PEW Research: 2 out of 3 Gun Owners Have Their Gun for Self-Defense

concealed permit (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP

A Pew Research survey released June 22 shows that two out of three gun owners cite self-defense as the predominant reason for having a gun.

Moreover, 38% of gun owners–nearly four out of ten–make sure a loaded gun is “easily accessible to them all of the time when they are at home.”

According to PEW Research, “67% [of gun owners] cite protection as a major reason” for owning their gun. Those who cited “protection” as their main reason for gun ownership are located “in cities, suburbs and rural areas.” But gun owners who live strictly rural were “significantly more likely to cite hunting as a major reason for owning a gun.”

When the responses were broken down according to male and female respondents, 65% of men cited “protection” as their main reason for gun ownership, while 71% of women did so.

The survey also found that a handgun is the firearm of choice for Americans who only own one gun. Among such Americans, “62% say they own a handgun, compared with 22% who say they own a rifle and 16% who say they own a shotgun.” This makes perfect sense when one considers the survey’s findings that self-defense–or “protection”–is the driving force behind gun ownership.

A handgun can be carried for self-defense far more easily than any other type of firearm. It fits well in a purse, a holster, a pocket, or a cowboy boot.

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


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