Surprise! No Guns in Most U.S. Homes

In a staggering (to me, at least) front-page story in the New York Times today, the presence of guns in homes in this country has declined precipitously.

The rate of those who keep guns in their homes is now at 34%, down from 50% in the '70s, the article notes -- in complete contradiction to reports of guns flying off shelves in the wake of the killings of 20 children in Newtown last year, dozens at a movie theater in Aurora, CO, and last month's shooting spree by a former cop in California.

So why do I not feel better? Maybe because women are now jumping into the game, too. According to Billy Hallowell, "In a survey last year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 73 percent of gun dealers said the number of female customers had gone up in 2011, as had a majority of retailers surveyed in the two previous years," rising from 13% in 2005 to 23% in 2011, as reported in a Gallup poll. adds that gun makers are taking notice, "creating everything from revolvers called the 'Pink Lady' and 'Lavender Lady' to pink tasers, glasses and hearing protection."

A person they interviewed at a store in Bakersfield, Calif., said ladies' guns are so popular, especially in pink, that they have a hard time keeping them in stock. Watching a video about a woman who trains other women to use firearms, and hearing a student brag about how it makes her feel "so much more powerful," I felt nauseous.

I guess they haven't heard the statistic that guns are 43 to 1 times "more likely to kill their owners or family members than they are useful to defend against criminal attack."

I was particularly troubled by another story in the NYT today that said that for some gun owners, owning guns doesn't "necessarily mean liking them."  Susan Saulny went on to report that one gun owner who works for the federal government and has assault rifles and pistols in his arsenal for self-defense would "love to see all guns destroyed," and says he has these weapons of mass destruction because of all the crazies who have them.

But Michael Kundu, a master marksman from rural Washington, might just be the wedge to play a moderating influence in this high-stakes arms race, Saulny writes, forging the gap between sensible gun owners and his neighbors, some of whom he describes as "troublemakers with assault rifles," in the article.

They scare him, too. 


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