GQ: ‘Owning 17 Guns Isn’t that Extreme’

Super Gun Owner Andrew Stanfill for the Guardian

On October 28, GQ magazine published an article in which readers were encouraged to view guns as “tools” and understand that “Owning 17 guns isn’t that extreme.”

The GQ article referenced a Harvard/Northeastern study which claims that 3% of Americans own “an average of 17 guns each.” The Guardian reported the study too, describing people with 17 or more guns as “gun super-owners” who are often viewed as extreme. But GQ reports that “owning 17 guns isn’t that extreme” and they stress that the key to understanding multiple gun ownership is to “think of guns as tools.” When you think of guns in this way, it changes everything.

GQ explains:

[You have] a few different rifles for hunting different kinds of game, plus a shotgun, a handgun or two for self-protection, and some antique guns inherited from your grandfather. It adds up fast.

As one gun rights activist put it, “Why do you need more than one pair of shoes? The truth is, you don’t, but do you want more than one pair of shoes? If you’re going hiking, you don’t want to use that one pair of high heels.”

The GQ article also contains a pertinent observation of the fact that firearm-related murders plummeted as private gun ownership began surging in America in the 1990s.

GQ reports:

After the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, pollsters asked if Americans thought gun crime was increasing or decreasing. 56% said gun crime had gone up over the past two decades. Only 12% knew the truth: gun murders had dropped by nearly 50% since the early 1990s. Over the same time period, Americans bought an estimated 70 million more guns.

It should be noted that Americans bought far more than” 70 million guns” between the early 1990s and 2012. A 2012 Congressional Research Service report shows that private gun ownership jumped from 192 million firearms in 1994 to 310 million firearms in 2009; that is an increase of roughly 118 million firearms during that 15-year period alone. And “firearm-related murder and non-negligent homicide” fell sharply.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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