Although surveys of gun ownership need to be consumed intelligently, as with all data, a recent “Fact Tank” posting the Pew Research Center presented a table that really caught my eye.
Rather than just asking “do you own a gun,” this 2013 survey asked people to indicate the MAIN reason they own a gun (hence the columns totaling to 100% – since many people would obviously own guns for multiple reasons). The 2013 Pew data are then compared to data from a 1999 survey by ABC News/Washington Post.
The dramatic rise in the number of people who — when forced to choose — indicate PROTECTION is strong evidence for the existence of Gun Culture 2.0.
At the same time, 1/3 of respondents still maintain that hunting is their main reason for owning a gun, suggesting that Gun Culture 1.0 is not dead yet — though it may be graying. It would be nice to see the breakdown in reason for gun ownership by age to see if the protection owners are younger on average than the hunting owners.