‘Nearly One-Third of Gun Owners Have Used Gun in Self-Defense,’ Says Report

Injunction Sought in Federal Lawsuit Over Riverside, California Sheriff Stan Sniff’s “Discriminatory and Unconstitutional” Handgun License Policies
More than 30 percent of American gun owners say they have used a gun in self-defense.

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- A whopping 31.1 percent of gun owners—estimated to be about 25.3 million American adults—have used a gun in self-defense, according to the 2021 National Firearms Survey, by Prof. William English, PhD., at Georgetown University.

Ammoland obtained a copy of the 23-page report and it contains some eye-popping data. For example:

  • There is approximately 1.67 million defensive gun uses annually.
  • In most cases (81.9%) the gun is not fired.
  • Handguns are the most commonly used firearm in defensive incidents. Shotguns follow at 21 percent and rifles at 13.1 percent.
  • Slightly more than 9 percent of gun owners carry a handgun openly or concealed “always or almost always.” Another 6.9 percent carry a handgun “often.”
  • The majority (74.8%) of defensive gun uses take place outside the home, and many (51.2%) involve more than one assailant.

That last item is important, as it bolsters the argument that the right to bear arms must apply to carry outside of the home. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging the New York State permitting scheme on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

The Hill also reported on the survey, which blows some commonly-held beliefs of the gun prohibition lobby out of the water.

According to the survey, 32.5 percent of American adults age 21 and over own a firearm. That’s about one-third of the adult population or approximately 81.4 million people.

That breaks down to 57.8 percent of gun owners being men and 42.2 percent being women.

Percentage-wise, 34.3 percent of Whites are gun owners, 28.3 percent of Hispanics own firearms, 25.4 percent of blacks are gun owners and 19.4 percent of Asians own firearms.

One piece of data picked up by both the WSJ and The Hill is extremely important, and not just because both publications zeroed in on it. Since January 2019, according to The Hill, “Nearly half of all new U.S. buyers since the start of 2019 were women, according to new data, a tremendous shift in the historically male-dominated market.” This translates to an estimated 3.5 million women and 4 million men, all of whom became first-time gun owners, which is no small number of people.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms had this to say:

“Millions of Americans appreciate now, more than ever, the fact that our Second Amendment protects their right to own a gun. This should send a message to anti-gun politicians and the gun prohibition lobby that increasing numbers of American citizens aren’t buying the nonsense they’re selling. Instead, these good-sense citizens are buying firearms, learning to use them properly and making it clear they will not surrender their safety, and that of their neighborhoods, to an emboldened criminal element.”

CCRKBA, he said in a prepared statement, has “always encouraged new gun owners to seek good safety instruction through local gun ranges or gun clubs so they can become both competent and confident.”

Gottlieb and others, including the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation, all agree that women are the fastest-growing segment in the firearms community. In an era when many big city police departments are losing manpower because of politics (i.e. “defund the police”), increasing numbers of citizens are buying firearms and assuming a greater responsibility for their own safety.

As noted by English in his abstract, “A majority of gun owners (56.2%) indicate that they carry a handgun for self-defense in at least some circumstances, and about 35% of gun owners report carrying a handgun with some frequency. We estimate that approximately 20.7 million gun owners (26.3%) carry a handgun in public under a ‘concealed carry’’ regime; and 34.9% of gun owners report that there have been instances in which they had wanted to carry a handgun for self-defense, but local rules did not allow them to carry.”

The Crime Prevention Research Center, founded by economist and author John Lott, issues an annual report on the estimated number of active concealed carry licenses and permits in early October. Data from the 2020 report says 19.48 million people were licensed to carry and that number, by now, has certainly gone up.

Ammoland will update that number when it becomes available.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman


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Joe R.

Funny (but not ‘ha-ha’ funny), everyone on the wrong side said that Oklahoma would be “The Wild West” after we went “Constitutional Carry”.

Wrong again.

And again.

And again.

And again.


Way back when WY was in the process of gettting “Constitutional Carry,” the state legislators who voted against it indicated the reason was that they had spoken to LEOs (not leadership) who told them to vote against the bill “for public safety.”

