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The Vast Majority Of Americans Don’t Own A Gun

Gun Constitution

While there are nearly as many guns as people in the United States, the actual distribution of those weapons is surprisingly limited:

Just 3 percent of American adults own half of the nation’s firearms, according to the results of a Harvard-Northeastern survey of 4,000 gun owners.

The survey’s findings support other research showing that as overall rates of gun ownership has declined, the number of firearms in circulation has skyrocketed. The implication is that there are more guns in fewer hands than ever before. The top 3 percent of American adults own, on average, 17 guns apiece, according to the survey’s estimates.

The survey is particularly useful to researchers because it asked respondents not just whether they own guns, but how many and what types of guns they own. This makes for one of the clearest pictures yet of American gun ownership, showing the concentration of most guns in the hands of a small fraction of American adults.

The study found that 22 percent of American adults say they personally own a firearm. This is lower than the percentages reported in some other recent surveys, such as those by the Pew Research Center (31 percent) and Gallup (28 percent).

It’s worth noting that this survey is just over a year old, it arguably undercuts arguments that both sides of the gun control debate make.

For the gun control crowd, it undercuts the notion that guns are so widespread that they have become an unreasonable problem that needs to be brought under immediate control. In fact, the fact that the majority of guns in the country are owned by a minority of Americans, combined with the fact that the vast majority of those people are ordinary Americans with no criminal record who have never committed a crime or misused their weapons suggests that most of the gun control measures that are batted about in the wake of tragedies like what happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night aren’t nearly as necessary as they claim them to be. Notwithstanding the fact that there are a large amount of guns in the country and the fact that they are owned by a minority of the public, the fact remains that the vast majority of those guns are used legally if they are used at all and that most people who own guns are not criminals and not likely to become criminals.

For strong Second Amendment advocates, it undercuts the argument that gun ownership is something that is universal and all-American. This, combined with the fact that there is strong public support for at least some forms of gun control, such as expanding background checks, suggests that moving toward enacting some of these measures isn’t necessarily as difficult as it might seem to be. The so-called “gun lobby,” in other words, doesn’t represent a majority of Americans in either its opposition to something like expanded background checks and it doesn’t represent a majority of Americans in the sense that most Americans don’t even own a gun to begin with.

The caveat here, of course, is one that I’ve pointed out before. Specifically, the fact that polls show that Americans support at least some forms of gun control doesn’t mean that it would be politically easy to enact such legislation:

The full story is more complicated than that, I think. After all, if these gun control measures really are as popular as the polls seem to indicate, then it would logically seem to be the case that the political power of groups like the NRA would be far less than it seems to be. The key lies in understanding the difference between what voters think about a particular issue and how important they consider it when making a decision at the ballot box. If there is high public support for a particular issue and a high sense among voters that it is an important issue to them, then that issue is going to play a large role in how they make their voting decisions. Conversely, an issue where there is high public support  that voters place a low lever of importance upon is unlikely to have a significant influence on who they decided to vote for. As it turns out, that’s exactly the situation with gun control:

PRINCETON, NJ — Few Americans mention guns or immigration as the most important problems facing the nation today, despite the current attention lawmakers in Washington are giving to these issues. The economy still dominates as the top concern, followed by jobs and dissatisfaction with the general way in which Congress and the government work.

These data, from an April 4-7 survey, underscore the prominence of economic issues in Americans’ minds, even as the economy continues its recovery from the recessionary depths of 2008.

In terms of specific economic issues, Americans most frequently name the economy in general (24%), jobs/unemployment (18%), and the deficit (11%). The percentage mentioning each of these economic issues is in the same broad range as has been the case each month this year so far, although a higher 20% mentioned the deficit as the nation’s top problem in January.

