Survey: How Urban and Rural Gun Owners Differ

Data from the Pew Research Center shows some predictable, and surprising differences among gun owners' opinions based on where they live.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows some predictable, and surprising differences among gun owners' opinions based on where they live.
Data from the Pew Research Center shows some predictable, and surprising differences among gun owners' opinions based on where they live.photo from pressdemocrat.com

The Pew Research Center has been sifting through a lot of data gleaned from questionnaires given to gun owners. Recently, we reported on the differences between male and female gun owners and before that, difference between gun owners who are NRA members and those who aren't.

The latest batch of data shows the differences between urban and rural gun owners, and some of the numbers might surprise you.

According to a release form Pew Research, 46 percent of adults who live in rural areas say they own a gun, compared to 28 percent who live in the suburbs and just 19 percent in urban areas, so that's pretty big difference to begin with.

Here's a run down of some of the more interesting disparities between rural and urban gun owners:

  • 75% of rural gun owners say they own more than one gun; 48% of urban gun owners say the same

  • Predictably, 48% of rural owners cite hunting as a major reason for owning a gun, with just 27% of urban gun owners saying the same.

  • Rural gun owners get their first gun at an earlier age: 47% said they got their first g un before they turned 18, while 27% of current or past gun owners from urban communities say they were younger than 18 when they first got their own gun. The release points out that federal law bans the purchase of firearms by anyone younger than 18, but in many states, minors can still legally possess guns.

  • 72% of Americans who grew up in rural areas say there were guns in their household growing up; the same can be said for 52% of those who grew up in small towns and 39% of those who grew up in a city.

  • 21% of urban gun owners say there would be more crime if more Americans owned guns. Only 9% of rural gun owners agree. 57% of rural gun owners say there would be less crime, a view shared by 47% of urban gun owners

  • 74% of gun owners say the right to keep and bear firearms is essential to their personal sense of freedom. Only 35% of non-gun-owners say the same. Broken down further, 82% of rural gun owners say the same, while 59% of urban gun owners say the right is essential to their personal sense of freedom.