How male and female gun owners in the U.S. compare

About six-in-ten gun owners in the United States are male (62%). Still, about one-in-five women (22%) report that they own a gun. While these women resemble their male counterparts in some respects, their views on and experiences with guns often differ from those of male gun owners.

Here are seven ways that female and male gun owners compare, based on a recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,269 gun owners.

1Women who own guns tend to become gun owners at a later age than men.On average, women who own a gun or have owned one in the past report that they first got their own gun when they were 27 years old, compared with an average of 19 for men who own or have owned guns.

2Women are more likely than men to cite protection – rather than recreation – as the only reason they own a gun. Male and female gun owners are about equally likely to cite protection as a reason why they own guns: About nine-in-ten in each group say this is a reason, and 65% and 71%, respectively, say it is a majorreason. But far larger shares of women than men who own guns say protection is the only reason they own a gun: About a quarter of women who own guns (27%) are in this category, compared with just 8% of men.

3Women who own guns are less likely than their male counterparts to say they go sport shooting or hunting, though substantial shares of women do so. About four-in-ten female gun owners (43%) say they go shooting or to a gun range often or sometimes; 58% of men who own guns say the same. And while 37% of male gun owners say they go hunting at least sometimes, 28% of women who own guns do so.

The differences between male and female gun owners when it comes to participating in hunting or shooting are linked, at least in part, to early exposure to these types of activities. Among current gun owners, 52% of men say they went hunting and 46% say they went shooting at least sometimes when they were growing up, compared with about a quarter of women (23%) who say they participated in each of these activities when they were young. The gaps in the shares of men and women who now go hunting or shooting virtually disappear when those who did and did not hunt or shoot growing up are considered separately.

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GOP Goes Quiet on Gun Silencers—for Now, at Least—After Congressional Shooting

By agreement among Republicans after Wednesday’s frightful shooting that left Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition, yesterday was not the day to talk of gun control.

Not to worry, Republicans and National Rifle Association brass. Gun control advocates will wait a respectful moment before pointing out the absurdity of our gun laws so lax that even Justice Antonin Scalia said there should be restrictions. Or maybe they will wait much longer. Many have lost heart for the fight. If nothing got passed after small children at Sandy Hook, moviegoers, office workers, and partiers dancing the night away in Orlando were massacred—why would we think anything will happen now?

In fact, the talk that was permitted after the practice field shooting spree was largely about locking and loading and carrying. Three Harvard Business professors found that after a mass shooting, gun laws are more likely to be loosened than tightened. How’s that for counterintuitive behavior?

How about something NOT happening for a glimmer of hope? Yesterday a bill (the Hearing Protection Act!) that would allow silencers—those things that criminals use in the movies, and which are presently regulated more like machine guns than revolvers—was set for a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. It was canceled even before the leadership shut the entire House down for the day.

A wise move. Even if Republicans use their inside voices and talk nice, going on about the woes of hunters without silencers when it was the very sound of gunfire that allowed others at that field to run for cover, and for the Capitol Police to move to where the shots were coming from, would be particularly hard to take. Yes, perhaps we can be made to worry over the health of your ears and that of your hunting dogs. Just not today.

The bill to deregulate silencers has been bundled into a sportsmen’s package that might make it go down easier. It amends the National Firearms Act of 1934 to replace what the bill’s co-sponsor Rep. Jeff Duncan says is the outdated federal transfer process and its $200 fee with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check.

Duncan is so anxious to have people realize how useful silencers are (he prefers the Orwellian “suppressors”) that he hosted a demonstration earlier this month at a shooting range run by the Capitol Police in the Rayburn House Office Building. So many came, his press secretary Allen Klump said, they ran out of ammunition. As to what’s wrong with earplugs, Klump says, you have to be able to hear the wildlife before you see the wildlife in order to shoot the wildlife.

Proponents point out that a gun with a silencer is hardly silent. It reduces the sound by about 30 decibels to about the noise of a jackhammer. Maybe so, but who runs in the other direction at the sound of a jackhammer and what policeman runs towards it to suppress a shooter? To paraphrase the NRA, jackhammers don’t kill people.

The hearing hasn’t been rescheduled but the bill will get its day and likely pass this year with the support of Donald Trump and family. The president’s already signed a few gun bills and revoked a regulation that had prevented Social Security recipients with mental-health conditions from buying guns. His sons are hunters who’ve been photographed posing with everything but Cecil the Lion: a dead leopard, a crocodile, and a bloody elephant tail (they were culling the overpopulated herd) at a safari a few years ago.

Donald Jr. filmed a promotional spot for the Utah company Silenceco, named before suppressor replaced silencer as the term of art, in which he demonstrates the product and then says that for him the Second Amendment isn’t simply a “passion, it’s a lifestyle.”

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House votes 65-54 for bill easing concealed handgun laws

It would no longer be necessary to have a concealed handgun permit to bring a gun anywhere that firearms can already be carried openly, under a bill a divided state House tentatively approved on Wednesday.

The change would eliminate the need for concealed-carry permits for adults who are at least 18 and are not otherwise prohibited from owning firearms, except where open-carry is barred. That would change current law that requires concealed-carry applicants be at least 21 and complete firearm safety training to obtain a permit.

The debate on House Bill 746 was preceded by days of intense pressure from national and statewide gun-control and gun-rights advocates. It resulted in an 11-vote margin; eight Republicans broke from the majority and voted with all Democrats against the bill. The vote was 65-54.

Rep. Susan Fisher, a Democrat from Asheville, set the tone for the afternoon when she delivered the daily prayer peppered with references to the victims of gun violence.

Republican leaders used procedural maneuvers to bat down a series of amendments offered by Democrats, and eventually shut down the debate with six amendments pending. A final vote in the House is expected on Thursday, which would send the bill to the Senate.

“It will expand opportunities for law-abiding citizens to better protect themselves and their loved ones from harm,” Rep. Chris Millis, a Republican from Hampstead who is the main sponsor of the bill.

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Army to Gunmakers: Show Us a New 7.62mm Service Rifle

U.S. Army weapons officials have launched a survey to see what gunmakers can offer for an off-the-shelf 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle.

The May 31 request for information, known in acquisition parlance as an RFI, on behalf of Product Manager Individual Weapons, is an attempt to “identify sources for a combat rifle system” and determine the potential cost and lead time to deliver up to 10,000 weapon systems, according to the document.

The request comes in the wake of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers Congress last week that the M4 Carbine‘s current 5.56mm round can’t penetrate modern enemy body armor plates and that he’s considering arming infantry units with rifles chambered for a more potent 7.62mm cartridge.

“The rifle must be a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) system readily available for purchase today. Modified or customized systems are not being considered,” according to the document, which specifies that the caliber must be 7.62x51mm.

Milley told Senate Armed Services Committee members May 25 that Army officials at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning in Georgia, have developed a new 7.62mm round capable of penetrating enemy body armor plates similar to U.S. military-issue rifle plates such as the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert, or ESAPI.

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