Term of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Laura Agnich

Committee Member 1

Bryan Lee Miller

Committee Member 2

Chad Posick

Committee Member 3

Adam Bossler

Committee Member 3 Email



This study was aimed to depict patterns of gun ownership in the United States and to outline the reasons for gun ownership and the influential variables associated with people’s reasons for owning handguns and long guns. This study used data derived from the 2004 National Firearm Survey to examine how respondents’ geographic region of residency, gender, race, age, rural location and education level influenced the likelihood of, and reasons for owning a firearm. The findings from this study suggest that being a male, living in the south and participants’ age was significant in determining the likelihood of participants owning a hand gun or long gun for self defense, or hunting, sports or target shooting. Race and living in a rural area was significant in determining the likelihood of owning a gun, however it was insignificant in suggesting reasons for owning a handgun or long gun.