by: Taylor Cox, Benzinga Staff Writer
Many Americans are questioning the sagacity of the nation’s existing gun control laws in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred outside MGM Resorts International MGM’s Mandalay Bay Hotel. One thing that’s not in question is the American preoccupation with firearms.
To demonstrate, consider the following, according to data compiled by Statista:
- Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults say they’ve fired a gun. Only 55 percent of adults voted in the 2016 presidential election.
- Thirty-nine percent of American households report owning at least one gun. To put that in context, that’s more than the number of households that own a cat, while just slightly below the number of households that own a dog (35 and 44 percent, respectively, says the ASPCA). That is just about double the number of households that includes two married parents with children, according the Census Bureau figures from 2011 and 2012.
- Two-thirds of gun owners own more than one gun. Of those, 29 percent own five firearms or more. That’s about twice the average number of people per American household (2.6 was the average, as of 2012).
That said, gun ownership has gradually declined. As of June 2016, gun ownership in the U.S. had dropped to a nearly 40-year low, the Washington Post reported.
Still, the rash of mass shootings taking place in recent years has caused an ideological divide that’s virtually without parallel.
Look no further than the 2016 election: No other issue saw so stark a split in voters along demographic lines as gun ownership, as The New York Times recently reported.
The U.S. last enacted major legislation on guns with President Bill Clinton’s 1994 assault weapons ban, which was allowed to expire in 2004. Gun ownership advocates and gun control proponents disagree on the ban’s effectiveness, though both sides often pull from the same 1997 Department of Justice study on the law to back up their views. In fact, the report is far more nuanced than either side typically admits. The same could be said about the larger gun conversation itself.
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