America’s gun fantasy

Very, very few of the guns in America are used for hunting. In fact, fewer of us now own any kind of gun for any reason—even as the number of guns has increased phenomenally. In the 1970s about half of Americans had a gun, and it was almost always just a gun, one on average. Today only about a quarter of Americans own guns—but the average owner has three or four. Fewer than 8 million people, only 3 percent of all American adults, own roughly half the guns. Members of that tiny minority of superenthusiasts own an average of 17 guns apiece. (These data come from NORC at the University of Chicago’s 2015 General Social Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 survey, the Congressional Research Service, the Federal Reserve, research by Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, and a survey conducted in 2015 by Harvard and Northeastern University researchers.)