These are turbulent times and many Americans have felt it is important to make sure there is a firearm in the home in case things turn ugly.

But how many Americans feel that way is up for debate.

Nationwide, the generally accepted percentage is about 30 percent of homes. In Utah, that number is much higher, with several polls putting that number at about 50 percent.

A new study suggests as many as 60 percent of American households have a firearm present. With Utah well above the national average, that would put the approximate percent of homes in Utah with a gun at around 74-75  -- or three out of every four homes.

The new study, put together by Rutgers University's New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, suggests there is a high number of "silent gun owners," who may be driven to be untruthful to pollsters because they are worried about the government or their neighbors finding out they own guns.

The NJGVRC study said there was a huge surge of gun purchases during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, where Americans had more time and money to spend on self protection -- and to worry about the future.

“The drive to purchase firearms during the 2020 purchasing surge seems to be prompted by a sense that times are stressful and the world is unsafe,” author Michael Anestis said. “It may be that, for some individuals, acquiring a firearm brings a feeling of control and safety, which would explain the drive to continually acquire more during stressful moments.”

According to the Deseret News, nearly two-thirds of Utahns who consider themselves conservative own a firearm, while less than a third of those who consider themselves liberal have a gun in the house, according to the survey. Among moderates, 43% keep a gun in the home and 57% do not.

The reasons for owning a gun in Utah are far and wide, but the top five reasons cited in a recent Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll were:

  1. Personal protection (31 percent)
  2. Hunting (21 percent)
  3. Target/sport shooting (15 percent)
  4. Constitutional right (9 percent)
  5. Collect guns/hobby (2 percent)

Truthfully, if you asked most Utah gun owners, they would probably say "All of the above."

Whether the number of gun owners in the Beehive State is 50 percent or closer to 75 percent, the real statement is that hundreds of thousands of people in Utah own guns and many of those say they'd rather die then give them up to anyone, especially the government.

With the potential of a gun in three out of every four homes in Utah, home invasion robbers would have to be crazy to walk in uninvited.

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