Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is an Arsenal of Guns Like a Closet Full of Shoes?

A new survey of Kentuckians asked whether they had a gun in the household, and if so, whether they had more than one. The results were interesting:

No gun: 35%

One gun: 27%

More than one gun: 38%

That is, about 58% of households with a gun have more than one.

National surveys show that about 3/4ths of households with a gun have more than one.

Indeed, more than half of all the guns in America are owned by only about 1/7th of all households.

For the minority who don't want guns at all outside of a well-regulated militia, the puzzle is why other people want to have any guns. For them, any gun in the house is a far greater source of danger than of protection.

However, these figures make me think that an even more interesting question is why a few people want to have many guns in their house.  For most gun owners, the weapon seems to be a tool, as one might have a dishwasher.

For a few people, though, guns seem to be something else - a status good, a comfort item, perhaps even a fetish.

Some people buy many guns, I think, for the same reason that some women buy many shoes.


Pat said...

Exactly...and have you tried to tell a woman that she has too many pair of shoes? Don't go there. There might as well be a constitutional right to collect shoes.

Anonymous said...

Professor, You fail to consider why a single household may have/need more than one gun. What if there is a father and son who enjoy duck hunting together, that would require two shotguns. What if a person enjoys both deer and duck hunting, that would be a rifle and a shotgun. What if a husband and with enjoy going to the range together to shoot their pistols, there you go, two pistols. What if a person who enjoys both deer and duck hunting also desires to have a pistol for home defense, bingo, three guns. You are right, guns are merely tools, but just like the difference in a screwdriver and a hammer having different uses, so do rifles, pistols and shotguns have different uses. Let me ask you this, how many cars do you have? More than one? Why? What if you were a car enthusiast or collector and had 10 cars; is that any different than a gun collector that has 10 guns, or 100 guns. What difference does it make? Clearly you either have zero understanding of guns and their use (which invalidates your remarks) or you just choose to miss-represent gun owners as extremists. Which is it?