Forty-seven percent of American adults currently report that they have a gun in their home or elsewhere on their property, according to October 2011 Gallup data. This is up almost 15% from 41% a year ago and is the highest Gallup has recorded since 1993 (54%), albeit marginally above the 44% and 45% highs seen since that year.
In addition, a record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the US other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.
Female Gun Ownership Rises Significantly
The percentage of women who report household gun ownership is also at a new high, now registering 43%. This is up 19% from 36% in 2010. In addition, the percentage of women owning guns has not risen above 40% since 2003, when 36% owned guns; that percentage hit a recent high of 39% a year later.
Meanwhile, 52% of men report household gun ownership, the same percentage reporting household gun ownership in 2004, 2008 and 2009. A slightly higher 53% of men lived in a household with at least one gun in 2003 and 2006. Year-over-year, the percentage rose 15% from 45%, marking the lowest percentage of household gun ownership among men in any year since 2002.
1 in 3 Americans Personally Owns Gun
Since 2000, Gallup has asked respondents with guns in their households a follow-up question to determine if the gun belongs to the respondent or to someone else. On this basis, Gallup finds that 34% of all Americans personally own a gun.
The gender gap in personal gun ownership is wider than that seen for household ownership, as 46% of all adult men and only 23% of all women say they personally own a gun. Middle-aged adults, those 35 to 54 years of age, and adults with no college education are more likely than their counterparts to be gun owners.
In addition, gun ownership is more common in the South (54%) and Midwest (51%) than in the East (36%) or West (43%), a finding typical of Gallup’s trends in gun ownership by region.
Americans Tend to See Crime Increasing
In 2010, 66% of Americans viewed crime as increasing, and 17% said it was decreasing, according to Gallup data released in November 2010. Gallup analysis indicates Americans generally view crime as on the rise. Going back to 1989, 84% of Americans thought crime was increasing. This rate stayed above 80% until the mid-1990s, and then dipped to a recent low point of 43% in 2002, before shooting back up to 62% in 2003.
Sixty-six percent is still an improvement on recent figures. For example, 74% of Americans said crime was increasing in 2009, as did 67% in 2008 and 71% in 2007.
About the Data: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.