Where do people keep their guns?
July 31, 2016 10:52 AM   Subscribe

I want to know where gun owners tend to keep their guns. As I reason, there are only a few places that can be; (1) at home, (2) in their car or (3) on their person. Are there any statistics or studies that show where people keep their primary firearm - one they may say is mostly for protection as opposed to hunting or target practice (even though that firearm may be used interchangeably by some owners)?
posted by CollectiveMind to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you interested in people who own firearms and don't give "protection" as one of their reasons for ownership?
posted by hoyland at 11:31 AM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

You might want to specify which "people", as I could correctly answer this question with "in a securely locked gun cabinet, as required by UK gun legislation" - but I suspect that those are not the people you're thinking about.
posted by Vortisaur at 11:40 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I am wanting to understand, percentage wise, whether people, as in gun owners, keep their guns at home, in their car or on their person. I'm looking for a statistics that says something like "X% at home, X% in their car and X% as concealed carry." And yes, I understand that an owner might not want to identify their reason for owning a gun so they don't have to give protection as a reason.
posted by CollectiveMind at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2016

This isn't exactly an answer but I think it will vary widely based on the gun owner's state and city. Friends of mine, for example, have guns that they are required to keep at the gun range, which I would describe as neither their car, home or on their person.
posted by kat518 at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am wanting to understand, percentage wise, whether people, as in gun owners, keep their guns at home, in their car or on their person. I'm looking for a statistics that says something like "X% at home, X% in their car and X% as concealed carry."

As noted above, you should clarify what country's gun owners you are asking about, because the rules are obviously very different in different countries (as well as regionally within the US).

To make it more complicated, at least in parts of the US with liberal gun laws, people may do all of the above -- it's not uncommon to have a gun that stays in the truck, other guns would be stored at home, and then someone might carry a pistol (open or concealed) at times. Anecdotally, no one I know personally carries a gun all the time, because they are heavy and uncomfortable as well as usually not necessary; it's more of an "as needed" thing (for whatever that person defines "as needed" to be).

In other words, the percentages, as you have laid them out, would not add up to 100, because they are overlapping categories.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

I am wanting to understand, percentage wise, whether people, as in gun owners, keep their guns at home, in their car or on their person

If you have a carry permit, these percentages overlap to the point where I don't understand how this question makes sense. You holster your weapon at home; you drive with it on your body or with fire arm and ammo separated depending on state law; you go about your business with it concealed in public; and then when you get home and un-holster, you put it in a secure lock box. (Or you don't, and put it under your pillow or in a drawer or whatever, depending on a number of factors including how shitty a gun owner you are.)

If you don't have a carry permit, you can still have a gun in your car for transportation, but it is normally firearm in the car, ammo in the trunk (or the reverse, I can't remember.) In no state I'm aware of is it legal to just house a handgun in your car.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:42 PM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

In Mississippi, autos are treated as an extension of your house for the purpose of carry laws, so I assume leaving a gun in the car indefinitely is fine. Wyoming friends tell me that it was common for students to keep rifles in their vehicles for hunting - in very rural places school might let out if a large elk herd was spotted, because students would leave anyhow. In less rural places students would be sent home / perhaps otherwise get in trouble for forgetting to take a rifle out of the gun rack before going to school, though.

The folks I knew in MS with "protection" handguns either kept them on the nightstand and/or carried them in a handbag daily. Most of them also had hunting rifles in a case.
posted by momus_window at 1:55 PM on July 31, 2016

Response by poster: OK, thanks.
posted by CollectiveMind at 2:21 PM on July 31, 2016

Here in the US, some people have one gun and keep it unloaded in a safe with the ammunition (and maybe the even bolt of the gun) in a different safe. At the other end of the spectrum is the guy with a loaded gun under every sofa pillow. I've never seen any statistics. I do think a lot of people with several guns (or more) will have a gun safe, though they may keep a personal protection weapon elsewhere.

Many of the states with stronger gun laws do mandate that weapons be treated in a particular manor when not under direct supervision by the owner, usually this means unloaded and locked up. States also differ about carry of guns in cars. So it's not just personal preference.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:03 PM on July 31, 2016

Yeah, you probably ought to stratify this a little bit more. I mean, I keep my gun behind a seldom closed door, but it's a cheap reproduction black powder cap and ball affair.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:13 PM on July 31, 2016

Your divisions aren't likely to yield interesting data, as others have noted, but I'll answer anyway.

I own guns, all but two of which were inherited from my father and grandfather. This includes a number of long guns (shotguns and rifles) and a few pistols. I don't carry, or have any interest in carry, even though I live in a state where that's easy (Texas).

They are all locked in a gun safe unless I'm planning to go shooting. Well, I say all, but one heirloom shotgun -- from my great-grandfather! -- won't fit, so it's always lived in my closet.

In years past, I did keep an unloaded handgun (but with a loaded magazine close by) in a bedside table. I don't do that anymore, but I suspect this is VERY common, especially in states with high rates of handgun ownership. My reasons for doing so were quotidian and irrational, but my reasons for stopping were entirely rooted in laziness and practicality: I was always careful to put the gun in the safe if we were leaving town for a trip (so that, IF we were robbed, the gun itself wouldn't be stolen and possibly used for a bad end), and at some point I just didn't feel the need to take it back to the bedroom. It's much safer in the safe, and I'm entirely unlikely to need it for that purpose.
posted by uberchet at 7:41 AM on August 1, 2016

Yeah, at least in the US congress has blocked funding for gun use/control studies for a long time. Anecdotally, my father keeps a wide array of long guns in a locked gun safe, and I keep three long guns under my guest bed, secured with trigger locks.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:11 AM on August 1, 2016

There are not currently guns in my household, as I live in a city, don't have livestock and do not require them. I grew up in rural Alberta, Canada, however, so of course we always had firearms (primarily rifles, but one or two handguns as well) in the house for protection against wildlife. My dad kept his guns in a locked gun safe, and the bullets were in a separate looked safe. This prevented accidental shootings, but if you know your combinations you still have amble time to get everything ready to scare/kill any wildlife coming after your livestock.

When my husband had handguns for more recreational reasons, he kept them and bullets in separate safes and used a locking case to transport them in his truck to the range for practice.
posted by Kurichina at 8:49 AM on August 2, 2016

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