Two National Firearms Surveys in 2021 Cause Confusion

Survival of the Republic & Sovereign People: Armed Citizenry - Part Three
Two National Firearms Surveys in 2021 Cause Confusion

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Two different National Firearms Surveys were completed in 2021. One of them was done by Dr. William English of Georgetown University. He published a draft of his study in July of 2021. This correspondent wrote about the results in a previous article. A different 2021 National Firearms Survey was designed by Deborah Azrael and Matthew Miller, as reported in thehill.com, had preliminary results obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

Both surveys are the latest version of previous surveys. The English survey is much larger than the Azrael – Miller survey.

This correspondent received confirmation of the confusion from Dr. English:

As you surmised, there are two different surveys. The one I ran was separate from and much larger than the one by Azrael and Miller, and it looks like we focused on some different questions. I believe their team has done a version of their survey in a few earlier years as well. It appears that neither of us thought up a more creative name than “2021 National Firearms Survey” to publish our initial results for this year, which has understandably been a source of confusion.

Images of announcements of different 2021 National Firearms Surveys

Neither of the 2021 National Firearms Surveys (NFS) has been released, in their full form, with all data, to the public. From the limited information in the draft released by Dr. English and the coverage of the information obtained by The Wall Street Journal, and published in The Hill, it appears the surveys have somewhat different areas of focus.

The English 2021 NFS has much more information about defensive gun uses than does the Azrael and Miller 2021 NFS. Azrael and Miller have much more information about when people purchased firearms. The English survey starts with over 54,000 contacts. The Azrael survey appears to start with over 19,000.

One finding from the English NFS supports a reported finding from the Azrael & Miller NFS. The English NFS shows 42% of gun owners in the United States are female. The Azrael & Miller NFS shows 3.5 million of 7.5 million new gun owners are women, or 47%. It is a reasonably close agreement.

The 2015 survey done by Asrael, Hepburn, Hemenway, and Miller showed 27% of gun owners were women, and 73% were men.  The 2015 Survey estimated the percent of gun owners in the United States at 22 percent of adults, which is significantly lower than several other surveys. Both the 2015 survey by Azrael and the 2021 survey by English show an average of 5 firearms per firearm owner.

The much larger 2021 NSF by English shows the percentage of adults owning guns in the United States at 32%. Add in those who own firearms and do not respond to surveys about firearms; the number is almost certainly more than one third.

To determine how far apart the two 2021 National Firearms Surveys are on basic numbers, such as how many firearms are in the United States, we will have to wait for the release of the full surveys.

When released, their survey questions and methods used to conduct the surveys should be available to the public for comparison.

Under the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, national registration of firearms is illegal in the United States. Several states also make state registration illegal. Only Hawaii requires registration of all firearms, with a few states requiring registration of particular types of firearms. There is no official count of legally owned firearms in the United States.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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