How many Americans personally own guns, and what do they use them for? A recent Gallup Poll* shows that 3 in 10 Americans personally own a gun; most gun owners say they use their guns to protect themselves against crime, for hunting, and for target shooting. Gun ownership varies by different groups in the country, with men more likely to be gun owners than women, Southerners and Midwesterners more likely than Easterners or Westerners, Republicans more so than Democrats, and older rather than younger Americans.
The poll, conducted Oct. 13-16, finds that 4 in 10 Americans report they have a gun in their homes, including 30% who say they personally own a gun and 12% who say another member of their household owns it. These results show essentially no change since this question was last asked in 2000. At that time, 27% of Americans said they personally owned a gun and 14% said another household member owned one.