Despite the constant onslaught exaggerating the risks of guns in the home (see also here), YouGov has a new survey finding that “42% of Americans would feel safer with a gun in the house, while 20% would feel less safe.” And it turns out that they have good reason for feeling that way (see here and here).
Whether one breaks down the survey by gender, age, race, family income, or region, all groups feel safer with a gun in their home. Among racial groups, whites have the biggest gap between feeling safe or not, followed by blacks and then Hispanics.
The survey also asks people if they own a gun or have ever fired a gun. Whether people feel safe with a gun in their home is very closely related to whether they have own a gun or have ever fired one. Not too surprisingly, males are much more likely to own or have fired a gun than females and they are much more likely to feel safer in their home with a gun. More interestingly, whether people own or fired a gun goes up and down with different income levels and whether people feel safer with a gun goes up and down in the same pattern.
Unfortunately, the poll also asks a very poorly worded question on guns outside the home: “Do you think you would feel more safe or less safe if you knew more people were carrying guns?” The results there are the opposite of what is found for guns in the home. The problem here is “more people were carrying” is an extremely broad category. For example, the question would also include more gang members carrying guns around. Consistent with that is only 4% of blacks feel safer with more people carrying guns outside the home. Only 12% of Hispanics feel safer. The answers given to this type of question varies dramatically based on whether the question includes if the person carrying the gun has a concealed handgun permit. Whites are much more likely to have fired a gun than and Hispanics the least, similarly, whites are more likely than Hispanics to feel safer with a gun in their home.