(…)

This isn’t the first indication that gun control is a low intensity issue among American voters.  Back in January, just one month after Newtown, a similar Gallup poll showed the same results that we see in this month’s release. At that time, I predicted that it would be difficult for gun control advocates to get the most ambitious parts of their agenda through even the Senate, but I thought at the time that at least something would be passed. In part, I thought this because it seemed as though the post-Newtown attention paid to the issue was going to make it inevitable and that a low-priority issue like background checks would be something that Congress could pass to make it appear that they’re doing something, even though in reality the Manchin/Toomey bill would have done little to stop the massacres that have garnered much attention over the years. As it turned out, the politics of the issue were far more complicated, and public intensity on the issue of gun control was far less than many thought it might be after the events of Newtown.

In other words, even in cases where a majority of Americans might support a gun control proposal, for most voters, it is not a high priority issue and unlikely to be one that will have much of an impact on the outcome of an election. This has proven to be consistent across multiple elections and after multiple mass shooting incidents over the past decade or more. By way of contrast, these issues are a high priority issue for gun owners and strong advocates of Second Amendment rights and their votes have often been shown to make a difference in elections at the state and Congressional District level and in Republican primaries for a wide variety of offices. Because of this, the odds of Congress or a state legislature acting even in situations where there is overwhelming public support for a gun control measure.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    I especially like the strong documentation on the study methodology in the article, described as “unpublished Harvard/Northeastern survey result summary, obtained exclusively by the Guardian”. I’m sure it will settle the debate.
    But with 20% of people being either prohibited, living in the same household as a prohibited person, or in an area with severe restrictions on gun ownership, the results don’t seem that surprising based on the more usual question on gun ownership by household.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    Most Americans don’t own a copy of the Book of Mormon either. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to legislative restrict Mormonism.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 17

  3. PT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I know I’ll never forget where I was when that crazy lunatic with a truck bed loaded with Books O’ Mormon laid waste to a crowd peacefully enjoying a concert….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  4. t says:

    “I dont even own A gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Paul Hooson says:

    I think this is correct, most Americans don’t own a gun. I’ve owned a few in my lifetime, but was disappointed when one handgun was stolen from me by a former employee who got drunk and shot and wounded a friend of his. Sadly, you can hide them or even lock them up, but if they end up stolen they can cause a great deal of harm.

    While the professionally produced guns are often the best, it is very easy for criminal types to build unlicensed and concealable homemade guns for very little money. If you can find high strength pipe material, a 12 gauge shotgun can be quickly built out of three pieces of hardware store plumbing parts, a BB and superglue for about $12 that would easily conceal in a coat or down a pants leg and can quickly fire off one shell after another. Gun control doesn’t touch or phase a vast market of stolen weapons, illegal weapons, modified weapons or homemade weapons.

    Gun laws will regulate the responsible farmer, hunter or gun collector, but do little to regulate criminals or their criminal abuse of guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  6. Teve tory says:

    Yeah that’s what we’re worried about. Homemade shotguns.

    I,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  7. Stormy Dragon says:
  8. gVOR08 says:

    @Mu: Or it could just be that most people see no need for a gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. DrDaveT says:

    For the gun control crowd, it undercuts the notion that guns are so widespread that they have become an unreasonable problem that needs to be brought under immediate control. In fact, the fact that the majority of guns in the country are owned by a minority of Americans, combined with the fact that the vast majority of those people are ordinary Americans with no criminal record who have never committed a crime or misused their weapons suggests that most of the gun control measures that are batted about in the wake of tragedies like what happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night aren’t nearly as necessary as they claim them to be.

    So, do you find your own argument to be equally compelling in other contexts? Such as:

    For the anti-DHS crowd, it undercuts the notion that terrorists are so widespread that they have become an unreasonable problem that needs to be brought under immediate control. In fact, the fact that the majority of terrorist acts in America are committed by a very few people, combined with the fact that the vast majority of those people are ordinary Americans with no criminal record who have never committed a crime before, suggests that most of the anti-terrorism measures put in place in the wake of tragedies like Oklahoma City or 9/11 aren’t nearly as necessary as they claim them to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  10. JKB says:

    @t: “I dont even own A gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.”

