Illinois Review

How the Views of Male and Female Gun Owners Compare

A Pew Research Study surveyed and compared the views and experiences of male and female gun owners. Here are the not-so-surprising differences.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,269 male and female gun owners to find out how their views on and experiences of gun ownership compared.

Here are the interesting differences, some of which you might expect and a couple that may cause you raise an eyebrow.

1. Females tend to become gun owners at a later age than their male counterparts.

Female gun owners indicate that, on average, they first owned their gun when they were 27 years old, compared to men who said that they first owned a gun when they were, on average, 19 years old.

2. Women are more likely to cite self-defense and protection as the only reason they own a gun.


Men and women almost equally say that protection is a reason that they own a gun. However, women stating that protection is the only reason they own a gun far outnumber men who cite protection as their only reason, by a disparity of 27 percent (women) to 8 percent (men).

3. Male gun owners are more likely to say that they engage in hunting or sport shooting than women.

Around four in ten (43 percent) female gun owners go shooting or to a gun range at least occasionally. Around six in ten (58 percent) male gun owners say the same thing.

28 percent of female gun owners also participate in hunting at least sometimes, while 37 percent of male gun owners say that they go hunting at least sometimes.

The survey numbers also support the idea that the earlier - when growing up - that male or female gun owners participated in shooting or hunting, the more likely they were to engage in those activities now. In fact, the percentages of men and women who say that they engaged in these activities when young - about half of men and about a quarter of women - almost mirror the percentages that engage in those activities now.

4. Men are more likely than women to visit gun-related websites and watch TV shows about guns.

33 percent of female gun owners say that they "often or sometimes watch TV shows or videos about guns," while 43 percent of male gun owners do the same. 28 percent of women visit gun-related websites, compared to 39 percent of men.

Also, when talking about social circles, around 40 percent of women indicate that most or all of the friends are gun owners, compared to slightly more than half of men who say the same thing about their circles of friends.

5. Male gun owners are more likely than women to say that there is a loaded gun easily accessible to them when they are at home.

43 percent of men say this is the case versus 29 percent of women. However, among both male and female handgun owners, equal numbers (26 percent of both genders) declare that they carry their handgun outside of the home most or all of the time.

6. Both men and women view gun ownership similarly as it concerns freedom and personal identity.

Overwhelming majorities of both genders (70 percent of women and 77 percent of men) see gun ownership as "essential to their personal sense of freedom." Around half of each group say that gun ownership is also important to their overall individual identity.

7. Among Republican gun owners, women are more supportive of limited gun control than men.

60 percent of Republican-leaning women would favor banning so-called "assault weapons," compared to 28 percent of Republican-leaning men. 57 percent of Republican women would support creating a federal database to track all gun sales, compared to 35 percent of Republican men.

On the other hand, 46 percent of Republican female gun owners favor shortening waiting periods for gun sales, compared to 68 percent of men who favor shorter waiting periods. Those who support carrying a firearm without a permit also vary widely: only 24 percent of women compared to 52 percent of men.

Democrat-leaning gun owners expressing support for each of these measures show similar percentage shares.

There you have it. Do any of these percentages surprise you?

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Shane Mahoney On the Importance of the Gun to Conservation