Gun Ownership

1. Almost half of gun owners own four or more guns

We analyzed a nationally representative household telephone survey of over 2,750 adults conducted in 2004.  We found that 38% of households (45% of men and 11% of women) reported owning at least one firearm.  Almost half (48%) of gun owners report owning four or more guns with a few possessing large numbers of guns; 64% of gun owners own at least one handgun.  Gun ownership remains widespread, but a smaller percentage of gun owners possess an increasing percentage of the gun stock.

Hepburn, Lisa; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David.  The US gun stock: Results from the 2004 national firearms survey.  Injury Prevention.  2007; 13:15-19.


2. Owners of semi-automatic guns are more likely to binge drink than other gun owners

We analyzed data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey.  Owners of semi-automatic weapons are more likely than other gun owners to be male, own a gun for protection, and report binge drinking.

Hemenway, David; Richardson, Elizabeth.  Characteristics of automatic or semi-automatic firearm ownership.  American Journal of Public Health.  1997; 87:286-88.


3-4. Gun ownership creates external psychic costs

We analyzed whether perceptions of safety might be affected if more people in a community acquired firearms using data from a national random-digit-dial survey of adults conducted under the auspices of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.  By a margin of more than 3 to 1, Americans would feel less safe, not safer, as others in their community acquire guns.  Among women, but not among men, those who have been threatened with a gun are particularly likely to feel less safe.

Hemenway, David; Solnick, Sara J; Azrael, Deborah R.  Firearms and community feelings of safety.  Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.  1995; 86:121-132.

Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David.  Community firearms and community fear.  Epidemiology.  2000; 11:709-714.