Nearly Half Say Protection is Top Reason for Owning a Gun

Mar 12, 2013

The vast majority of gun owners say that having a gun makes them feel safer. And far more today than in 1999 cite protection – rather than hunting or other activities – as the main reason they own guns.

A national survey finds that nearly half of gun owners (48%) volunteer that the main reason they own a gun is for protection; just 32% say they have a gun primarily for hunting and even fewer cite other reasons, such as target shooting. In 1999, 49% said they owned a gun mostly for hunting, while just 26% cited protection as the biggest factor.

The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 13-18 among 1,504 adults, finds that safety also is a major concern among the majority of Americans who do not have guns. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) of those in households without guns say they would be uncomfortable having a gun in their homes. When asked why they would be uncomfortable, more cite concerns over gun accidents and safety than any other factor.

Read the full report, Perspectives of Gun Owners, Non-Owners, from the Pew Center for the People and the Press.

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