National Firearms Survey 2021: Firearms Estimates and Defensive Gun Uses

More people are arming for self-defense these days. Part of that should be preparedness training at a gun range. iStock-488768604
More people are arming for self-defense these days. Part of that should be preparedness training at a gun range. iStock-488768604

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)-– On July 16, 2021, Dr. William English submitted a draft report on his extensive National Firearms Survey of 2021.

On July 18, 2021, Dr. William English submitted a draft report on “The Right to Carry Has Not Increased Crime: Improving an Old Debate Through Better Data on Permit Growth Over Time”. This paper will be covered more completely in another article.

In 2021, Dr. William English submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court on the NYSRPA v. Bruen case, which was decided on June 22, 2022. Bruen clarified many contentious points about how Second Amendment cases should be treated by the lower courts.

As both studies took considerable time and effort, the work had considerable overlap. The two studies, it appears, are Dr. English’s first public research contributions to the state of academic firearms knowledge in the United States.

Both papers are more complete than previous studies, employing more granular data and much larger samples, and sophisticated mathematics to analyze the data.  The results of the 2021 National Firearms Survey are considered below.

The National Firearms Survey was conducted from  February 17 to March 23, 2021. It involved the largest, most comprehensive sample of gun owners in the United States to date. The sample used online polling and started with a survey starting with a representative sample of over fifty-four thousand United states residents. Of the fifty-four thousand samples, 16,708 gun owners were identified to ask in-depth questions about their use and ownership of firearms.

The survey employed sophisticated techniques to gain maximum participation. However, if a respondent was careful not to admit to firearms ownership, they would not be included in the survey. Thus, it is likely the survey is an unknown undercount of actual firearms ownership.

From the survey:

  • About a third of adults in the U.S. report owning a firearm, totaling about 81.4 million adult gun owners.
  • 57.8% of gun owners are male, 42.2% are female.
  • 25.4% of Blacks own firearms.
  • 28.3% of Hispanics own firearms.
  • 19.4% of Asians own firearms.
  • 34.3% of Whites own firearms.

The number of respondents who had used a firearm for defense of self or property was a major point of investigation in the survey.

Defensive firearms uses were common.   31.1% of respondents reported they had used a firearm for defensive purposes. Most of the defensive purposes occurred in their residence or on their property. In 81.9 % of the cases, no shots were fired.

The total number of defensive uses per year  (1.67 million) falls well within the range of previous studies.

Handguns were the firearm most commonly used for defense of self and property  (65.9%). Shotguns were used 21% of the time, and rifles in 13.1% of the incidents.

The survey results show a good match to the numbers of people with concealed carry permits. The 2021 survey estimated 20.7 million American residents carry handguns under a concealed carry permit regime.  This is very close to the CPRC estimate of 21.52 million active permits in 2021.

The survey found these numbers for the types of firearms owned:

  • 82.7% of gun owners report owning a handgun, 68.8% report owning a rifle, and 58.4% report owning a shotgun.
  • 21.9% of gun owners own only one firearm.
  • The average gun owner owns five firearms.
  • 30.2% of gun owners, about 24.6 million people, have owned an AR-15 or similarly styled rifle.
  • 48.0% of gun owners have owned magazines that hold over ten rounds.

Those results are directly applicable to the debate on the right to keep and bear arms in the United States. The Supreme Court has ruled arms that are in “common use” are protected under the Second Amendment. In the Caetano decision, the Supreme Court ruled the ownership of about 200,000 “stun guns” showed stun guns were in common use.

The survey estimated that 415 million firearms were privately owned in the United States in the spring of 2021.

Approximately 24 million guns have been added to the private stock since that time. At the end of August 2022, adding the additional firearms to the survey results show about 439 million private firearms in the United States.

Using the method perfected by Gary Kleck in 1991 (pioneered by Newton and Zimring) and extending it to the end of August 2022, there would be 485 million guns in private hands.

The number of private firearms is a difficult number to quantify and measure. The survey supports the numbers calculated with the Kleck, Newton, and Zimring method. If 1 of 10 firearms owners were unwilling to admit to ownership of a firearm, even in an “anonymous Internet survey,” the fit would be too close to dispute.

Dr. William English has shed considerable light on the actual numbers of firearms privately owned in the United States, firearms used for defensive purposes, and the demographics of firearms ownership in the United States.

