This Is What The Average Gun Owner Looks Like In America

After a shooting in Charleston, South Carolina claimed nine lives, President Barack Obama called for the nation to come to terms with the fact that no other advanced country in the world suffers mass shootings as frequently as the U.S. It won’t be until we acknowledge this basic truth, he said, that we’ll realize we have the power to put an end to gun violence.

But that won’t happen until we learn more about the culture that drives gun ownership in the first place, according to Dr. Bindu Kalesan, a gun violence researcher at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. In a first step toward understanding who the typical American gun owner is, as well as the role guns play in their lives, she conducted a nationally representative online survey of 4,000 U.S. adults in 2013. The findings, published Monday in the journal Injury Prevention, reveal a wide range of gun ownership rates across the country as well as the profile of an average gun owner in America.

He’s white, married or divorced, high income, and over 55 years old. Unsurprisingly, he’s also more than twice as likely to be a member of “social gun culture” than those who don’t own firearms. In all, almost one in three Americans owns at least one gun, but gun ownership rates vary widely across states. At 61.7 percent, Alaska has the highest rate of gun ownership, while Delaware has the lowest, at 5.2 percent.

Kalesan’s study defined “social gun culture” as a phenomenon in which friends or family would think less of you if you didn’t own a gun, and if your social life with friends and family involved guns. Any survey participant who answered “yes” to any of these statements —> Read More