    Really, I had a gun rack in my bedroom when I was a kid. When I was very young, the were my brother’s, but later, some were mine. Cartridges were usually in the top chest of drawers drawer. Closest anyone came to being injured was when my brother or a friend, I forget which, stuck the end of the barrel of his shotgun in the creek and pulled the trigger. Don’t do that. Swelled about 3″ of the barrel end.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. JKB says:

    The important metric is not just gun owners, but those who like having the right to keep and bear a gun should they choose. I didn’t own a gun for many years because I moved around a lot and lived in hostile territory much of the time. I wouldn’t have voted to deny myself the right to buy a gun when I settled in free America.

    And you only need look at what happened in Catalonia to see why one need guns to stop government thugs.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  12. Slugger says:

    Guns, like other weapons, work best when you got one, and the other guy ain’t. The gun owning demographic is strongly committed to gun rights because they perceive that the other side doesn’t have guns. We have knife laws in the US that restrict ownership of switchblades. These laws arose when the wrong demographic became known for carrying them. Ronald Reagan passed gun restrictions in California when the Black Panthers started brandishing. As soon as effete liberals start gun clubs, we’ll see lots of ways that restrictions are very constitutional. Today’s gun owners believe in Mao’s maxim about the source of political power and are defending their access to this power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  13. Paul Hooson says:

    @Teve tory: Homemade assault as well as machine-type guns can be easily made as well. Check out some of the videos posted on youTube. One young Russian posts YouTube videos where his homemade weapons have awesome firepower to destroy targets he sets up.

    Rival crime gangs have plenty of access to legal guns, but if one gang ever needed weapons to win a gang war with a rival gang, there are plenty of handmade weapons that would work as effectively as legal alternatives now sold. Any technology, no matter how crude that can slap a bullet and cause it to fire will work if criminals are determined to defend their illegal drug business or other illegal enterprise.

    Further gun controls just can’t regulate common hardware plumbing or other materials that can be easily fashioned into homemade shotguns, semiautomatics or fully automatic weapons where the recoil is harnessed to fire the next bullet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  14. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Okay, JKB, I gotta ask: was your friend/brother trying to shoot fish in a non-barrel?

    On the issue of “we need guns to defend ourselves against government”: let’s consider this carefully. The government has tanks, aircraft, drones, nuclear weapons and the Marine Corps. The average citizen would have a bunch of guns, some equally suicidal buddies, a month’s supply of bottled water and beef jerky, and an intense attitude. Somehow I don’t think the fight would last long.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. Rick Zhang says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    So? The IRA was badly outgunned against the British, especially in the early phases (i.e. Easter Uprising). Sometimes the whole point of guns as a deterrent against “tyranny” is to provoke a crackdown that creates martyrs for the cause. Then as the tide of public opinion shifts, the masses will rise up as one. Since the military is by definition composed of “the people”, a ruler will find it hard to order the military, with all its helicopters and tanks, to shoot when hordes of civilians rise up. The exception of course is when a ruler can depict the rebels as part of “the other” such as what happened in Libya vs Egypt, which ended relatively peacefully.

    Why do you think the CCP in China controls guns so heavily? They know what the true risks to their rule are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  16. Barry says:

    @Paul Hooson: “While the professionally produced guns are often the best, it is very easy for criminal types to build unlicensed and concealable homemade guns for very little money. ”

    Which seems not to be the case, in general.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. wr says:

    @JKB: “And you only need look at what happened in Catalonia to see why one need guns to stop government thugs.”

    I’ll be more convinced that people need guns the instant one gun promoter can make an argument that doesn’t make him look like an idiot. JKB is going in the wrong direction. “I need a gun so I can overthrow the United States government, or at least force them to leave me alone” is actually even more stupid than “but it’s fuuuuunnnn!!!!!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  18. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Somehow I don’t think the average stand-up-to-the-government type thinks of himself as the IRA. I assumed that they self-identified with the rebels fighting the British in the American Revolution. America is not China or Egypt or any other repressive regime that needs to be opposed by armed force.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  19. Tony W says:

    We keep getting the same arguments over and over again – some law would not have prevented some tragedy, therefore do nothing. Yet there are several common sense things we can do that would have a measurable impact, and would balance freedom/lifestyle choices against the desire of the people not to be shot when they go to WalMart.

