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Stark Gender Gap in Gun Ownership, Views of Gun Laws in U.S.

Stark Gender Gap in Gun Ownership, Views of Gun Laws in U.S.

Story Highlights

  • U.S. men roughly twice as likely as U.S. women to own a gun, 43% vs. 22%
  • 62% of women, 51% of men feel gun laws should be made stricter
  • Gender gap in gun-law preferences persists despite gun ownership status

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Men and women in the U.S. differ starkly in their propensity to own a gun and their preferences for the nation’s gun laws. Gallup’s trends show that gun ownership among men has consistently been at least double that of women, and women are much more supportive than men of stricter gun laws.

Men Remain Much More Likely Than Women to Own a Gun

Since 2007, when Gallup began to track Americans’ personal gun ownership annually, men have been much more likely than women to say they are gun owners, but aggregated biennial data show gun ownership has been more variable among women than men. Gun ownership among women has swelled from the low teens to more than 20% over the past 15 years, while it has remained in the low to mid-40s among men during the same period.

The most recent findings, from 2021-2022, show a 21-percentage-point gender gap in gun ownership, with about twice as many men (43%) as women (22%) saying they personally own a gun.


The latest data also find that 6% of men and 20% of women say another member of their household owns a gun, while 48% of men and 56% of women report there being no guns in their household.

Women More Supportive of Stricter Gun Laws Regardless of Ownership Status

Gallup’s annual October Crime surveys have tracked Americans’ preferences for laws covering the sale of firearms since 2001. Over that period, majorities of women have said they prefer that gun laws be made stricter in all readings except one (50% in 2011). At the same time, no more than 51% of men have favored stricter laws, aside from a 56% reading in 2019. In the latest readings, from an Oct. 3-20, 2022, poll, 62% of women and 51% of men think gun laws should be made stricter.


On balance, gun owners -- both men and women -- favor keeping gun laws as they are now, rather than making them stricter or less strict. However, women who own guns are more likely than male gun owners to support stricter gun laws, 40% versus 32%, according to aggregated data from 2018 to 2022 that allow for the analysis of smaller subgroups.

There is a similar gap (10 points) in support for stricter gun laws between men and women who live in households without a gun, although solid majorities of each group prefer stricter laws.

The gender gap among those who do not personally own a gun but say there is one in their household is larger, as a 58% majority of female nonowners in gun households and 40% of their male counterparts favor stricter laws.


Bottom Line

Men in the U.S. are about twice as likely as women to personally own a gun, and women are significantly more supportive of stricter gun laws than men are, regardless of their own or their household’s gun ownership status.

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