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Gun 'Super Owners': Tiny Niche Possesses Half of US Firearms

Gun 'Super Owners': Tiny Niche Possesses Half of US Firearms

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:43 AM

Gun "super owners," with an average arsenal of 17 weapons, comprise about 3 percent of American adults and possess half of the firearms in the country, according to an unpublished Harvard survey obtained by news media.

The survey, conducted by Harvard University along with Northeastern University public health researchers, and obtained by The Guardian and the website The Trace, found that while Americans own an estimated 265 million guns, 133 million of them belong to the the so-called "super owners" category.

The survey estimated there are 55 million gun owners in the United States, possessing about three firearms each. It said 7.7 million Americans are "super owners," possessing from eight and 140 guns.

Marketing experts told The Guardian that concentration of ownership isn't unusual since about 20 percent of loyal consumers typically account for 80 percent of a product's sales.

According to The Trace, researchers asked participants for detailed information about their guns and ownership habits, such as the types of guns they have in their residence and why they kept them.

"It's very rare for other surveys to try to estimate the gun stock," said David Hemenway, the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and one of the lead authors of the survey. "Other surveys ask 'Is there a gun in the house,' and not 'How many guns?'"

Bryce Towsley, a gun writer and the author of Prepper Guns, a firearms guide for survivalists, told The Guardian that he was concerned the survey could have a chilling effect politically on gun owners.

"They're going to say, 'Okay, there's a small minority of people who have all the guns – we're going to go after them.'"

A telephone survey conducted by Harvard Injury Control Research Center in 2004 found similar trends with 48 percent of gun owners reporting possessing four or more guns.

That study found that "64 percent 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."

The new survey said gun ownership has increased even though gun violence rates and crime in the United States have reportedly dropped. The survey suggested that self-defense was an important factor in the rise in gun ownership.

"The desire to own a gun for protection – there's a disconnect between that and the decreasing rates of lethal violence in this country," Matthew Miller, a Northeastern University and Harvard School of Public Health professor and one of study's authors, told The Guardian. "It isn't a response to actuarial reality."

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Gun "super owners," with an average arsenal of 17 weapons, comprise about 3 percent of American adults and possess half of the firearms in the country, according to an unpublished Harvard survey obtained by news media.
gun, super, owners
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2016-43-21
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:43 AM
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