And You Thought The Wall Street Journal Knew Data

posted on April 17, 2015

On April 15, The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog repeated previously published data claiming to show a decline in the number of American households with guns.

The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC) asked, “Do you happen to have in your home any guns or revolvers? Is it a pistol, shotgun, rifle or what? Do any of these guns personally belong to you?”

Given that the same survey reported record lows in confidence in the White House (7 percent), Congress (5 percent) and the media (7 percent), did it occur to NORC that Americans might be suspicious of strangers asking about their firearms?

Here’s data NORC could Google: The number of background checks for gun purchases has skyrocketed since Obama took office and his gun control efforts fueled historic sales; new gun owners’ demand has driven the number of NRA instructors to record highs; and the number of certificates earned by new owners taking NRA classes has risen significantly since 2008.

Given all that, what’s more likely: gun ownership is declining, or that Americans are reluctant to tell strangers that they own guns?

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