Houston Matters

Is Texas’ Gun-Loving Reputation Deserved or Overblown?

Ask anyone: what’s the most boisterously gun toting state in the nation? Odds are very good they’ll say Texas. But new research suggests that reputation may not be entirely deserved. A study published in June in the health journal Injury Prevention examined gun ownership rates from 2013 in each U.S. state. While the ownership rate […]

Ask anyone: what’s the most boisterously gun toting state in the nation? Odds are very good they’ll say Texas. But new research suggests that reputation may not be entirely deserved.

A study published in June in the health journal Injury Prevention examined gun ownership rates from 2013 in each U.S. state. While the ownership rate in Texas is above the national average, it’s not by very much, and the Lone Star State ranks far below most western, and many other southern states.

Consider these numbers, according to the study: 35.7 percent of Texans owned guns in 2013, compared to 57.9 percent in Arkansas, 54.2 percent in West Virginia and 61.7 percent in Alaska. In total, 15 U.S. states have a higher percentage of gun owners than Texas. (The national average is 29.1 percent).

What gives? Why is Texas equated with gun ownership on a level that other states aren’t? Are we actually not (quite) what we think we are? And how does gun culture in and around Houston compare to the rest of the Lone Star state?

We discuss where Texas’ gun-loving reputation comes from with: Jim Pruett, former owner of Jim Pruett’s Guns & Ammo; and Evan Mintz, an attorney and member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board.

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