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tsipple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:18 PM
Original message
Ownership of Firearms in Early Primary States
I thought it would be interesting to share with my fellow DUers some interesting statistics regarding ownership of firearms in the United States. I think it's important for people to understand the statistics to judge how much (or how little) gun control resonates with key voters in key states. You may also see why the Republican Party uses guns as a "wedge issue" when you look at these numbers.

The Harris Poll conducted a national study in 2001 of gun ownership. In the United States overall, 39 percent of households own at least one firearm. That's been pretty much stable for the last 15 years or so. Before that, a slightly higher percentage of households owned firearms.

However, today's households with firearms have tended to own more firearms, on average, over time, suggesting an intensity of interest in gun ownership among those households.

Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of households with firearms generally goes up with income, with the middle class ($50,000 to $74,999 in household income) having the greatest percentage of gun ownership, at 51% of households. (The over $75,000 group is close, though.) That's right: a slight majority of households in the middle class income category nationally own firearms. Higher income households also generally tend to vote in greater numbers.

Republicans own the most firearms (49 percent), followed by independents (41 percent) and Democrats (28 percent).

Southerners more frequently own firearms (43 percent), while easterners are least likely (34 percent). (Within the South, the southeast has an even higher percentage: over 50 percent.)

All age groups, except 18 to 24 year olds, own firearms at about equal rates. (This one may be a statistical anomoly due to the definition of households, though.)

I found some state-by-state statistics in a Duke University study (Adobe Acrobat format). Their report is a bit difficult to read, so I'll try to summarize. These percentages are estimates of the percentage of households with at least one firearm, starting with the earliest caucus state (Iowa) and working through the primary calendar:

Iowa: 45%

New Hampshire: 37%

Arizona: 47%
Delaware: 29%
Missouri: 47%
New Mexico: 44%
North Dakota: 47%
Oklahoma: 51%
South Carolina: 49%

Michigan: 41%
Washington: 43%

Maine: 45%

Tennessee: 53%
Virginia: 44%

Mississippi has the highest percentage of households with guns: over 60 percent. Hawaii has the lowest at about 11 percent. Of the ten states with the lowest percentage of gun ownership, all are solidly Democratic in presidential elections. Of the ten states with the highest percentage of gun ownership, most are solidly Republican, although there are some key swing states in that mix: West Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana particularly. (There's also Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee in that number, although those states are probably less friendly to Democratic presidential candidates.) Of the next ten highest there are another three swing states: Missouri, Nevada, and Arizona.
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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Gun owners will vote for Bush
So our only chance to pander to the anti-gunners and get them out vote the pro-gunners.

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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Oh yeah
guns are expensive. Poor people can't afford them but it would be stupid to get poor people upset that Republicans are pricing guns out of their income levels.
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Redneck Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. This one won't.
This one issue has done more to drive voters away from the Democratic Party than any other.
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mandyky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. Hopefully this will help Dean
do well in these swing states. His stance on guns is one reason I knew he could win where typical Dems might not be able to.
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Padraig18 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Yessir!
This party has allowed a minority of anti-gun vigilantes hijack it's c & p agenda, and have stupidly alienated the *vast majority* of law-abiding gun owners. Dean's support for ALL current federal laws and closing the gun show loophole, and leaving further control to each state is the most sensible thing anyone in our party has had to say on this issue in years.
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tsipple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Look at How John Kerry is Running
Kerry's campaign consultants can read these same statistics, and their now desperate hope is that, by playing up Kerry's support for more federal gun control, he'll sway enough New Hampshire voters to stem his losses there. Kerry knows that if he doesn't win New Hampshire he's cooked. Since New Hampshire has a lower rate of gun ownership than the national average, that's his gamble.

Unfortunately for Kerry I don't think it'll work, because it's also a rather independent state with low crime. Kerry's got much more to answer for with his Iraq vote and Patriot Act vote in fiercely independent New Hampshire.

Then look at what John Kerry is up against. Delaware might (might) be OK, but where do you go from there? And how do you win a general election when the Republicans will do nothing but talk about how you'll take guns away from law-abiding citizens?

Republicans have used firearms as the big wedge issue for years now. It's a perfect trap for many Democrats.

And this is a former gun control advocate talking. Michael Moore is a crazy loon, but he did get me thinking with his "Bowling for Columbine" movie. I just can't conclude any more that high gun ownership in and of itself contributes to high crime because of the Canadian example.

There are certainly many Democrats who point to Canada for guidance on healthcare. So why not on guns? Canada is awash in guns, and yet somehow they figure out how not to shoot at either other. (There are many states where that's true as well.) We need to think about this problem rationally in order to form public policy. Could it be the War on Drugs that's causing so much gun violence?
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KaraokeKarlton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
27. I guarantee you that more than 37% of NH homes own guns
Almost everyone I know across the river either hunts or has a hunter in their family. Vermont, Maine and Pennsylvania are the same. Even most of upstate NY is really big on hunting.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
4. Gun owners are a large group. NRA membership is much, much smaller.
Edited on Sun Nov-02-03 08:42 PM by Feanorcurufinwe
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tsipple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Bush Will Have Lots of Fun Captioning That Kerry Photo
I think that was a dumb campaign move, quite honestly. Approaching the Dukakis-in-the-tank blunder.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Kerry gets two birds with two shots. What a poser.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry, left, inspects a pheasant with Ryan McKiney, right, after Kerry shot the bird near Colo, Iowa.

