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The largest and most comprehensive survey of American gun owners ever conducted suggests that they use firearms in self-defense about 1.7 million times a year. It also confirms that AR-15-style rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, frequent targets of gun control legislation, are in common use for lawful purposes, which the Supreme Court has said is the test for arms covered by the Second Amendment.

The online survey, which was conducted by Centiment in February and March of 2021, was based on a representative sample of about 54,000 adults, 16,708 of whom were gun owners. Georgetown University political economist William English, who commissioned the survey as part of a book project, presents its major findings in a recent paper available on the Social Science Research Network.-

The survey results indicate that Americans own some 415 million firearms, including 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles, and 98 million shotguns. About 30 percent of respondents reported that they had ever owned AR-15s or similar rifles, which are classified as "assault weapons" under several state laws and a proposed federal ban. Such legislation also commonly imposes a limit on magazine capacity, typically 10 rounds. Nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) said they had ever owned magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

Those results underline the practical challenges that legislators face when they try to eliminate "assault weapons" or "large capacity" magazines. The survey suggests that up to 44 million AR-15-style rifles and up to 542 million magazines with capacities exceeding 10 rounds are already in circulation. Valid point there, something most gun control activists don't think about let alone consider.

Two-thirds of the respondents who reported owning AR-15-style rifles said they used them for recreational target shooting, while half mentioned hunting and a third mentioned competitive shooting. Sixty-two percent said they used such rifles for home defense, and 35 percent cited defense outside the home. Yet politicians who want to ban these rifles insist they are good for nothing but mass murder.

Owners of "large capacity" magazines likewise cited a variety of lawful uses. Recreational target shooting (64 percent) was the most common, followed by home defense (62 percent), hunting (47 percent), defense outside the home (42 percent), and competitive shooting (27 percent).

Politicians who favor a 10-round limit argue that no one except for criminals and police officers really needs a larger magazine. Yet respondents described various situations, based on their personal experiences, where "it would have been useful for defensive purposes to have a firearm with a magazine capacity in excess of 10 rounds." These ranged from muggings and home invasions by multiple attackers to encounters with wild animals. Yet more statistics there that the gun control crowd needs to think more about.

Based on the number of incidents that gun owners reported, English estimates that "guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year." Can't say I'm shocked by those statistics.

SpikeTalon 9 Sep 9

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same lame argument on the other side. I guess one lame one deserves another, right? It's a violence problem in this county we first have to address. You might notice none of the politicians with maybe the exception of a 1 or twoc. Neither party is supporting getting to the bottom of the violence problem. It's like allowing knives but not switch blade knives. What fucking difference does it make?

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