Re­cent vic­tims more likely to own guns

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

Re­cent crime vic­tims are more likely to own guns than peo­ple who hadn’t re­ported be­ing a vic­tim of a crime in the pre­vi­ous 12 months, ac­cord­ing to a Gallup anal­y­sis re­leased this week.

Thirty-three per­cent of U.S. adults who were re­cent vic­tims of as­sault, theft, or prop­erty crimes also said they own a gun, com­pared to 28 per­cent of gun own­ers who weren’t re­cent crime vic­tims, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis of re­cent Gallup an­nual crime sur­veys.

The dif­fer­ence in gun own­er­ship among vic­tims ver­sus non-vic­tims held when the num­bers were bro­ken down by sex, as well as among those who re­ported liv­ing in a town, a ru­ral area, or the sub­urbs.

How­ever, re­cent crime vic­tims who re­ported liv­ing in cities were about as likely as non-vic­tims to re­port own­ing a gun.

“To some de­gree, tougher re­stric­tions on gun own­er­ship in many cities may make it harder for crime vic­tims to ob­tain guns,” Gallup’s Ri­ley Brands and Jef­frey M. Jones wrote in an anal­y­sis ac­com­pa­ny­ing the data.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, peo­ple who live in towns or ru­ral ar­eas were more likely to own a gun (39 per­cent), com­pared to peo­ple who lived in sub­urbs (28 per­cent) or cities (22 per­cent).

The au­thors wrote that one ex­pla­na­tion for the broader dis­crep­ancy could be that those who have been a crime vic­tim pur­chased a gun in re­ac­tion to that event, but also spec­i­fied that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two data points is un­clear. They also said crime vic­tims are more likely than non-vic­tims to own guns when fear is taken into ac­count.

In a 2013 Gallup sur­vey, 60 per­cent of gun own­ers said the rea­son they keep a weapon for per­sonal safety or pro­tec­tion.

“More broadly, Amer­i­cans tend to be­lieve that hav­ing a gun in the home or car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons would do more to keep peo­ple safe than to put them at risk of harm,” Mr. Brands and Mr. Jones wrote.

Erich Pratt, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Gun Own­ers of Amer­ica, pre­dicted that gun con­trol ad­vo­cates would try to spin the num­bers to ar­gue that guns make a per­son less safe.

“We don’t know when the crime vic­tims bought their guns,” he said. “Did a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of the vic­tims buy their guns af­ter they were vic­tim­ized? We don’t know be­cause re­spon­dents were not asked.”

“The bot­tom line is that guns do save lives, de­spite what the self-de­fense de­niers try to claim,” Mr. Pratt said.

Pre­sented with the anal­y­sis and its find­ings, though, a few gun con­trol groups ei­ther de­clined to weigh in or didn’t re­spond for com­ment.

“Crime vic­tims’ de­sire to pro­tect them­selves may ex­plain why many gun own­ers do not fa­vor stricter gun laws, and why gun own­ers as well as nonown­ers are re­luc­tant to back out­right bans on guns,” Mr. Brands and Mr. Jones con­cluded.

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