    Civil liability for actions that are taken with your guns is a great place to start. The insurance industry and lawyer industry would both make a killing (pardon me), and there’s nothing more American than that.

    Following immediately from liability is a requirement to register all weapons, and report them stolen/lost in a timely fashion – which would be your only “out” if your gun is used to harm somebody/something.

    Possession of an unregistered weapon becomes a civil crime as well (perhaps criminal for certain weapons), and they are subject to confiscation and destruction.

    These ideas won’t solve every problem, but they will assure that the responsible gun owners who initially purchase their weapons from reputable gun stores are extraordinarily careful about what happens to their guns down the road a bit.

    We’d also know about guys like the LV shooter accumulating large stockpiles so the police could come around and do a welfare check or investigate ahead of tragedies like that of last weekend.

    Sadly the NRA won’t allow it’s employees in Congress to even debate the issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  20. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    On the issue of “we need guns to defend ourselves against government”: let’s consider this carefully. The government has tanks, aircraft, drones, nuclear weapons and the Marine Corps. The average citizen would have a bunch of guns, some equally suicidal buddies, a month’s supply of bottled water and beef jerky, and an intense attitude. Somehow I don’t think the fight would last long.

    Which is why our military involvement in Afghanistan was resolved in a couple months and did not drag on for 16 years and counting. /sarc

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  21. Jon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Which is why our military involvement in Afghanistan was resolved in a couple months and did not drag on for 16 years and counting

    Yes, because a relatively small, foreign force half-way around the world from its home country is exactly comparable to the entirety of a nation’s armed forces, operating inside that nation’s own borders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jon:

    The military would probably have an even bigger problem fighting within the US as they likely wouldn’t be permitted the level of civilian causalities that are considered acceptable losses in Afghanistan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  23. Tony W says:

    @Stormy Dragon: This entire discussion is ridiculous. Jade Helm notwithstanding, nobody reasonably thinks armed insurrection at scale is a serious possibility within U.S. borders.

    The much more likely situation is short-term problems like Houston/Florida/Puerto Rico after the hurricanes preventing law enforcement from doing their job. Registered and protected guns would do a fine job in that circumstance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  24. KM says:

    All of this “we need to be able to fight the government” misses the point that most of these nuts would be out there HELPING the government oppress people at gunpoint if they had the chance. What they really mean is they want the opportunity to overthrow a legitimate government if it’s not to their liking.

    We have a government right now that’s doing things that should legitimately frighten anyone concerned with government abuse and overreach. They are upping the use of civil forfeiture to legally steal from innocent Americans, robbing the Treasury blind with their “perks”, trying to sell off government land for private profits and passing laws to doom whole segments of the population to die in the streets so the rich can be richer. I’m not even going to get started on the grim overtones a Wall and mass deportation carry but will point out none of these things have ever worked without serious blood being shed. And these people DON’T CARE – they’re out cheering MAGA every chance they get. If a Dem were doing these things, they’d be planning to water the Tree of Liberty with some liberal blood but IOIYAR.

    When a gun-humper talks about being able to fight back against “oppression” or “the gubmint”, they mean government they don’t like, not government that legit needs to go for crimes against its citizens. This is why no one takes them seriously: when it looks like they might need to do something, whoops it’s their guy in power. The talk of revolution only happens when liberals are in power. They’re not freedom-fighters, they are insurrectionist wannabes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  25. KM says:

    I’m pro-2nd with sensible restrictions. Personally, I think everyone should have to attend a shooting class at least once in their lives regardless of ownership so they understand how this tool works. I also think it should be registered, monthly classes should be mandatory or risk of forfeiture, and yearly evals to determine if it’s still safe for you to use this tool. You should be able to shoot straight and hit your targets with a reasonable amount of accuracy before you are allowed to purchase higher capacity ammo but there should be a cap. You are not going to need to mow down dozens of people to defend yourself and if you can’t take them out in 10-20 shots, your blind ass shouldn’t have a damn gun in the first place. We lo-jack cars but not guns – which seems like the more important thing to keep track of? Put something on it so if it gets stolen or leaves the designated parameters (your house, most likely or possible person), an alert gets issued. No alert or notification to police in 24 hrs, you get charged and are held liable for anything that happens if that stolen gun is used in a crime.