His survey will become a baseline for further research on this subject.

Dr. English has started a book based on his research that will be available in the near future.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Randy

Yes, Bill, we are many, but I don’t see us as organized as the antis. They have organizations in many states, if push comes to shove we are scattered with no real organization for getting large groups together. I believe that needs to change.

swmft

if we could get all the pro gun people to do a night out where we walk the streets armed would make government people quake in their shoes as it should. a right is a right nite

Boom

Why has this been downvoted I wonder? Maybe they’d rather make it a day date… Don’t wanna miss Andy Griffith…

Mike11C

It’s funny you mentioned the Andy Griffith show. I was in a local gun shop just two days ago and, I heard Barney talking. I looked and, that show was playing on the TV on the wall.

Boom

I watch it every night… even know MeTv won’t play all the seasons, and I have to watch reruns for the 80th and 90th time…

loveaduck

Scaring the undecided backfires. Best to have demonstrations without a lot of firepower showing. Just my opinion based on what I’ve seen and read. I do live in an effing dark blue state (WA).

swmft

I think if it was done in a manner invite people to join us have indoor ranges open have people see the guns are not bad in the hands oof good people they protect and we are here to help each other and protect each other something government will never do….and the handle??? crispy with orange sauce?just asking

Deplorable Bill

So, one in three Americans own firearms. That makes one huge army should the day ever come to rise up and be counted. Yamamoto was asked why, after the attack on Perl Harbor, didn’t he attack the U.S. mainland? He said; “There would be a gun behind every blade of grass”. This is something that most nations are acutely aware of; if you attack America, you will have more than just the armed forces to deal with. This is a good and righteous thing so, why is our own government trying to disarm us? What are they doing, besides the… Read more »

musicman44mag

That was good!!! Dean provided a great article too. It’s nice to know that not all doctors are against guns.

Boom

My doctor isn’t… And he’s an emergency room doc/surgeon… He likes repairing gun shots… He told me so… He said that’s when he ‘comes to life’..

musicman44mag

One of the best trauma surgeons in sacramento kommiefornia is Dr. Mark Owens. He was a surgeon in the Nam war. Nice guy and revered by other doctors.

Boom

I wonder what his stance on the “vaccine” is…

musicman44mag

I wouldn’t know I haven’t seen him in years. He saved my life about 25 years ago. My doctor I have now supports it and wants me to get the shot. One month ago when I got the pacemaker I was concerned that they would not give it to me unless I got the shot but they did it anyway. I had three nurses that didn’t care either way and only the surgeon made a rude comment about the people where I live not getting it and blamed the continuance of it going around and not being gone because of… Read more »

Boom

#ME TOO! (haha, get it?) …. So are MY KIDS, my estranged “wife”, and my mother, etc…

swmft

my lawyer in mass. got the shot and it killed him 52 years old with two kids , so, if does not give lasting immunity not worth the risk

loveaduck

Life causes death.

swmft

oxygen causes ageing

Boom

HAHA! My 10yr old daughter said that exact thing to me the other day… I said, yep…it oxidizes us…

swmft

breath you diE dont breath die faster , there was a study that suggested oxygen helium is better than oxygen nitrogen would love to see the bill for that study ,

Finnky

Oxygen – helium blend is better when under pressure.

Everyone reacts a bit differently, but 3-bar nitrogen is enough to make anyone ‘under the influence’ and slightly impaired. By 5-bar it’s quite marked. Oxygen is similar, though for most convulsions can start by 2-bar.

Nitrogen is narcotic, helium is not. Oxygen may be somewhat narcotic as well, but since it’s toxic nobody worries about intoxication effect…

swmft

I have sold a few to my doctor, he wants me to build him a ar 10 for long range

Boom

Niiice… 6mmRem maybe? I dunno if it’ll fit…. definitely not with heavier pills… perhaps a 260rem…OR, a 7mm-08 IMP…ORRRrr, a 6.8-08…

I’ll soon be building a 6mm…not on an ar10…but on a commercial m98…and not a 6mmRem… But rightfully named, 6mmMauser… As it should be named…and in a full 57mm casing…

It will be yet another entry, part of my “euro” line-up…a ‘sub-collection’…a family of rifles, all paying homage to Mr. Paul Mauser…

Last edited 15 days ago by Boom
swmft

biggest problem is the bolt , you can easily loose the double stack in the mag, but rim diameter

Boom

Should be around .473″..

swmft

the real choice is a noreen in 300winmag or 270 around 3grand

Boom

Yeah, the Noreens are pretty cool I guess…

swmft

real long range guns get expensive fast , between gun and scope it is not hard to have 25 in without firing a round, and the number creeps up like age without notice until someone watches you reach out to a mile and asks what it cost ….

