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Why do most gun owners own more than one gun?

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Why do most American gun owners own so many guns? Why not just one pistol, maybe for home defense; or, just one bolt-action rifle for hunting? Or a shotgun for sport shooting? Isn't one gun enough? Why so many guns?
Why do most gun owners own more than one gun?

Gen 3 Glock 23 in .40 S&W

There is more than one reason. There are probably more than four reasons. All I know is that I have owned a shotgun for skeet and I have owned a .22 for target shooting and I have owned a little mouse gun for concealed carry, and I have owned a used first-generation Glock 17 that used to be owned by a DC cop before that duty service pistol was traded in and went up for sale and I bought it.  My reason for owning more than one firearm is a combination of reason one and reason two: 1) they're cool and they're fun to shoot 2) each pistol serves a very different purpose. Here are three reasons I know about.  This is the beginning in a series of posts I want to make to better explain gun culture to non-gun and antigun people.

Reason one: an affordable alternative to collecting cars

Guns are relatively inexpensive to collect in comparison to watches, motorcycles, cars, bikes, etc. They're both functional and historic. People like to own the things they served with in the military or the guns they see in movies or in history or read about in books. 

Reason two: the right tool for the job

Owning guns to a lot of gun owners is like owning golf clubs: each club has a precise purpose: wedges, putters, woods, irons for clubs and semi-automatic shotgun for turkey hunting, over/under shotgun for trap and skeet, pump shotgun for home defense; an entire array of bolt-action hunting rifles from .223 Remington to .338 Win Mag; .22 Long Rifle firearms, from bolt-action and semi-automatic and lever-action rifles for hunting rats, birds, squirrels, and varmints as well as plinking cans and training for bullseye league target competition, and then there are revolvers and autoloader pistols and, of course, the AR and AK platforms, often used, along with shotguns and "home-defense" pistols, be it a .357 Magnum revolver or a more traditional 9mm Parabellum autoloader, semi-automatic, pistol, sometimes in .45 ACP or .40 S&W.

Reason three: covering all your caliber bases

Ever since the Obama administration, there have been deep fears that guns and types of guns and types of magazines and capacities will be restricted. So, just like toilet paper in the time of Coronavirus, there are always random runs on different types of ammunition and different calibers. There are seasonal runs on extremely popular calibers such as cheap, bulk, .22 Long Rifle (.22LR) plinking rounds, 9mm, and .223 caliber rounds, meaning if you have a .22, a 9mm, or a 5.56mm firearm, you'll likely either not be able to find any available, you'll be limited on the number of boxes you'll be allowed to buy, or, the prices will be jacked up way past affordability (and people love to cry price gauging). What people have decided to do is buy their favorite gun in as many calibers as is offered, allowing that gun owner to always take advantage of the oddball calibers and rounds when their 9mm and .40 S&W ammo is either unavailable or too expensive: 10mm, .45 GAP, .357 SIG, .380 ACP, or any round that gun shops and online stores can't give away. Same with the AK-47 versus the AK-74. Years ago, they were giving away surplus 5.45×39mm ammunition, so buying an AK-74 was a no-brainer; now, however, because of import restrictions, the 7.62x39mm AK-47 variants use is now the cheaper option. And, on the AR platform, if 5.56x45mm NATO or .223 rounds become too expensive, restricted, or hard-to-get, AR platforms can be set up to run the .300 AAC Blackout round, which is popular but not ubiquitous. Covering all your bases. I hedge my bets by being a .32 ACP guy because nobody likes, wants, or uses the old reliable round, also known as the 7.65×17mmSR Browning or 7.65 mm Browning Short, that Hitler used to kill himself and all of Europe's soldiers and police used them until they grudgingly adopted the 9mm because of NATO. Oh, and James Bond's Walther PPK was actually chambered in 7.65 mm Browning and not .380 ACP. So, even I am doing reason three a little bit. 

Reason four: two is one and one is none

This is the theory of redundancy. I know people who have firearms secreted all-around their homes. I know people who legally carry two pistols on their body, one in a holster on their belt and one on their ankle. There is even a theory that the best reload is another loaded gun. So, if someone has one firearm, they're likely to have more or less eight guns per household. And the two is one and one is none theory believes that everything fails so you had better have a backup. This is used, more commonly, with flashlights and other things that people need and cannot live without if you lose or break the one you have.

Ruger MKIII Target Pistol 6 inch tapered  barrel

Glossary of Terms

  1. ARs: A type of semi-automatic or automatic rifle modeled after the original ArmaLite AR-15 design. Popular in gun culture for their versatility and use in various activities.

  2. AKs: Refers to the series of automatic rifles based on the original design of the AK-47. Known for their durability and widespread use globally.

  3. Shotgun: A long-barreled firearm designed to shoot a straight-walled cartridge known as a shotshell, which discharges numerous small pellet-like projectiles or a single solid projectile.

  4. Rifle: A long-barreled firearm with a rifled barrel, designed to fire a single projectile along a straight trajectory. Used for precision shooting at longer ranges.

  5. Gun Culture: Refers to the societal and cultural attitudes, practices, and norms surrounding the ownership, use, and role of guns within a society.

  6. Pistol: A small firearm designed to be held and operated with one hand. Often used for personal defense and law enforcement.

  7. Firearms: A general term for any type of gun that discharges bullets or projectiles through a controlled explosion or other forms of propulsion.

  8. Semi-Automatic Shotgun: A type of shotgun that automatically reloads a new round into the chamber after each shot, but requires a trigger pull for each shot.

  9. Over/Under Shotgun: A type of double-barreled shotgun with one barrel above the other. Commonly used in trap and skeet shooting.

