New Research Paper Tells Us ‘The Meaning of Guns to Gun Owners’

(Photo: Levi Sim/GunsAmerica)

Why do you own a gun?  Why do I own a gun?  Why does anyone own a gun?


We know the answers to those questions.  But many critics of our community — politicians, academics, public health advocates, gun-control supporters, Hollywood elites — are genuinely perplexed about our reasons for exercising our right to keep and bear arms and they want to get inside our heads to see what makes us tick.


Because they believe if they know what motivates us they stand a better chance of duping us into backing laws that infringe on the 2A. 

What does Sun Tzu say in The Art of War? “Know thy self, know thy enemy.  A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” That’s the goal, here. Victory, as in the end of the 2A as we know it today.

Case in point, a paper published this week by researchers at Boston University.  The team examined “The 2019 National Lawful Use of Guns Survey,” which interviewed approximately 2,000 gun owners, asking respondents everything from their primary reason for owning a gun (e.g. “defense” or “recreation” or “rights/power” or “other”) to the types of guns they own (45% own both pistols and rifles) as well as questions on whether they belong to the NRA (only 12% answered “yes”) and if they “act like a typical gun owner” (8.3% said they do, whatever that means).

In terms of accuracy, much of the data seem to be on par with what one from the gun community might expect.  Some bullet points: 

  • The majority of respondents (59.4%) own guns for defense, followed by recreation (26.8%).  
  • Only 26.6% said they carry concealed “sometimes or more,” while 73.4% answered, “rarely or never.”
  • Roughly 70% of respondents said they didn’t support gun control because gun-control advocates know little about firearms and gun ownership and often scapegoat law-abiding gun owners for gun-related violence.  
  • Nearly 60% agreed that gun-control advocates want to take away all guns.  

After crunching the numbers and reviewing the data, the B.U. researchers came to the following conclusions (emphasis added): 

The major finding of this research is that the prevailing stereotypes about U.S. gun owners are largely inaccurate. A population-based examination of lawful gun ownership reveals that for the majority of gun owners, gun ownership is primarily a method of self-protection. However, this practical use of guns is often tied to a symbolic association with freedom and a perception that gun control advocates represent a threat to that freedom because they aim to take guns away. This research suggests that to succeed in engaging gun owners in gun violence prevention, public health advocates must effectively counter this perception.

Yikes!  You see the conundrum there for pushers of 2A restrictions, right?

They have to convince gun owners that they’re not trying to take our guns when in fact they are trying to take our guns!

That’s a tall order.

WATCH: Concealed Carriers Pull Firearms on Protesters in Eugene and Austin, One Protester Dies

And while the researchers blame the NRA for creating what they view as a fictitious narrative that those advocating “gun violence prevention” actually want to take our guns, they admit that at least two politicians have shot themselves in the foot (forgive the pun) on this front in recent memory by disclosing what the real end game is for the gun-control establishment.

Those two politicians are former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and Manhattan Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

We all remember what Beto said last September at a Democratic debate hosted by ABC News.

“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” exclaimed the former Texas Congressman. Hard to parse that in any way but we’re coming for your guns!

Assemblywoman Rosenthal had an equally inane and offensive statement concerning sports shooting programs in schools.

“Schools should not be supporting the spread of gun culture in society,” Rosenthal said back in May of 2018.

So, what she’s saying is we don’t want to take your guns we just want to eradicate gun culture from all educational institutions. Never mind the fact that college scholarships are available for sports shooters and that trap and skeet are in the Olympics!

In response to these faux pax, the researchers said, “These statements may be interpreted as showing disrespect for gun owners and gun culture and may make it much more difficult for gun violence prevention advocates to convince gun owners that they are not coming for people’s guns”

Duh, ya think! And those examples are only the tip of the iceberg.

It’s worth mentioning that if someone like Beto is the exception and not the norm as is the implication, then why has Joe Biden vowed to make Beto his gun control czar if he is elected president in 2020?

The answer is because Beto is not an outlier! He represents the mainstream, Democratic view. For proof, all one needs to do is look at the Biden “Plan to End the Gun Violence Epidemic” at Just a few of the highlights lowlights:

  • Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Federal law prevents hunters from hunting migratory game birds with more than three shells in their shotgun. That means our federal law does more to protect ducks than children. It’s wrong. Joe Biden will enact legislation to once again ban assault weapons. This time, the bans will be designed based on lessons learned from the 1994 bans. For example, the ban on assault weapons will be designed to prevent manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor changes that don’t limit the weapon’s lethality. While working to pass this legislation, Biden will also use his executive authority to ban the importation of assault weapons. 
  • Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. Currently, the National Firearms Act requires individuals possessing machine-guns, silencers, and short-barreled rifles to undergo a background check and register those weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Due to these requirements, such weapons are rarely used in crimes. As president, Biden will pursue legislation to regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. 
  • Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities. Biden will also institute a program to buy back weapons of war currently on our streets. This will give individuals who now possess assault weapons or high-capacity magazines two options: sell the weapons to the government, or register them under the National Firearms Act.
  • Reduce stockpiling of weapons. In order to reduce the stockpiling of firearms, Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one.

Point is, we know they’re coming for our guns and we know that “gun violence prevention” is just another name for incremental infringement. Any gun owner who doesn’t recognize this has his head up his behind.

