National Security

More gun owners citing crime as reason for owning weapons: poll

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More gun owners in the U.S. say they have their firearms to protect themselves against crime, according to a new survey.

The Gallup poll found that 88 percent of gun owners said that they own their weapon for crime protection, an increase of more than 20 points from the 67 percent who listed the reason in 2005. 

The survey giant also found that the percentages of gun owners who say they use their weapons for purposes like target shooting or hunting have remained relatively static over the years.

In 2021, 70 percent of gun owners said they had their firearms for target shooting, compared to 66 percent in 2005. Fifty-six percent of people also said they used their guns for hunting in 2021 while 58 percent cited this reason in 2005. 

Nearly a third of respondents said they own a gun, a result that has remained around 30 percent since Gallup began measuring it in 2000. 

Forty-four percent of respondents also said a household member other than themselves has a gun. Household ownership has dipped slightly from around 50 percent in the early 1990s, Gallup noted.

This data comes from a Gallup survey of 823 adults, including 290 gun owners, that was conducted from Oct. 1 through Oct. 19. The margins of error for the results range from 4 to 7 percentage points.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2020 in late September showed that homicides increased by nearly 30 percent from 2019 to 2020, marking the “largest single-year increase” the FBI has reported since it began collecting the data in the 1960s.

The FBI’s report also indicated that violent crime increased by 5 percent from 2019 to 2020, though overall crime was down 6 percent during the same time period. 

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