Straightforward poll reveals why American own guns: it's personal

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The findings are straightforward enough. Gallup asked 309 gun owners an open-ended question: Why do you own a gun? Here is what they said - the desire for personal safety and protection was in first place, cited by 60 percent.

In second place, hunting (36 percent), followed by recreation (13 percent), target shooting (8 percent), concern for Second Amendment rights (5 percent), personally “like guns” (5 percent), the firearm was an antique or heirloom (5 percent), they were “raised with guns” (4 percent), ownership was related to employment (3 percent), “no reason in particular” (3 percent), animal control (1 percent) and collect guns (1 percent).

“Personal protection is the top reason Americans own a gun, as was true in 2000 and 2005. This, rather than views on the Second Amendment, may explain why moving toward greater gun control, as Obama and many Democrats have sought to do, is so difficult,” Gallup analyst Art Swift says.

“Those who own firearms for protection may feel that their own personal safety is a vital need on which they do not wish to compromise,” he adds.

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