The surge in “quiet gun owners” is prompting firearms analysts in conservative circles to question the accuracy of polls that estimate gun ownership in the United States at only around 30%. A groundbreaking study from Rutgers University’s New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center suggests that the actual number of gun owners might be much higher, possibly reaching up to 60%. This study has caught the attention of gun enthusiasts and advocates who have long suspected that many Americans conceal their gun ownership from pollsters.
The research center’s study utilized probability-based profiles of confirmed gun owners and applied them to a sample of 3,500 respondents. The results indicate that up to a third of those polled may be lying about not owning guns, with an estimated 220 to 1,036 potential “quiet gun owners” who are secretive about their status. Stephen Gutowski, founder of The Reload blog, believes this discrepancy could significantly impact the overall percentage of gun owners, potentially raising it from 33% to the 60% range.
Reason Magazine’s J.D. Tuccille calls these individuals “quiet gun owners,” suggesting they may withhold information from pollsters out of concern for government scrutiny or disapproval from their neighbors. In urban areas where gun ownership is frowned upon, residents might deny owning guns due to local cultural pressures. The study’s findings have major implications for lawmakers advocating gun control measures, as they could inadvertently be targeting their own political base if gun ownership is more widespread across different demographics than previously assumed.
Tuccille and Gutowski argue that the increasing prevalence of gun ownership beyond traditional demographics, such as white suburban men, will likely lead to resistance against restrictive policies. New gun owners, particularly women and minorities from suburban and urban areas, may resist attempts to strip them of their self-defense tools, which they acquired out of necessity. Additionally, they may resent policies pushed by urban, left-of-center politicians that apply to all gun owners, regardless of where they live and vote.
As the gun-ownership landscape continues to grow and change, it is becoming evident that the number of gun owners might be significantly underestimated by polls. This information is crucial for policymakers to consider when crafting gun-related legislation, as it indicates a broader and more diverse demographic of gun owners who value their Second Amendment rights and are likely to resist attempts to infringe upon them.