  10. Pump Shotgun: A type of shotgun with a manual pump-action used for loading shells into the chamber. Popular for home defense and hunting.

  11. Bolt-Action Hunting Rifles: Rifles with a bolt-action mechanism, known for their accuracy and use in hunting. Calibers vary from .223 Remington to .338 Win Mag.

  12. .22 Long Rifle: A very popular and affordable caliber for small game hunting, target shooting, and training.

  13. Revolvers: A type of gun with a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers. Known for reliability and use in self-defense.

  14. Autoloader Pistols: Handguns that automatically load a new round into the chamber after each shot. Includes both semi-automatic pistols and full-automatic versions.

  15. AR and AK Platforms: Refers to the customizable and modular designs of ARs and AKs, allowing for a wide range of uses and modifications.

  16. Caliber: The approximate diameter of the gun barrel and by extension, the size of the bullet or projectile fired from it.

  17. Ammunition Runs: Refers to a surge in buying ammunition due to fears of shortages or regulatory changes, often leading to temporary scarcity.

  18. .300 AAC Blackout: A caliber offering a balance of power and recoil, used in the AR platform, especially when .223 rounds are scarce or expensive.

  19. .32 ACP (7.65×17mmSR Browning): A smaller caliber round known for its use in compact pistols. Historically used in many European police and military pistols.

  1. Walther PPK: A famous German pistol, known for its use by the fictional character James Bond. It's commonly chambered in .380 ACP but historically in 7.65 mm Browning.

  2. Gen 3 Glock 23: A model of Glock, a popular brand of semi-automatic pistols, known for its reliability. The Gen 3 Glock 23 is chambered in .40 S&W.

  3. .40 S&W: A popular caliber of handgun ammunition, known for its balance between power and recoil.

  4. Skeet Shooting: A recreational and competitive activity where participants attempt to break clay targets mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations.

  5. Bolt-Action: A type of firearm action mechanism involving manual operation by the user's hand via a small handle or bolt.

  6. Plinking: Informal target shooting at non-standard targets like cans, bottles, and other small objects, often for entertainment and skill improvement.

  7. Bullseye League: A competitive shooting sport focused on precision and accuracy, typically with handguns at stationary circular targets.

  8. 9mm Parabellum: A standard caliber for pistols and submachine guns, widely used in law enforcement and military operations around the world.

  9. .357 Magnum: A larger and more powerful revolver cartridge, popular for its stopping power in self-defense scenarios.

  10. .45 ACP: A heavy-caliber handgun ammunition known for its use in the military and by law enforcement, particularly in the United States.

  11. Magazine Capacity: Refers to the number of rounds a firearm's magazine can hold. High-capacity magazines are often a point of debate in gun regulation discussions.

  12. Home Defense: The use of firearms to protect one's home and family. Often involves specific types of guns like handguns or shotguns.

  13. Collecting: The hobby of accumulating firearms for their historical, aesthetic, or investment value, rather than solely for use.

  14. Investment: Some individuals purchase firearms as a form of investment, anticipating that certain models or types will increase in value over time.

  15. Redundancy and Reliability: The concept of owning multiple firearms to ensure availability and functionality in different situations.

What OpenAI ChatGPT-4 Thinks

There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as American gun owners have a variety of reasons for owning multiple firearms. Some of the reasons include:

  1. Different purposes: Different types of guns are designed for specific purposes, such as hunting, sport shooting, or self-defense. Owning multiple guns allows a person to have the appropriate firearm for each activity.

  2. Collecting: Some gun owners are collectors and enthusiasts who appreciate the history, craftsmanship, and design of various firearms. They may own multiple guns as part of their collection or as an investment.

  3. Customization and personal preference: Gun owners may have specific preferences for the type, caliber, or features of a firearm. By owning multiple guns, they can find the one that suits their needs or preferences best.

  4. Skill development: Some gun owners like to develop their skills with a variety of firearms, which may require owning and practicing with different types of guns.

  5. Redundancy and reliability: Having multiple firearms can provide a sense of security for some, as they may feel more prepared in case of a malfunction or other unexpected situation.

  6. Social and cultural factors: In some communities, owning multiple guns is seen as a tradition or cultural norm. This may lead to individuals owning multiple firearms as a way of fitting in or expressing their identity.

  7. Legal and regulatory factors: Laws and regulations may impact the number and types of guns a person can own or purchase at a given time, which may influence the decision to own multiple firearms.

It is important to note that these reasons are not mutually exclusive, and a gun owner may have a combination of reasons for owning multiple firearms. Attitudes towards gun ownership can vary widely across the United States, with different cultural, social, and political factors influencing individual decisions.

What Google's Bard AI Thinks

There are many reasons why American gun owners own multiple guns. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Protection: Many gun owners believe that owning multiple guns gives them a better chance of defending themselves and their families in the event of a home invasion or other crime.
  • Variety: There are many different types of guns available, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Gun owners may own multiple guns in order to have a variety of options for different situations. For example, a gun owner might have a pistol for home defense, a rifle for hunting, and a shotgun for sport shooting.
  • Hobbies: Many gun owners enjoy shooting sports, such as target shooting, hunting, and skeet shooting. These activities can be very enjoyable and rewarding, and they can also be a great way to bond with friends and family.
  • Collecting: Some gun owners collect guns as a hobby. They may enjoy the history of guns, the different designs, or the challenge of finding rare or unusual guns.
  • Investment: Some gun owners believe that guns can be a good investment. The value of guns can fluctuate over time, but some guns can appreciate in value significantly.

It is important to note that not all gun owners own multiple guns. Some gun owners only own one gun, and some gun owners do not own any guns at all. The reasons why people own guns vary widely, and there is no single answer that explains why most American gun owners own so many guns.