Boom

You mean $25,000? Haha. I miss my “fity”… I once had a new private, ask me if the 50 was “an area weapon” .. apparently his drill sergeant told them that it was an area weapon… I said nah, watch this.., I cleared the links, I put it in single shot, and waited for the 1750m target to come up .. I adjusted the T&E a bit, and dropped Target with one shot.. usually the vehicle targets take several to put down. But if you hit it right in the grill, it will go down…with a 50, anyway…that was iron… Read more »

ashort

I agree with your comment especially where you said the government does not fear the votes or courts and the only thing left to defend the constitution it’s its people. That is where I disagree the Government surely does not fear the people because the people are not going to nothing but be self indulged racist discriminating coward hiding and cowering like dogs in the shadows otherwise we would not even be going through this government tyrannical, oppressive infringing, overreach. As much as I hate to say it, there is no “WE THE PEOPLE” or no militia to protect this… Read more »

Boom

**the people aren’t going to do *anything* ** haha, got ya…

But yeah… I agree.

BUT, maybe you [we] should fear those “F15’s”…. Maybe if we did, maybe our Outlook would be a little bit more realistic, thusly; more healthy…

Even know the F15 is mostly an air superiority fighter..mainly air to air (that moron)… Nonetheless, if we did – through that air superiority– we would have a different state of mind, and perhaps a different mechanism of action. .

Last edited 15 days ago by Boom
loveaduck

I don’t think the gov’t will use them. Not all pilots will go along and some may aid the rebels.

Boom

They don’t require American pilots.

swmft

they would use drones could be flown from china

Boom

…that’s too….

Or actual American fixed wings flown by americans that don’t care about the masses of cattle.

Boom

One huge army with no Communications & Coordination. …. and, (no c2)…no command & control.

Deplorable Bill

Very little como, that is true enough but the evil people in government are just people and they live somewhere, they work somewhere, they go somewhere, they have cell phones and email, they are not difficult to find and —– talk to. The day will come when they send their armed stooges to one house too many and then it will start.

Arm up and carry on

Boom

Well I don’t think it’s gonna be a linear thing…

swmft

if you have not noticed none of these idiots is worth following, so they want you to fear them, you have a gun and know god you fear nothing

Deplorable Bill

That’s right, they are all corrupt and not worth following. That’s right, they want us to fear them. That’s right, I am armed and I fear the LORD. That’s right I don’t fear death.

Arm up and carry on

Boom

Yeah she’s pretty fine I guess. Sorta looks to have a mustache though. She’s definitely not a real blonde…. I don’t think.

swmft

what you call a dirty blonde , look at eyebrows and lashes, they are light in color ,bad shadows on the picture light eyes

Boom

Iiii duuuuno…I think it’s a stache…and i think she died her eyebrows, too…I know there’s darker skinned/brown eyed blondes…, beyond simply being dirty blonde…

Either way, I probably would…

But then again, I’m pretty lonely too..haha

Oldvet

Boom…
You know if you look real close ( hands , nails , face that could be a trany with long hair. Would explain no mammary glands and dirty blond.

Last edited 13 days ago by Oldvet
Boom

Its funny you said this .. I did have that notion too.. but I dismissed it…I think she’s just a “handsome” woman.

Oldvet

Boom … Does look better than jenner .

Oldvet

Boom… You did say you were pretty lonely .

Boom

That I am.

Boom

Hah yeah…but actually, not being too picky is what’s gotten me in the fix I’m in now. :/ …but I agree…doesn’t appear to be capable of manufacturing too much sustenance…

But that other one on today’s stories does! I like the black hair / fair skin look, too…

Oldvet

Boom … Not familiar with todays stories.

Oldvet

Boom …Actually partial to auburn hair .

Boom

I like them all…I’m partial to all of it.

Boom

She’s the new Remington girl.