Now, this is not a sexist or a "Bash the South" post. It's strictly informational. I'm simply reporting the findings from a study by Gallup which aggregated data from six polls Gallup conducted from 2007 to 2012, regarding how many Americans own guns and which Americans are gun owners. Let's look at the overall data for gun ownership, first.
According to Gallup, 30% of Americans, regardless of race, gender, political party affiliation, the region where they live or marital status own guns. When you break that number down by gender you find that 45% of of males own guns while only 15% of women own guns. In short, a man is 3 times more likely to own a gun than a woman. Gender is by far the best predictor on who is likely to own a gun. I suppose their are many reasons for such a large difference, but I'm not going to speculate on why there is such a large gender gap between men and women. That's one thing we desperately need, more research about guns in general and what makes some people more likely to purchase one, specifically.
However, where the results get really interesting is when we look at the male population of gun owners. Here's the results that should interest you about the rate of gun ownership among me. The two highest rated sub-populations regarding gun ownership are:
Married southern men : 64%By contrast:
Non-Hispanic southern white men: 61%
Non-southern married men: 48%
Non-Hispanic, non-southern white men: 45%
Further more, no other region of the country comes close to the South in terms of guns ownerhip. Here are the rates of gun ownership, which combine both male and female gun owners, among the various regions of the country:
Southern residents: 38%
Midwestern residents: 29%
Western residents: 27%
Eastern residents: 21%
That's a big difference. It may reflect a cultural difference among the various regions, or it might reflect that many states outside the South have stricter gun laws. There's no way to know, unfortunately, just based on Gallup's raw data. However, Gallup's data does show that women, married or not are more likely to own guns if they reside in the South versus other regions of the country.
Surprisingly (well, at least for those whose views on gun ownership are based on what they see on television or read about in the tabloids), non-white men and Hispanic whites own less guns than Whites. Of all gun owners, here are the numbers for Hispanics and Non-whites (i.e., Blacks, Asians, Native Americans and all other minorities):
Non-white men: 31%
Hispanic whites: 33%
There are some other interesting nuggets in the data. Self identified conservatives (39%) are more than twice as likely to own guns than self identified liberals (17%) and the same is true for Republicans (38%) and Democrats (21%), though the overall margin is a little under twice as many, mostly because "Conservative Democrats" raise the overall rate among Democrats. Independents fall right between the two parties (31%), at roughly the national average. Also older people, especially older men (over 50) are more likely to own guns than younger people of either gender.
Many of these results are not what I expected. I expected higher rates of single men owning guns than the Gallup data shows, for example. However, the biggest takeaway from this is that men are far more likely to own a gun, and southern men even moreso than any other sub-population in our country. Crime statistics show that men are far more likely to commit violent crimes and far more likely to use a gun to commit a crime. Men are also more likely to be the victim of a violent crime, as well (though one cannot be certain of that statistic, in light of the suspected significant under-reporting by women of rapes and incidents of domestic violence).
All of this is intriguing, but it also points up the necessity of additional academic research into the demographics of gun ownership (particularly, to find explanations for the disparities Gallup's data reveals) as well as more research on the causes of gun violence in general.