Liberal Gun Ownership On The Rise 

W. Scott McGill /
W. Scott McGill /

It’s a dirty little secret, an inconvenient truth, and a fact that progressives would prefer to keep hidden. Even as Democrats call for more gun control, liberal gun ownership is on the rise. 

According to a November NBC News survey, there is a significant increase in the number of registered Democrats who have a gun at home. The survey found that 41 percent of Democrats have a gun in their household, up from 33 percent in a similar study conducted in August 2019 by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.  

The 2019 poll findings echoed a 2004 survey, which found that 33 percent of Democrats lived in households with firearms. This suggests that the substantial increase in gun ownership among Democrats has mainly occurred in the last four years. 

The NBC poll also found an increase in gun ownership among Republicans, although this rise was less dramatic and more closely aligned with past trends. Sixty-six percent of Republicans reported having a firearm in their household in the most recent survey, compared to 64 percent in 2019 and 57 percent in 2004.  

Overall, 52 percent of the survey’s participants admitted to gun ownership, showing a marked increase from 46 percent in 2019. 

The sharp rise in Democrat gun ownership seems to be related to the nationwide surge in crime, especially in large Democrat-run cities. Florida State’s Professor Kleck, who teaches criminology and criminal justice, noted, “As to why household gun ownership increased among Democrats in particular, it may be a response to recent increases in crime rates in big cities, where Democrats claim a larger share of the population.” 

Billy McLaughlin, a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association (NRA), also attributes the increase in gun ownership among Democrats to concerns about rising crime, saying that the recent survey results were “far from shocking.” 

He continued, stating, “Law-abiding Americans, having witnessed everything from politicians’ attempts to close gun stores during the pandemic to the Biden Crime Wave decimating our communities, see law enforcement being undermined and progressive district attorneys not prosecuting criminals, effectively putting them back on the streets.” 

McLaughlin emphasized that these factors have prompted many Americans to realize the responsibility to defend themselves and their families rests on their shoulders. He described the rise in gun ownership as a logical response from citizens who perceive a significant increase in the likelihood of becoming victims of crime. 

McLaughlin points to many factors causing concern, even in the liberal camp. He asserts that the targeted effort by politicians to close gun stores and the “Biden Crime Wave” impacting communities nationwide have caused law-abiding citizens to notice the erosion of law enforcement. Additionally, Democrats realize that progressive district attorneys are failing to prosecute criminals. As a result, lawbreakers are quickly returned to the streets with no accountability for their actions. 

Many Democrat-led cities are falling prey to unchecked crime. New York saw an alarming increase in shootings—up by 97% in 2020. Crime increased by 26% in Oakland, California, with vehicle thefts spiking by 52%. Even Washington, D.C., is not a haven, with violent crime increasing by 36% and an unprecedented number of armed carjackings. 

Professor Deana Rohlinger, a sociology instructor at Florida State University, feels that the uptick in gun ownership among Democrats reflects a sense of anxiety., but she adds that the trend may be associated with the intense political polarization in America, particularly among minority groups. 

Rohlinger observed that while a decision to own a gun is a complex one for those on both sides of the political aisle, social scientists point to a “heightened sense of uncertainty and fear” as one of the key factors shaping their choices. 

She further explained that, for some individuals, buying a gun may be a response to their perception of the ever-increasing divisiveness and political tension nationwide. Other individuals might make such a decision based on their perception of decreased personal safety in what they feel is an ideologically dangerous world. Rohlinger mentioned racial minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals might choose to purchase a gun for personal defense and to feel more secure. 

Illegal immigration adds to the fear and uncertainty, even among liberals. Since Biden took office, over 6.2 million illegal aliens have been encountered at the borders, with more than two million released into the interior. In 2023, Border Patrol agents discovered that thousands of border crashers have prior criminal convictions, and a 2021 Department of Justice report revealed that 64% of federal arrests in 2018 involved noncitizens, despite illegal immigrants only accounting for 7% of the population at the time of the report.  

Efforts to ban lawful gun ownership have always been met with opposition. As the Biden administration continues to threaten the Second Amendment, it may face resistance from a very unexpected source – its own party.