The percent of American households owning guns is at a near-40 year low in the latest CBS News poll released this month.
According to the survey, which was conducted among 1,001 Americans in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting, 36 percent of U.S. adults either own a firearm personally, or live with someone who does. That's the lowest rate of gun ownership in the CBS poll going back to 1978. It's down 17 points from the highest recorded rate in 1994, and nearly 10 percentage points from 2012.
So that good news right?
Hold that thought.
But gun purchases, as measured by FBI firearm background checks, are at historic highs. And data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms shows that gun manufacturers are churning out record numbers of guns. Many gun rights advocates argue that these figures mean that the overall number of gun owners is growing: If more guns are being sold, more people must be owning guns.
So WTF exactly?
Well I think many of you are probably going to guess how both of these two facts can both be true, and it is more than a little troubling.
But the declining rates of gun ownership across three major national surveys suggest a different explanation: that most of the rise in gun purchases is driven by existing gun owners stocking up, rather than by people buying their first gun. A Washington Post analysis last year found that the average American gun owner now owns approximately eight firearms, double the number in the 1990s.
That's right, there are fewer Americans who now own guns, but the ones that do are often in possession of a small arsenal.
This is not indicative of your typical sports hunter or your average dad or mom worried about protecting their family.
No most likely these are the folks who really believe that the government is coming to take away our guns and who have convinced themselves that only they and their fifteen semi-automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition stand between freedom and an Obama controlled police state.
In other words these are the folks who get their news from World Net Daily every morning, have Alex Jones blasting on their radio on the way to work, think Sarah Palin would have been the greatest VP in history, and who are anxious to cast their vote for Donald J. Trump in November.
They are also the folks who thought those UN vehicles in Virginia were a clear sign of the new world order, believe fluoride in our water is an attempt at mind control, and who spend several weekends a year running around the woods in their GI Joe Underoos preparing to repel imaginary invaders.
In short, they are exactly the kinds of people who we should NEVER allow to have access to guns.
And yet, they do.