translates to an estimated 3.5 million women and 4 million men, all of whom became first-time gun owners, which is no small number of people.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms had this to say:

“Millions of Americans appreciate now, more than ever, the fact that our Second Amendment protects their right to own a gun. This should send a message to anti-gun politicians and the gun prohibition lobby that increasing numbers of American citizens aren’t buying the nonsense they’re selling. Instead, these good-sense citizens are buying firearms, learning to use them properly and making it clear they will not surrender their safety, and that of their neighborhoods, to an emboldened criminal element.”

CCRKBA, he said in a prepared statement, has “always encouraged new gun owners to seek good safety instruction through local gun ranges or gun clubs so they can become both competent and confident.”

Gottlieb and others, including the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation, all agree that women are the fastest-growing segment in the firearms community. In an era when many big city police departments are losing manpower because of politics (i.e. “defund the police”), increasing numbers of citizens are buying firearms and assuming a greater responsibility for their own safety.

As noted by English in his abstract, “A majority of gun owners (56.2%) indicate that they carry a handgun for self-defense in at least some circumstances, and about 35% of gun owners report carrying a handgun with some frequency. We estimate that approximately 20.7 million gun owners (26.3%) carry a handgun in public under a ‘concealed carry’’ regime; and 34.9% of gun owners report that there have been instances in which they had wanted to carry a handgun for self-defense, but local rules did not allow them to carry.”

The Crime Prevention Research Center, founded by economist and author John Lott, issues an annual report on the estimated number of active concealed carry licenses and permits in early October. Data from the 2020 report says 19.48 million people were licensed to carry and that number, by now, has certainly gone up.

Ammoland will update that number when it becomes available.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman


Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *