Americans who have been victims of a crime are more likely to own a gun, according to a new poll released by Gallup.
The survey revealed that 33 percent of adults who have been a recent victim of a crime – including burglary, property theft, assault and vandalism – own a gun, while only 28 percent of non-victims possess a firearm.
Gallup noted that the survey did not ask whether the crime prompted the victim to buy a firearm, or if the person owned a gun prior to the event.
Gallup also pointed out that the person could have been victimized more than 12 months ago, and that that incident could have been what caused them to purchase a firearm.
What Gallup does know is that “gender is the strongest predictor of gun ownership” and that men are much more likely to own a gun than women. Forty-eight percent of men who were victims of crime own a gun compared to only 19 percent of female victims.
Location is another important factor. Thirty-nine percent of those living in towns or rural areas, 28 percent of those living in suburbs, and 22 percent of those living in cities own a gun. This is likely due to stricter gun laws in cities.
While Gallup cannot tell us for certain why a relationship exists between crime victimization and gun ownership, we can infer that crime victims who bought a gun after the fact did so in order to feel safer.
In 2013, Gallup found that 60 percent of gun owners owned a firearm for personal safety or protection.
Gallup concluded its report by saying, “For crime victims, the threat of victimization is no longer a possibility but a reality. Crime victims’ desire to protect themselves may explain why many gun owners do not favor stricter gun laws, and why gun owners as well as non-owners are reluctant to back outright bans on guns.”