Young Gun Owners More Interested in Self-Defense

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “Young Gun Owners More Interested in Self-Defense”

Younger gun owners report carrying their firearms on them much more frequently than older gun owners, expressing a higher level of support for concealed carry, according to a poll conducted in July by Ipsos in partnership with Newsy for its new special report "Young Guns."

According to AudienceSCAN, 33.5% of U.S. adults who plan to buy a firearm in the coming year are between the ages of 17 and 34. It's commonly known that this age group is technologically-​minded. When considering a new purchase, 63.9% of Firearm Shoppers have used a search engine to do their research on the product first. They're probably using Google (90.6% of this audience uses this search engine the most often).

While younger Americans in the survey were just as likely to own guns (28%) as older generations (27%), they were almost twice as likely to report carrying their guns on them, with 43% of younger gun owners (ages 18–34) polled saying they carry a gun at least once a month compared to 23% of older American gun owners (ages 35 and up).

No matter their age, Gun/​Firearm Shoppers are 42% more likely than other adults to live in a rural or small town, according to AudienceSCAN. Their future purchasing plans reflect where they live. Within the next year, these shoppers also plan to purchase power tools (27.1%) and boots or western wear (17.8%.) Gun retailers that sell these products can boost revenue by placing ads in both online and printed directories since this audience is 28% more likely than other adults to react to these ads.

While popular belief may view younger generations as less tolerant of guns, the Newsy/​Ipsos survey results show a far more nuanced view.

The findings are explored in "Young Guns," a Newsy special report that flips the narrative about younger Americans and guns by examining changes in the gun industry and its consumers, from an increasing interest in self-​defense to a growing online community of gun-​focused video channels.

The Newsy/​Ipsos poll also finds:

  • While both younger and older gun owners see the National Rifle Association (NRA) as an important protector of the Second Amendment, 49% of gun-​owning young Americans say the NRA is obstructing politicians from enacting meaningful gun control laws; just 38% of all gun owners agree.
  • Among all Americans (not just gun owners), younger Americans' support for stricter gun control laws overall is higher than support from older Americans (61% versus 53%). That same group of younger Americans' support for concealed carry in public spaces is about even with older Americans (43% versus 41%).

"This survey and our reporting shows this new generation of gun owners is carrying for self-​defense at much higher rates than previous generations," said Zach Toombs, executive producer for Newsy Documentaries and lead reporter on "Young Guns."

"Millennial gun owners have somewhat complex views when it comes to guns and gun control laws," said Mallory Newall, director, public affairs, for Ipsos. "They don't want to take away guns, but they know owning one is a responsibility, which is where their views on stricter gun laws come into play."

Digital is a great way to advertise to Gun/​Firearm Shoppers. According to AudienceSCAN, last year 54.8% of this group took action after hearing an advertisement on over-​the-​air or online radio. They're also 27% more likely than other adults to take action because of a text link on a website. Don't write off traditional methods though. Last year, 68.6% reacted to commercials they saw on television.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.