61 Percent of Gun Owners Received Formal Training

   07.18.17

61 Percent of Gun Owners Received Formal Training

Good news everyone, the number of gun owners who received formal training is up from the 1990s.

A study preformed by researchers at the University of Washington, University of Colorado and Harvard, show that the number of gun owners who received formal training is somewhere around 61%.

That 61% is up from a study in 1994 that estimated 56-58% of gun owners had received formal training.

After looking through the study, there are several questions that should be asked. Such as, did the study include hunter education classes as formal education?

If we look at my home state of Texas, we see hunting related shooting incidents drastically reduced after hunter education classes were required.

  • 1966, there were 28 hunting related fatalities with 644,653 hunting licenses sold.
  • 1988, hunter education classes were required for everyone born after September 2, 1971.
  • 2015, there were 2 hunting related fatalities with 1,180,638 hunting licenses sold.

Between 1991 and 1992, the number of hunting related fatalities went from 13 in 1991, to 6 in 1992.

Source – Texas hunting related incident data from 1966 to 2015.

What is also interesting, is the number of people who became hunter education certified from 1994-2015.  Let’s use 1994 as a baseline because that is the year the researches used.

In Texas:

  • 1994: 34,972 people became certified through the hunter education classes.
  • 2015: 66,284 people became certified through the hunter education classes.

Why Include Hunter Education

All the numbers from shooting related deaths are grouped together. Whether it is suicide, drug related or a hunting incident, all gun deaths are added and counted together.

People are receiving various types of firearms training through different sources. So, if all gun deaths are grouped together and counted, shouldn’t all firearm safety courses also be counted?

I would like to know “exactly” what the researchers considered “firearms training.” So, I used the contact email address for the study and sent an email requesting more information.

The information requested:

What questions were asked in the study?

Were hunter education classes considered firearms training?

If I get a reply from the contact email I will update this article.

Edit

I received a very nice reply from the contact listed for the study.

Per the email I received, the survey question was:

‘Have you ever had any formal firearm training?’

Those who answered affirmatively were then asked if they received information on:

  • Safe handling of firearms.
  • Safe storage of firearms.
  • Preventing firearm accidents.
  • Preventing firearm theft.
  • Suicide prevention.

Almost 70% of the people who owned firearms for hunting said they received some kind of firearm training.

About 50% of the people who owned firearms for protection said they had received training.

I am going to guess the numbers were averaged together for the 61% cited in the article.

Perhaps the next question should be, “Should everyone receive some kind of firearms safety training?”  The easiest way to do that would to teach gun safety to the K-12 school level.

Kids learn about microbes, bacteria, and viruses. So, why not teach them gun safety?

We know that hunter education programs are effective in reducing gun deaths. How do we bring that same level of gun safety training to the everyday gun owner?

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