Myth No. 5: People who buy guns are more prone to violence and crime than are other people.

There is little association between gun ownership and attitudes toward violence:49

The traits associated with gun owners show virtually no statistical association with criminal or violent behavior. If anything, gun ownership is inversely correlated with criminal characteristics. Although crime and violence " as well as gun ownership " are more frequent among males than females and in the South (a region with a moderately higher rate of violence), a closer look tells a different story. Violence is higher among black than white, young than middle-aged, single than married, lower-income than middle- and upper-income and urban than rural individuals - all contrary to the pattern of gun ownership. [See the sidebar on Americans and guns.] In terms of crude statistical association, violence and crime are higher in locales and among populations with lower gun ownership (cities) and lower in places and populations with higher gun ownership (rural).51 These facts also cast doubt on the theory that violence is impulsive and/or fostered by the presence of guns. (See the discussion below.)

"If anything, gun ownership is inversely correlated with criminal characteristics."

© 1996 NCPA