Just three percent of adults own half of America’s guns

From The Washington Post:

 

Just 3 percent of American adults own half of the nation’s firearms, according to the results of a Harvard-Northeastern survey of 4,000 gun owners.

The survey’s findings support other research showing that as overall rates of gun ownership has declined, the number of firearms in circulation has skyrocketed. The implication is that there are more guns in fewer hands than ever before. The top 3 percent of American adults own, on average, 17 guns apiece, according to the survey’s estimates.

The survey is particularly useful to researchers because it asked respondents not just whether they own guns, but how many and what types of guns they own. This makes for one of the clearest pictures yet of American gun ownership, showing the concentration of most guns in the hands of a small fraction of American adults.

The study found that 22 percent of American adults say they personally own a firearm. This is lower than the percentages reported in some other recent surveys, such as those by the Pew Research Center (31 percent) and Gallup (28 percent).

Based on the percentage of people owning guns and the number of guns that respondents reported owning, the survey estimates that 265 million guns are in circulation, or more than one for every adult. This is lower than other estimates, which put the number of guns in circulation at 300 million or more.

Gun rights advocates are often skeptical of gun-ownership surveys, saying that many owners may not disclose the presence of guns to a stranger over the phone or in person. Survey researchers have generally found little evidence to support this claim. The Harvard-Northeastern survey was conducted anonymously via an …

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