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The number of Americans who live in a household with at least one gun is
lower than it's ever been, according to a major American trend survey that
finds the decline in gun ownership is paralleled by a reduction in the
number of Americans who hunt.
According to the latest General Social Survey, 32 percent of Americans
either own a firearm themselves or live with someone who does, which ties
a record low set in 2010. That's a significant decline since the late
1970s and early 1980s, when about half of Americans told researchers there
was a gun in their household.
The drop in the number of Americans who own a gun or live in a household
with one is probably linked to a decline in the popularity of hunting,
from 32 percent who said they lived in a household with at least one
hunter in 1977 to less than half that number saying so now.
That the number of households with at least one gun is declining doesn't
necessarily mean that the number being purchased is on the decline. Data
from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check system shows
that in recent years there's actually been an increase in the number of
background checks being run, suggesting the total number of firearms being
purchased is going up.
But those are concentrated in fewer hands than they were in the 1980s, the
General Social Survey finds. The 2014 poll finds that 22 percent of
Americans own a firearm, down from a high of 31 percent who said so in
The survey also finds a shrinking gender gap in personal firearm ownership
as a result of a decline in the percentage of men who own one, from 50
percent in 1980 to 35 percent in 2014.
Fewer women than men own guns, but the percentage among women has held
fairly steady since 1980, with 12 percent now saying they personally own a
Meanwhile, the number of new state-issued handgun carry permits dropped
sharply in Tennessee last year, says an Associated Press report released
According to an annual report on carry permits by the state Department of
Safety, about 46,000 new applications were granted last year. That's down
45 percent from the more than 83,000 new permits granted in 2013. Renewals
were down from 100,000 in 2013 to 76,000 last year.
About 1,500 permits were revoked or suspended in 2014, down from nearly
1,900 a year earlier.
About 498,000 Tennesseans have permits to carry handguns in public.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old, complete a firearms safety
course and pass a background check.