A national survey shows that US gun ownership has fallen steeply since the 1980s, even in the South and Western mountain areas where guns are more popular, the New York Times reports. The national ownership rate hovered around 50% in the 1970s and '80s, but dropped to 43% in the 1990s and 35% the decade after, according to the General Social Survey, the only poll to cover US gun ownership for so long. Democrats and independents lead the shift, with Republican gun ownership down just slightly. But not everyone is buying the numbers.
Gallup shows a higher number of US gun owners and a smaller decrease, while the NRA points out reports of rising gun sales and the more background checks. But the survey's director says those reports may reflect current gun owners stocking up on more firepower. Theories behind the apparent trend are fascinating, with experts noting:
- the end of the US draft (fewer soldiers = fewer household guns)
- rising urbanization (guns being favored in rural areas)
- more Hispanics (only 14% of them have guns)
- and more women heading households (only 10% of women own guns)
But here's a poll that seems to contradict the female gun numbers