On the Gallup Poll site there is an analysis dated January 4, 2004 of a recent poll on gun ownership. The poll was conducted by phone October 11-14, 2004 with 1,012 adults. I do not have access to the entire poll, since I am too cheap to pay for it. Still, the article has some interesting statistics.
The poll found that just 38% of those polled said they had a gun in the house. I think this figure is low. I am not sure how I would answer this question if a stranger called out of the blue. I might just say, "None of your flippin' business."
The total number of people with guns dropped from an average of 47% of respondents between 1959 and 1993. The analyst, Darren K. Carlson, surmises that the Brady Law may have something to do with the decrease. I don't know if this is true, but I have read gun sales have gone up. Someone is buying all of those guns and I don't think it is just 38% of Americans.
The article states that about 49% of men own guns and a whopping 33% of women own guns. This is good news indeed, if accurate. In order to ensure our gun rights for the long term, we must bring half of the human race into the Second Amendment fold. Guns are no longer a male domain. (On the other hand, I do find gun-fearing males just a little pathetic. C'mon guys, get a pair.)
Among other statistics, I was most heartened by an increase in those people who think having a gun in the house makes you safer. In August-September 2000 35% thought you were safer, and a majority of 51% thought a gun made a house more dangerous (11% said it "depends"). Now, the figures are better--42% thinks a gun in the house makes you safer, and 46% found it more dangerous (10% said it "depends"). That is an improvement of seven points and those who think a gun in the house is more dangerous are no longer an electoral majority of Americans.
This is good news. Maybe 9/11 caused the change, maybe not. Maybe it was just common sense. But, it is a change for the better.
NOTE: When I proofed this post, I found the article is now locked. I must have stumbled on it before they closed it down. If anyone else has paid access to the Gallup Poll, please check out the rest of the numbers and how the poll was conducted.