Who to believe?

Data conflicts on whether women are buying more guns

Women participate in a "Girl and a Gun Women's Shooting League" class in Painesville, Ohio. (Michael F. McElroy/The New York Times)

The past year has seen a rise in stories claiming that more and more women are buying guns, but a recent article by The Trace contradicts these accounts, saying that “the rate at which women are buying firearms has remained mostly unchanged for decades.” The Trace, an American non-profit website devoted to gun-related news, seeded in part by former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s pro gun-control Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, cites data from the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, a study conducted through personal interviews with 1,500 people each year. The study has asked respondents whether they personally owned a gun since 1980, finding that on average 11.2 percent of American women report owning a gun. In 2014, 11.7 percent of women reported owning a gun, which is about the average rate.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has criticized the article, arguing that the data is unreliable because “it is counting the number of individuals willing to disclose to a stranger at their front door how many firearms they own.” The NSSF’s “Women Gun Owners: Purchasing, Perceptions and Participation” 2014 report indicated that 74 percent of firearms retailers “reported a year over year increase in female customers as did the majority of retailers in the two previous surveys.”

Read the full story at Forbes.

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