So, to the researchers and public health professionals out there, please stop trying to convince us otherwise. Use your time, money, and resources on something that will actually benefit society. Because efforts to disarm law-abiding citizens do not make the true perpetrators of violence less violent.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Dave Emery August 3, 2020, 4:34 pm

    Gun grabbing time is skirmish time. Pick one and get the other. Bans are one thing but retroactively going after the 2nd? Entirely different. NFA registration for current non NFA guns? F$cK off. Time to find that one principal (if you haven’t already) you’d die for. Live free or die, right? That means, in America, live with the 2nd Amendment or die. That means having access to “assault weapons” and not a single shot shotgun. Sua Sponte

  • JRB August 1, 2020, 11:37 am

    Funny, having some knowledge of how research/statistics is put together as a Master’s level social worker, the control for bias on their part is missing their own bias for the purpose of the study. This also infringes on a code of ethics that would attempt to manipulate another with the findings that they propose.

    Some of the questions were inane. E.g. “Am I like the typical gun owner?” Wow! Talk about a lack of consciousness. What is a “typical” gun owner like? I thought we were “individuals” instead of the Marxist/Progressive idea of being a collective. This tells you something right here: That we’re “objects,” (to be manipulated) not individual persons. So much for any spiritual enlightenment there.

    Then another: That we’re the useful idiots of the NRA narrative. We’ve fallen for NRA brainwashing. What a bunch of projection-meaning that they’ve fallen for the Marxist propaganda which means to escape their own darkness by attempting to blame us for what they themselves are trying to hide. They also deny any experience learned from history. Eg. Hitler in 1935: “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safe, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

    I don’t recall any reference to the Founders/Framers in the document. These people are ignorant of the Founder’s intelligence, experience and foresight. They knew how governments centralize and turn citizens into subjects and possibly slaves. They experienced the gun/gunpowder control of the British.

    Freud was right. 90% of the world is unconscious.

    I am reminded me of Robert E. Lee (yes he emancipated the slaves he inherited before 1863) and his words from Fredericksburg, overlooking the Union assault: “I wish those people would go home and leave us alone.” I think this is all that gun owners want, but I won’t error on thinking that there is a “typical” gun owner so I’ll say that all I want is to be left alone. My desire is congruent for the purposes for which the Constitution was written.

    Of retirement age, I was dreaming of relaxing, doing community service, spending time with my family and grandchildren. Now I am faced with having to spend my time, energy and money that I don’t have on resisting this Marxist tyranny. And they wonder why we get agitated while ignoring the agitation, burning and killing their own people that they’ve raised through our education system, are doing. Human beings were not meant to be controlled by others–its incongruent with Natural Law.

    • Ti October 16, 2020, 1:10 pm

      I really enjoy the discussion here.

      Your comment was eloquent in what I always say – The left holds up a mirror and looks into it. Then they blame the opposition for what they see. But it is their reflection.

  • FAL Phil July 31, 2020, 1:31 pm

    I am sure the war on private ownership of guns will work so well because the war on drugs worked so well.

    Oh, wait…

  • Alan July 31, 2020, 1:21 pm

    More fantasy and delusion from the left. Dear God these liberals are so mentally ill.

  • tom mix July 31, 2020, 11:55 am

    can we Please stop using gun control buzzwords like Assault Weapon? when we call semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15 by that name we reinforce the public’s image of us as wanna be navy Seals looking for someone to shoot.

  • 357 Mag July 31, 2020, 10:32 am

    Please stop calling them “Hollywood Elites” or “Liberal Elites”. To do so gives them a legitimacy that they simply DO NOT have. They are most certainly not elite at anything

  • Rangemaster11B July 31, 2020, 10:24 am

    Michael B. Siegel is an American tobacco control expert and public health researcher. He is a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.

    Siegel completed his residency in preventive medicine at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

  • Mario July 31, 2020, 9:56 am

    Great article. In this debate, the gun-grabbers ignore their own research such as Bloomberg’s John Hopkins School of Gun Policy and Research who published a finding that universal background checks provide “no protective effects.” Yet, the gun-grabbers keep pushing for universal background checks. And since 1983, using CDC data, gun accident fatalities have decreased 84%.

  • ChiptheBarber July 31, 2020, 9:54 am

    This just in: Brand New Study. Researchers here, at my institute have come to the factual conclusion (after much scientific debate) that 100% of all crime, not just “gun crime” is committed by criminals.

  • Randy July 31, 2020, 7:54 am

    Perhaps NSSF, GOA, or someone should do the same study on those supporting gun control. Leave the questions open-ended (not multiple choice), and the answers would be hilarious/

  • William Sweeney July 31, 2020, 7:41 am

    I would wager that there are are as many different reasons for gun ownership as there are gun owners, trouble with these idiot researchers is they try “too hard” to stuff people into their psychological boxes, when they don’t really understand them at all.

  • Paul July 30, 2020, 1:04 pm

    got as far as a survey of 2000 gun owners…… did they know that they were gun ownersor who to contact in the first place, do they access to restricted/anonymous info??????

    • ChiptheBarber July 31, 2020, 9:57 am

      That’s a really good question there, Pablo!

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