They said the same thing – the state would turn into the “Wild West” and that only people who were properly trained and vetted by law enforcement should be allowed to carry firearms.

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

Hey, it’s those four guys again who don’t want people to put this into their search engine:

P.I. and Ex-Cop OWNS Clueless Cops on DashCam

While you’re there, check out the hundreds of other videos of enforcers abusing the rights of “civilians.”


These numbers are promising.
Now how do we get them to vote properly?
My father who claim to be pro first and second amendment, sure as Hell does not vote that way.
They hate Trump so much it clouds the part of the brain that reasons.
Very strange phenomenon.


Make sure all dealers write to every customer before every election and advise the following:

“We don’t expect to agree on every issue, but if you want to keep the firearms you own and be able to buy more firearms and ammunition, we suggest you vote for _________.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Bterclinger

May not be every dealer, but every election I get such emails from at least three instructors, half a dozen shops and a slew of civil rights organizations.

I suspect many customers would be disturbed to find themselves on dealer lists. Sure you put personal info paperwork to purchase, but unless you agree to be on a mailing list, dealer has no business keeping your info anywhere beyond the legally mandated filing cabinet. Only to be viewed if your serial number pops on a trace request.


now if only they stop voting for leftists who want to take away our rights. the numbers are much higher than even i thought. there are millions of people who want to purchase and own firearms, but only a handful of politicians (along with their sycophant media) that want to deny us the right.
always talk to people about the immorality of someone wanting to take away your right to defend yourself and your family. the days of slavery are over, but the leftists want it back.

Deplorable Bill

This article should be front page news and on main stream media nation wide. We have always known there is a high percentage of “good guy with a gun” happenings but this is the first time I have seen numbers relative to them. Stats like 1.67 MILLION incidents PER YEAR are both eye opening and a blessing. I would have guessed more incidents but 1.67 MILLION possible/probable/confirmed lives saved is a good day in anyone’s book except the demoncraps. I have personally been stuck in several situations. Not every one of them requiring rounds down range but more than one… Read more »


It is consistently reported at 500,000 to 3 million per year. The first time it was studied and the 3 million was determined, the gov burried it. They didnt want to admit firearms were so effective that just presenting one without firing was enough to deter crime. The public is its own best defense. The gov will never be better at it, and wont bother to try. But they will keep trying to disarm the people and make them slaves.

Deplorable Bill

The best first responder is the one who is present when things go sideways. The police, the good ones I mean, are seldom on site and on time at the same time. I have no doubt whatsoever the government, especially the communist demoncrapic side of our government, suppress this data along with other important data all the time. We, the people, truly are our own first responders.

Arm up and carry on


I will assert that there are many defensive purposes of firearms that don’t involve crime or criminals, and this is an important point, IMO. A violent stray dog, a coyote, mountain lion, bear, badger, etc., are all real and significant possible dangers to one’s self, one’s children, one’s pets, one’s livestock, etc.


Arizona – you do know that at least one of the gummint outfits that INTENTIONALLY hid that data was )wait for it)

the centers for disease control.
Guess which outfit is currently demanding to be ‘allowed’ to study “gun violence”? Never mind that the director admitted inpublic that she hates guns………………..

Knute Knute

I have had two DGUs. Neither of them required sending rounds downrange… but the second one was so near a thing that I got time dilation in it.


Bill, it hasn’t been the job of the media to present facts ever. That’s not what media is. Our recent fixation on factual and “scientific” is part and parcel to the modern religion of Scientism.

Media has historically been considered a singular view among many, and the intent was to make a persuasive and at least somewhat authoritative case of regarding particular perspective on events. Credibility was constructed over time.

People now just hand credibility to “news” sources. That is a basic error in reasoning. People anymore are largely too ignorant to even understand the distinctions I am making here.


“People anymore are largely too ignorant to even understand the distinctions I am making here.”