    Right now, people are stupidly careless with the right to own guns and assure themselves that they’ll raise hell if anyone tries to restrict it. Truth is, we need a culture change that can accept that the above restriction types are for the safety of all while still letting you own a weapon. You have the right and we have the right to hold you accountable. Maybe when people start losing everything they own just because they had to have the newest shiny Sig and can’t be bothered to lock it, we’ll stop seeing these things as objects of worship instead of the tools they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  26. Lounsbury says:

    @Paul Hooson: Queer, as if there were not some other developed democracies in the world that the USA could study to effect some reasonable regulation and successfully cut criminal usage of firearms.

    Yes just an utterly unique snowflake country, the USA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  27. Franklin says:

    @JKB:

    Swelled about 3″ of the barrel end.

    This is interesting to me, and I’m trying to understand why it did that. Maybe the hot gases were unable to exit underwater, so they had a lot of time (relatively) to expand the metal?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. grumpy realist says:

    @Tony W: Sorta off topic, but there was an incredibly silly opinion piece in the WSJ a few days ago by an economist (at the Heritage Org, natch!) who was nattering on about how storekeepers should be able to charge Whatever They Want (i.e., stinkingly high prices) during an emergency. This allocates the supplies to those who are willing to pay the most, bla bla bla, encourages more supplies to be delivered from the outside bla bla bla, and all the rest of the standard Heritage horsesh*t.

    I just keep wondering how this is expected to work out when you’ve got a greedy storekeeper on one side and a mob on the other, desperate for food and water to keep their kids alive–and all armed with guns. Methinks the scenario isn’t going to work out as Mr. Trained Economist thinks it will.

    So I guess I’m somewhat in favor of people having guns, if only to piss off the Heritage Org idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  29. Lounsbury says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The Taleban are hardly constrained to civilian arms nor devoid of state level support in weapons accessing. Charming American revenge fantasies to the contrary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. Chip Daniels says:

    What the study does highlight is how even though its only a tiny fraction of Americans who are violent, the rest of us acquiesce and enable them.

    Its like the family that refuses to talk about the pedophile uncle, or drunkard cousin, but instead finds ways to cope and accommodate them.

    Its our relationship to guns and gun violence that is toxic; We’ve somehow made our peace with the notion of a (white ) man walking through a Starbucks with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder, like it was normal.

    In any civilized nation in the world, this would be madness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  31. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I just keep wondering how this is expected to work out when you’ve got a greedy storekeeper on one side and a mob on the other, desperate for food and water to keep their kids alive–and all armed with guns. Methinks the scenario isn’t going to work out as Mr. Trained Economist thinks it will.

    Or for that matter, any what-if scenario involving desperation these people dream up. OK, yeah you have the guns – now. If it hits the fan and I need weaponry, I’m taking yours by hook or by crook. You will need to sleep eventually and things like Molotov cocktails exist. All these preppers who think they’ve got it all figured out would be unpleasantly surprised by how it would really turn out. Ditto to all the cons who think their little fantasy revolution will end with them in charge because “libs don’t like guns”. We can and will take you up on the cold dead hands part. Molon labe didn’t end well for Leonidas and it won’t be any different for the redneck army either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    The military would probably have an even bigger problem fighting within the US as they likely wouldn’t be permitted the level of civilian causalities that are considered acceptable losses in Afghanistan.

