Rural and urban gun owners have different experiences and views on gun policy


Gun ownership extends to all types of American communities, but it is particularly common in rural parts of the country. Among adults living in rural areas, 46% report owning a gun, compared to 28% of adults living in the suburbs and even fewer – 19% – in urban areas, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

Rural and urban gun owners in particular differ in many ways. Three-quarters of rural residents (75%) report owning more than one firearm, compared to 48% of urban firearm owners. And while protection tops the list of reasons for owning a gun among the two groups, rural gun owners are much more likely than urban owners to cite hunting as the primary reason for hunting. which they own a firearm (48% vs. 27%, respectively).

Rural gun owners also tend to become gun owners at a younger age. Among rural Americans who own or have owned a firearm in the past, 47% say they became a gun owner before they were 18; only 27% of current or former firearm owners in urban communities report being under 18 when they first bought their own firearm. (Federal law prohibits the purchase of firearms from licensed gun dealers by anyone under the age of 18. However, in many states minors can still legally own firearms.)

The relatively young age at which rural gun owners first acquired a gun is perhaps not surprising: Americans who grew up in rural areas are more likely to have grown up with it. guns in their homes. About seven in ten Americans who grew up in a rural area (72%) say there were guns in their household growing up, compared to half (52%) of those who grew up in a small town and 39% of those who grew up in a city.

There is also a clear difference of opinion on the effect of guns on crime depending on the type of community in which gun owners live. While 21% of urban gun owners say there would be more crime if more Americans owned guns, only 9% of rural gun owners are OK. Another 57% of rural landlords say there would be less crime, a view shared by 47% of urban landlords.

A key and defining characteristic of gun owners is the extent to which they associate the right to own guns with their own sense of freedom. About three-quarters of gun owners (74%) say the right to own guns is essential to their personal sense of freedom, compared to just 35% of non-owners. However, even among gun owners, there are significant differences depending on the type of community they live in. More than eight rural gun owners (82%) say the right to own guns is essential to their personal sense of freedom, compared to 59% of urban gun owners.

A notable similarity between rural and urban gun owners is the way they store their guns. Similar proportions of gun owners in rural areas (56%) and urban communities (51%) say there is a gun both loaded and easily accessible to them all or most of the time. time when they are at home.

And the majority of rural and urban gun owners say they could never see each other not own a gun, although more rural gun owners (78%) than urban gun owners (62%) say so.

Even among adults who do not own guns, those who live in rural areas are more exposed and more experienced with guns than those who live in other types of communities. While 57% of non-gun owners who live in rural areas say that at least some of their friends own guns, only 39% of non-gun owners in urban areas say the same thing. And nearly three-quarters (73%) of non-gun owners who live in rural areas have used a firearm, compared to 55% of non-gun owners who live in urban areas. .


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