The number of Americans who live in a household with at least one gun is lower than it’s ever been, says a major trend survey that finds the decline in gun ownership is paralleled by a reduction in the number of Americans who hunt, the Chicago Tribune reports. According to the latest General Social Survey, 32 percent of Americans either own a firearm themselves or live with someone who does, which ties a record low set in 2010. That’s a significant decline since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when about half of Americans told researchers there was a gun in their household.
The drop in the number of Americans who own a gun or live in a household with one is probably linked to a decline in the popularity of hunting, from 32 percent who said they lived in a household with at least one hunter in 1977 to less than half that number saying so now. That the number of households with at least one gun is declining doesn’t mean that the number being purchased is on the decline. Data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system shows that in recent years there’s been an increase in the number of background checks being run, suggesting the total number of firearms being purchased is going up.