President Obama absurdly suggested during his State of the Union address in January that “citizenship” means going along with the gun control agenda that he’s been pushing for the past 15 months. Nevertheless, anti-gunners — not banking on Obama’s promise to impose that agenda “without Congress” — are trying to convince politicians that they can vote for gun control without fear of repercussions on Election Day.
This week, anti-gun agitator Michael Bloomberg and The Economist both repeated the idea that the number of gun owners is rapidly declining, a dubious claim often pushed by handgun prohibition activist Josh Sugarmann, a/k/a the Violence Policy Center. According to Sugarmann, “gun-free households are an increasing majority while gun-owning households are a shrinking minority.” (This, coming from a guy whose “organization” has no members, while NRA’s membership has grown to over five million.)
In a new article, The Economist says that “the proportion of American households that own (sic) guns has declined from about 50% in the early 1980s to about 35% now” and, on that basis, concluded that “the number of gun-owners is falling.” Similarly, Bloomberg told anti-gun interviewer Katie Couric that over some unspecified period of time, the share of U.S. households owning guns dropped from 35 percent to 25 percent. According to Bloomberg, “people who have guns have lots of guns, but fewer people have guns.”
While many gun owners own more than one gun, neither the Economist’s claim nor Bloomberg’s concerning household ownership trends is supportable. Aside from the fact that household ownership does not necessarily track with individual ownership, Gallup polls over the last 50 years show that reported household gun ownership varies according to the political climate.
When the American people aren’t worried that gun control is embraced at the federal level, affirmative responses to household gun ownership polls are as high as 50 percent. On the other hand, when fears about federal gun control are greater — as they were after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968, after President Clinton signed the Brady bill and so-called “assault weapon” laws in the mid ’90s, and after President Obama came out in favor of gun control after his second election (as NRA had predicted he would) — such reporting falls to as low as 34%. Perhaps hostility of sitting presidents towards firearms increases Americans’ desire to keep that aspect of their lives private.
Furthermore, these percentages have fluctuated wildly several times over just the last decade or so, dropping eight points in one year, and gaining eight points back the next year, and so on, trends that could hardly reflect reality.
Moreover, since 1980, the U.S. population has risen by over 90 million, or 40 percent, and the number of number of households has risen by nearly 40 million, or 46 percent. The BATFE’s report covering firearms manufacturing and importation for years 1986-2010 additionally indicates the number of privately owned guns has risen by about 175 million since 1980.
Bloomberg’s, Sugarmann’s and the Economists’ notion that all 175 million were bought by you, a few of your friends, and a handful folks in the next county is sheer propaganda aimed at members of Congress they hope to bamboozle into infringing the Second Amendment before voters head to the polls in November.