As the debate over gun rights continues in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, there’s some interesting — and dueling — research emerging about Americans and firearms. According to a report in the New York Times, gun ownership in U.S. homes has allegedly declined dramatically over the past four decades.
The 40-year decrease was found in the General Social Survey (GSS), a research initiative that is conducted every two years in an effort to study and gauge basic trends among the American populace (NORC, a research organization at the University of Chicago, is responsible for implementing the survey). The latest results found a downward trend in gun ownership since the late 1970s.
In was in the 1970s that 50 percent of the population, on average, reported having a gun in their household. This proportion dropped to 49 percent in the 1980s. But by the 1990s, it fell more dramatically to 43 percent, dipping even lower to 35 percent in the 2000s, the Times reports. In 2012, the rate was 34 percent, showcasing a steep decline when looking back just a few decades.
In addition to this purported drop, surprising dips in home firearms possession occurred in the South and in Western mountain states. These declines are certainly noteworthy, but so is the fact that household gun ownership appears to be down in cohorts across the board. Whether talking about cities, suburbs, rural areas or homes with or without children — the rate, at least according to the GSS, has decreased.
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