    We already know that 58 killed and 489 shot full of holes by one Second Amendment Citizen is a permitted level of carnage that is accepted by the National Rifle Association.
    As long as craven politicians accept the blood soaked donations the NRA hands out nothing will change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  33. KM says:

    @Chip Daniels :

    Its our relationship to guns and gun violence that is toxic

    Gun nuts like to say “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people” without taking that logic to its conclusion. If it’s people that are the problem, those people shouldn’t have access in the first place ie regulation and restriction. In others words, their own saying promotes infringement because in order to prevent the killings, you need to keep certain people from owning them. We can have private ownership in the country without the sick culture that’s developed. If a present day gun nut went back in time a century or even just 50 short years ago, they’d be considered extreme wierdo even then. Every time I hear someone say “I had a rifle as a kid” all i can think is “yeah, *a* rifle, not fifty with a stockpile of ammo to go with it”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon :

    The military would probably have an even bigger problem fighting within the US as they likely wouldn’t be permitted the level of civilian causalities that are considered acceptable losses in Afghanistan.

    If the military is taking out civilians, they’ve have been painted as the Evil of the Day so acceptable causality numbers will be a lot higher then you think. Look at how FOX whips people up about BLM / antifa and then casually talks about how it should be legal to run them over if blocking traffic…. only for lawmakers to then go and try and make it legal. IF it ever gets to that point, nobody’s going to care about casualty numbers because they’ll have already poisoned the well regarding the “Others”. There will be people screaming MAGA as the new Allahu akabar before joining in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I assume you didn’t actually read your examples. They are hardly examples of what PT was describing. Just the opposite, in fact.

    I’m okay with people trying to trash religion–free speech and agency and all–but they should at least try to use relevant evidence to draw supportable conclusions.

    I wait for your “I wasn’t trying to make any conclusions” retort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  36. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Unfortunately, your DHS revision is even more on point than the one (which was not bad but I do disagree with) you were criticizing because it doesn’t require setting up a Cabinet-level department, merely amending a law or 2 with fairly minor revisions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  37. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    “America is not China or Egypt or any other repressive regime that needs to be opposed by armed force.”

    And if it ever becomes such a place, the outcome for the “patriots fighting for their freedom” will be more likely to look like Hungary 1956 or Prague 1968 that Yorktown 1781, sad to say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: Yes–in that case I think a lot of people will learn the hard way that life isn’t a video game and that if a government really wanted to get rid of an insurgency and couldn’t care less about the associated damage said insurgency’s lifetime would be only several hours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Franklin:

    This is interesting to me, and I’m trying to understand why it did that.

    Water is virtually incompressible, and the pressure goes up with depth by about 30 mb per foot. The barrel was essentially plugged until the pressure differential could move all of that water out of the way, so that the transient pressure inside the barrel was much higher and last longer than it would have been with only easily-compressed air at ambient pressure holding in the muzzle blast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @DrDaveT: Was once in possession of a lovely little M-2 Carbine that had the same experience (in this case a barrel-end full of mud). It kept shooting. Like I said lovely little weapon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Tyrell says:

    Many of the people who own guns never use them. I have a 1917 Polish rifle. It is a bolt action and has no firing pin. Some day I will take it to a show or antique shop to see how much its worth.
    Many gun owners are collectors, and do not actually use their guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  42. barbintheboonies says:

    I live in a rural area and have a few guns. I never needed to use it to defend myself from anyone or anything but I`m glad I have them if they are needed. We need to look at our country`s failures to keep us safe. Even our natural disasters have proven we are not safe. We will always have nuts in our lives, but we should be able to defend ourselves against them. I never thought I needed one when living in the city, but I look at the TV news and see most of the crimes are happening there. I know that is obvious, but in the country we have wild animals and many break-ins. It`s a long way for law enforcement to get to us. We have this right and I never want to give it up. Just like I never want to give up any other right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    The majority of people who believe in freedom of the press don’t own a press.

    A very large number of people who fought in the civil rights movement weren’t black.

    The majority of people who supported gay rights weren’t gay.

    As amazing as it may seem, some people are not solely motivated by self-interest.

    Some of us who support the 2nd Amendment don’t own guns, but appreciate the right to choose — and want to preserve our right to do so should we choose to own guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0