Majority Of Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer


In another sign of the difficulties that the gun control movement faces politically, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans accept one of the central premises of the gun rights movement:

Lost amid the debate is the fact that for the first time a majority of Americans say having a gun in the household makes it a safer place to be, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By a wide 51 to 29 percent margin, more people say a gun in the house makes it safer rather than more dangerous.

That’s a near complete reversal from a Gallup poll in 2000, when the public split 35 to 51 percent on whether guns make the home safer  or more dangerous.

People with guns in their homes lead the way in touting the safety benefits: 75 percent say they make the house safer, compared with just 30 percent of those with no gun at home who say the same.

Those who think guns make the home safer prioritize gun rights over new gun laws by 2 to 1. But for those who think guns make the home more dangerous overwhelmingly prioritize new laws to limit gun violence over protecting gun rights, by 82 to 12 percent.

As the chart above demonstrates, there has been a marked changes of opinion about guns over the past thirteen years and, notwithstanding the polls that show strong support for measures like background checks, I think this is yet another factor that demonstrates why it has become so difficult for gun control advocates to move their agenda forward at the national level.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Franklin says:

    It’s an opinion that is the exact opposite of the actual statistics.

  2. stonetools says:

    The NRA has been spewing out its propoganda nonstop for 30 years, all the while supressing scientific studies by government institutions that disprove the lies they propogate.
    Frankly, they do a good job propogandizing ( So did Goebbels, also. Too.)
    As I’ve said, we need an Anti-NRA whose sole job is to counteract NRA propoganda and lobby against NRA legislative proposals. We need to build an institution, not just organize a movement around the mass shooting of the moment.

  3. Dave says:

    Well since the CDC will lose funding if they report on gun violence for now almost 20 years. 20 years without any good data on gun injuries or deaths is enough to let people forget the studies that show the opposite.

  4. legion says:

    Gee… if only the NRA didn’t own Congress, we might have some statistics to actually tell if this was true or not. But that would mean they’d have to COM GIT UR GUNZ. The last few days just make me hate people in general. This may be unreasonably uncharitable, but I kinda want more stupid people to keep guns in their homes without any clue of how to use or safely store them.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Just a little more evidence that America is a dumbed down country.

  6. Tony W says:


    It’s an opinion that is the exact opposite of the actual statistics.

    Which raises an important ethical point: What is the duty of polling organizations and media outlets such as the Washington Post and ABC with regard to these types of surveys?

    Why is it considered appropriate to publish surveys that present blatantly incorrect information as a matter of opinion? We get this sort of thing all the time WRT creation “theory” vs. science, global warming vs. science and Obama-Kenyan tripe, etc.

    Can we hold our free press to a higher standard?

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Yes…because they will be able to protect themselves when the Zombie Apocalypse happens.
    That’s the intellectual level the gun cult operates on.

  8. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “Yes…because they will be able to protect themselves when the Zombie Apocalypse happens. That’s the intellectual level the gun cult operates on. ”

    You’re being way too generous. Try substituting “minority” for “zombie” and you’re a lot closer.

  9. Lit3Bolt says:

    We are a country that regulates spray paint better than guns. Guns are a fetish, a talisman, a voodoo stick that promises to solve your problems, make you feel better, empower you, much like any drug.

    The self-defense argument falls apart because the gun industry and its NRA puppets want people to own has many guns as they want, with as much ammunition as they want, with unlimited private sales, and no mental health checks and no regulations.

    Also, the bombs in the Boston Marathon…that’s the NRA’s doing too. They want all black powder to be unregulated and unmarked. Hobbyists need them, they say!

    We’re not horrified enough to change our laws because 20 first graders are dead. That’s telling. That’s rot. Even the Bush Administration changed laws in response to Virginia Tech. No such luck here.

  10. john personna says:

    For what it’s worth, even if you believed that there might be situations and locations where owning a gun was prudent, you should admit it is a multi-factor equation.

    If my zip code has say 1/4th the violent deaths of the nation on average, there would be less need for me to protect myself than someone living in a 4x zone.

    The question, on its face, is not sensible.

    (Are you male or female? Do you weigh 140 or 240? Etc.)

    [And no, I don’t think the average home in America is under threat, and needs armed defense.]

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    For what it’s worth, even if you believed that there might be situations and locations where owning a gun was prudent, you should admit it is a multi-factor equation.