Very Interesting. The only number I questions is the 31% that say they used their firearm in Self Defence as that sounds NUTS. I got my CC the first year SD offered one, which if my Marbles are correct was 45 years ago. I CC every day and have for over 20 years. I am guessing most of us hope we never have to use our firearm, but some of us actually hope they can…………… Part of my life has me hanging out with some very strange folks (like me), many of whom were once dangerous and some still are,… Read more »


David, regardless, the length of time has absolutely nothing to do with the percentage of those that had used their firearm to prevent a problem. The same percentage(s) would apply if the same amount of people using their firearm in one year would be the very same if the same percentage or amount of people took a span of 40 years doing the very same action.

Last edited 1 year ago by USMC0351Grunt
Joe R.

Those are rookie numbers, you gotta bring those way up.


How long until they start rolling back gun rights, Dave? We now have a stolen federal govt, a junta, 25 yrs after you voted as a “director” to put the LaPew-Hammerhead “Winning Team” grifters in position to fly the NRA into a smoking hole & loot $15-20 Billion in donations that should’ve gone to saving the USA? The groups and leaders you mention are gun control collaborators. NRA is the premiere Vichy gun group, infested with fans of VichyCon Grover Norquist, who collaborates with Bloomberg & Murdoch to elect anti-gun candidates provided they back his “Libertarian” deluge-immigration & 1-way “free… Read more »


is it not funny that they down vote the truth? you left off big pharma blocking far uvc 222nm light which would have prevented this mess ,and the yearly flu. the oral and nasal actual vaccines against covids that dont make the news because they dont come from big donors .


It’s hysterical when people downvote the truth.




People who are used to using power instead of facts and logic get frustrated easily when they no longer have power.

Knute Knute

The truth always goes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is actively opposed. Third, it is finally accepted as self evident.
This is stage two… active opposition.


Not all conspiracies are veiled. The biggest conspiracy is right out in the open. Totalitarians were frustrated at not being able to introduce communisim into the US. Cloward and Piven explained both the problem and the solution for totalitarians: Problem: The American form of government combined with a capitalistic economy was too successful. There were just not enough malecontents to whom the false promise of “free stuff” would appeal. Their Solution: Part 1: Incremental socialism Part 2: Overload the system in every way possible (social programs, never-ending war, massive number of inefficient government employees who fight to defend government employees,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

It’s a mess. We had one poster from NY state today who said draconian concealed carry permit laws in NY (outside of NYC) are not so bad. Another poster said people should have to take government-approved training before they can get a concealed carry permit, and that it was well within the purview of government to mandate that training. Both of those people are not in the age group that is routinely disparged on this board. More gun laws are going to be passed. “Non-civilian” government employees are going to enforce those laws against the people they are told to… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

“It’s a mess.”

If it ain’t, it’ll do till one gets here.


Yes sir, sheriff.

I think this one here is management.

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

Whoa, sheriff! We gotta circulate this…on the radio!

Alright, but what do we circulate? Looking for a man who has recently drunk milk?

Last edited 1 year ago by Russn8r

You can’t make up such a thing as that.

I dare you to even try.


You can’t help but compare yourself against the old-timers.


You can’t stop what’s comin’.

(I think that about sums it up)


They’re hovering. Don’t disappoint them.

Always liked to hear about the old-timers. Never missed a chance to do so.

P.S. If you can’t stop what’s coming, why are we here?

Last edited 1 year ago by Russn8r

My opinion? What’s comin’ isn’t a civil war. What’s comin’ isn’t a revolutionary war. No 70-something year old veterans are going to be using their 1911s to fight Robert Francis, BLM, or Antifa on their front lawns. What’s comin’ is more gun control laws and enforcers (many of whom are veterans) will enforce those laws until they decide not to. Their change of mind could come from a number of different influences. Maybe some will read things in books and on the internet that will cause them to decide not to be like the enforcers used by Mao, Stalin, Hitler,… Read more »

Knute Knute

Perhaps because even though we cannot stop the future from coming… we CAN affect it?
OFC, there are many that such subtleties are lost on. Fundamentalists cannot see colors or shades. Only black and white.