Gallup: We Don’t Know if Crime Victims Owned Guns Before or After Incidents

On Monday morning the White House signaled that President Trump supports the law Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are pushing for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
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A Gallup report released December 12 presents the percentage of gun-owning crime victims with the caveat that Gallup does not know whether the victims acquired their guns before or after the crime occurred.

The report is an aggregation of various surveys.

By aggregating surveys, Gallup shows that “Americans who have been recent crime victims report higher rates of gun ownership than those who have not been victims.” They publish numbers showing that “38% of U.S. adults who have been recent victims of assault, theft or property crimes own a gun, compared with 28% of those who have not been victims.” They describe the gap between gun owning crime victims and those who do not own a gun as “statistically significant.”

They then admit they do not know whether the “recent crime victims” who own guns actually owned a gun at the time of the crime or whether they bought the gun after being victimized.


Although it is not possible to know from the survey questions whether the crime prompted the individual to buy a gun or if the person owned a gun before the crime occurred, the modest yet significant relationship between recent crime victimization and gun ownership is clear.

Gallup does point out that the current report is drawn from surveys focused on people who have been victims of crime during the previous 12 months, so “it is possible many people victimized by crimes in the more distant past bought a gun in reaction to those crimes.” Because they do not have certain answers to when the guns were purchased they admit their report “may understate the relationship between crime victimization and gun ownership.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at