A new Harvard survey has revealed America’s changing gun habits over the last two decades.
According to the National Firearms Survey, about 44 million Americans owned 192 million guns twenty years ago. Today, approximately 55 million Americans own 265 million guns.
More Americans than ever carry firearms and their weapon of choice has dramatically changed over the years.
The results are in and are conclusive: The age of the handgun has arrived.
In recent years, Americans with firearms are showing a preference for these small, easily-concealed weapons which are largely associated with self-defence.
Research by Harvard and Northeastern University found that handguns now make up 42 percent of the country’s privately owned firearms, compared to just 34 percent in 1994.
This marks a notable shift from past preferences for guns used for sporting and rural pursuits, such as shotguns and rifles, the New York Times reports.
The study indicates Americans take advantage of their right to bear arms, as granted by the second amendment of 1791, citing self-defence above all other reasons.
Skip forward two centuries to 1994, when 43 percent of respondents chose ‘protection against people’ over hunting, collection and sporting use to explain their gun ownership.
According to the survey, there has been a twenty percent increase – up to 63 percent – in respondents claiming they own guns to protect against other people with guns.
Time and time again people have rehashed this flawed logic.
One of the authors, Professor Matthew Miller of Northeastern University said:
On average, the gun imperils everyone in the home more than it protects them.Advertisement
If you can get people to understand the risk that they are assuming and imposing on people in their home, you can actually save lives.
But that doesn’t silence the conflicting narrative on gun control that has split America and seen so many align themselves with pro-gun lifestyles such as Concealed Carry.
While concealed carry requires a permit in most states, they are often granted to anyone over 21 without a criminal record.
Open carry – or carrying a handgun in plain sight – is generally allowed.
The study also showed that over half of Americas guns are in the hands of just 14 percent of gun owners, implying that super-collectors still control a huge number of firearms.
Academics have tried to explain this worrying trend.
They lay the statistics at the feet of a 24-hour news service that makes the world seem a more dangerous place, and the declining rural industries that have forced gun marketing companies to look elsewhere to sell their weapons.
In a country that was built on the concept of freedom, people have defended their right to own guns steadfastly and with an unwavering ignorance of the facts.
I just hope this surge in people carrying handguns comes with a rise of education about firearms and does not cause anymore bloodshed.