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tsipple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. "Kerry Shoots Helpless Wildlife for Sport"
Maybe Bush can peel off a few Nader voters.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Is Dean anti-hunting?
I didn't know that. Actually I doubt that's true. So is hunting only wrong when Kerry does it?

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Padraig18 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Is 'nuancing' only OK when 'Saint John the Divine' Kerry does it? n/t
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. How about off-topic sniping and namecalling? Is that ok?
Here's a link for you to check out: A plea for some civility in here
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tsipple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. "So is hunting only wrong when Kerry does it?"
Uh, yeah. You hit the nail on the head.

If you're going to call for more federal gun control, at least have the sense not to go out and get yourself photographed shooting a bird. Nobody is impressed, and a lot of people will get pissed.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. You must be misinformed about Kerry gun stance.
Increased Gun Safety: John Kerry is a gun owner and hunter, and he believes that law-abiding American adults have the right to own guns. But like all of our rights, gun rights come with responsibilities, and those rights allow for reasonable restrictions to keep guns out of the wrong hands. John Kerry strongly supports all of the federal gun laws on the books, and he would take steps to ensure that they are vigorously enforced, cracking down hard on the gun runners, corrupt dealers, straw buyers, and thieves that are putting guns into the hands of criminals in the first place. He will also close the gun show loophole, which is allowing criminals to get access to guns at gun shows without background checks, fix the background check system, which is in a serious state of disrepair, and require that all handguns be sold with a child safety lock.
http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/crime.html


You don't have to be NRA approved to believe in the Second Amendment. Guns and common-sense aren't mutually exclusive and they shouldn't be.

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Padraig18 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Ummm...
... except for the child-safety lock, how is that vastly different from Dean's position? :eyes:
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Bingo! Kerry is not calling for a bunch of additional gun control.
The big difference is Dean's blanket opposition to any "additional gun safety laws" at the Federal level. Like the child safety locks. The Brady law and the Assault Weapons Ban that passed under Clinton -- I find it hard to believe Dean would have pushed so hard to get them through. He says he is for renewing AWB -- but how hard will he fight for it? It seems be be contrary to his stated philosophical principles of state's rights in this area.
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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. He is saying push for the CURRENT AWB and...
strengthen it at the state level.

So is John Kerry BTW.

Dennis Kucinich is the only canidate that wants to go the whole-gun banning hog in Congress.
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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. LOL!
"That pheasant attacked me!"
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tsipple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Seriously, Here's Why That Photo Op Was Dumb
Who does Kerry convince with these photos?

Owners of firearms are going to look at this photo op and think, "Yeah, right. Big deal. He says he's for more gun control."

Gun control advocates look at this and say, "Well, now he's pandering to the gun folks. Why is he doing that?"

Other than the fellow who's holding the bird, I think it pisses off way more people than it convinces.

And that's why it was a dumb photo op. In my opinion.
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Redneck Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. If he came out against gun control...
...and tied that announcement with this event it would have helped him. Since he has stongly come out FOR gun control tsipple is right this photo op won't change any votes.
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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. It would have been better if....
he had shot it with a 870 police express and a 2 shot extension tube.

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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. Oh, you're just jealous because Dean can't hit the side of a barn.
Extending the Assault Weapons Ban, fixing the background check system, closing the gun show loophole, and requiring child safety locks may just seem like 'more gun control' in a black and white world. But gun owners (what kind do you have, by the way?) are just as sophisticated as any other group. It's just common sense to do these things. And the NRA rhetoric is wearing thin.


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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Yep banning PRE-BAN TYPE assault weapons and..
not POST-BAN TYPE assault weapons is soooo common sense. Not.
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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #12
26. Clinton went duck hunting on tv and it didn't hurt him
Not saying this will work- most American's don't hunt- but it never hurt Clinton to go hunting.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. It's just a way of showing
that it's not BS when Kerry says he's a hunter.
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BallaFaseke Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. It's just ploy to calm down
sportsmen in states like KY and WV.

That's all.
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DrFunkenstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
29. Why It Is Smart
Because people will think "Better that somebody shoots that bird rather than my daughter."

My position has always been "Let the hicks shoot a couple of helpless fluffy animals if it will pacify them from throwing a hissy about reasonable gun control" (no condescion intended).

I'm an animal lover, and I said that I was ambivalent about him shooting the bird. I was impressed that he actually did it, but I was also feeling sad for the poor bird. But, then again, I eat processed meat on a regular basis...
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-02-03 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
20. Responsible gun owners don't mind laws
Not every person who owns a gun thinks we shouldn't have laws about what kind of guns are sold, who buys them, where they're sold, and how they're stored. Rural people who own guns are usually more rigid about safety and responsibility than anyone else in the country. All we have to do is ask for their help. They will be more than happy to step up and work for responsible gun laws. They don't want a kid killed with a gun they once owned.

I know a whole lot more true gun nuts here in liberal Oregon, just 60 miles from Eugene, than I ever knew in conservative Montana.
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