    This. I spend a lot of time in places where the Law is a half hour or more away (My home is 20 mins away from the nearest law). That being said, I recognize that the fact of my gun ownership places additional responsibilities upon me and my wife. That being said, I was sitting in a restaurant in Sullivan this morn when a guy walked by with a CCW that wasn’t quite CC…. In Sullivan MO…. Population 10,000-…. where the worst crime in the past 3 years was when the rolling meth lab blew up and the 3 people in the car with it got 2nd and 3rd degree burns. (Meth is a BIG problem out here, but mostly for the meth heads)

    I see more and more of this shit all the time, people carrying guns, who have no need of carrying a gun, in a place where their biggest danger is of getting hit by a rogue shopping cart at the local Walmart.

    I just want to walk up to them and say, “Pussy.”

  12. rudderpedals says:

    I wish they’d shown the polling starting wit the 70s. 9/11 happens shortly just after the first sample, for ex.

  13. JKB says:

    @john personna: there would be less need for me to protect myself than someone living in a 4x zone.

    Less of a need to protect yourself? Are you less valuable than the person who lives in the high crime area? Is the crime in your area so low because there is cop behind every tree? I suspect you meant, fewer situations where you might have to defend yourself.

    But that simply means you can play the odds but you only indicate there is less crime not somehow no crime or that you travel with armed security. So, there could transpire an event where you would have as much or more need to protect yourself as the person who lives in an area where more events that might require self defense.

  14. JKB says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: people carrying guns, who have no need of carrying a gun, in a place where their biggest danger is

    How do you know what their need for a firearm is? Perhaps they have been threatened? Perhaps they carry large cash deposits? Perhaps they’ve been attacked by deranged gun control nuts in the past? Perhaps the witnessed a horrible murder but were unable to do anything but call 911 and watch, but afterward swore they’d never be a forced bystander again? Perhaps they were a very effective soldier sold out to the enemy by liberal government bureaucrats and now Al Quaeda has a price on their head?

    So what do you know about their need and how do you know it?

  15. john personna says:


    My risk due to violence cannot fall below zero.

    The closer to zero I am now, the lower the contribution to my “protection” a gun makes.

    If you think 1 in 500,000 risk for violence must be “reduced” by bringing a gun in the house, you might be a candidate for the NRA

  16. john personna says:

    (As it happens, my zip code has had zero murders since 2007. So you know, that would be 5 years of gun-owning risk for zero murder risk. You can find some murders if you go back further, but I bet I could distance myself from those by my having no criminal record, no criminal acquaintances, no domestic violence, no friendships with previously violent individuals.)

  17. wr says:

    @JKB: It must be hard to go through life so terrified of absolutely everything. “Oh, no, a serial killer could be on my trail wanting to eat my kidneys! I’d better buy twelve more guns!” “Oh my God, that kitten could suddenly grow into a tiger and attack me! I need an assault rifle!!!”

    Just sad.

  18. Franklin says:

    @john personna: This comment is precisely correct. There are safety advantages and disadvantages to owning a gun. For the average home, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages according to almost every study done on the subject. But it has been noted in several studies that some homes may be safer with than without, in particular places with high crime.

  19. Jack says:

    @legion: @legion: @Lit3Bolt:

    You’re shocked, shocked that the NRA, an organization that is supposed to lobby for gun owners contributes to senators to help influence legislation on behalf of gun owners?

    Did you know that most of the Senators who vote against tort-reform receive cash from Lawyer groups?

    That politicians and Obama, who constantly pass legislation that favors unions, get lots of money from unions?

    That the reason Democrats (many years ago) enacted laws that could fine someone $250,000 dollars and put them into jail for years — just for copying a movie — received big donations from Hollywood?

    Thank God someone is finally exposing this mess!

  20. Jack says:

    @wr: Which is it? You say that the possibility of needing a gun for self defense is miniscule, yet you want something done about guns because of all the criminals and nut jobs that commit these minuscule number of murderous rampages. You can’t have it both ways.

    Yet whenever there is a shooting people don’t call the police so they will show up and write a report, they call them because they have guns and want them to stop the shooter.

    The hypocrisy among gun banners has reached critical mass.

  21. That Other Mike says:

    @Jack: Stupid and ignorant don’t make for a winning combination, dude; they’re not calculated to win you any friends or prizes.

    The police carry guns because one of the defining characteristics of government is the monopoly on the legitimate use of violence – in this case, maintaining public order and the rule of law. That’s why people call them when there is a criminal shooting – because their guns have reasonable and legitimate purposes, and criminals’ do not.

    You know, I bet you were one of those people who called the President a hypocrite for having armed Secret Service protection while calling for gun control. That might seem a relevant and clever POV if you’re dumb as a stump; to those living in Reality Country, the fact that the nation has a vested interested in protecting its elected officials from the dangerous and lunatic has more bearing.

    TL;DR: Shut up, Meg.