Since we're all about guns in this country--hey, you can't shoot the spouse, kids, and yourself without one--it's always good to see someone do a little research on our deadly fetish.
According to a report by The Guardian, public health researchers at Harvard and Northeastern University did just that last year through an outfit named, GfK. It was what's called an opt in survey where people were compensated to participate after they mailed their responses to the company.
There were a couple of mild surprises. The first being the poll indicated there are currently 265 million guns owned in the U.S. today. That's somewhat lower than the 300 million usually cited in articles and essays. The second is that 133 million of those weapons are owned by roughly three percent of the adult population.
The survey found that out of 55 million gun owners most have an average of three weapons. A little less than half that number own a single firearm. 7.7 million people own anywhere from eight to 140.
While the figure might sound odd, market researchers at GfK report it is in line with other products which aren't guns. They say 80% of any product is bought by 20% of the total number of buyers.
Other findings in the survey aren't so surprising. You know, stats like your average gun owner is a white male conservative who lives in a rural area--that 30% of self described conservatives say they own a weapon, while 19% of so called moderates and 14% of people who claim to be liberal do.
When it comes to people who own only hand guns the numbers go askew. 44% of African American and 37% of Hispanic gun owners fall into that category. The research showed people who own only hand guns are concentrated in cities and are more likely to be non white.
The report found there are 70 million more guns in circulation right now than there were in 1994. It also showed there are 10 million additional gun owners since that year and sales have spiked since Barack Obama became president.
Well, what do you expect when people like the NRA and other fringe elements are running around telling everyone the president and now Hillary Clinton want to take away every body's weapon. It's abject bullshit of course, neither of them has advocated gun confiscation, just tighter rules when it comes to being able to lay your hands on one.
Perhaps the most disturbing statistic is that the survey says there are 400,000 guns stolen every year in this country. At least that is the number reported. That means nearly a half a million weapons fall into the hands of proven felons every 365 days.
Of course any survey depends on the honesty of its respondents. There are a lot of rubes out there who think any sort of question asked about gun ownership is some sort of government plot. Who knows how many of them took GfK's money and just made shit up.
What we do know is that of the 30,000 gun deaths a year, two thirds are suicides. Without access to a firearm the act becomes a tad more difficult, or at least less impulsive.
We also know the worn out NRA cliché which says the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun is a terrible lie. More guns simply mean more mayhem. That and despite all the bombast about stopping terrorists, the NRA steadfastly opposes any sort of regulation, or law which might restrict access to guns by those who are suspected of being involved in such gruesome activities.
Yes, we have this unexplainable addiction to guns. We are the collective Gollum to not just, "The One Ring," but 265 million of them. And--we will not only do anything to keep a firearm, we'll justify any nefarious plot and lie in order to make sure we can amass more of them.
No wonder much of the civilized world considers our society not only decadent, but deadly and loathsome.
sic vita est