National Study of Private Ownership of Firearms in the United States, 1994 (ICPSR 06955)

Principal Investigator(s): The Police Foundation


This data collection consists of a survey of private ownership of firearms by adults in the United States. Respondents who both did and did not own firearms were included. The variables cover topics such as the number and type of guns owned privately, methods of, and reasons for, firearms acquisition, the storage and carrying of guns, the defensive use of firearms against criminal attackers, and reasons for and against firearm ownership. Basic demographic variables include sex, age, education, and employment.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


The Police Foundation. NATIONAL STUDY OF PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF FIREARMS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1994. ICPSR version. Radnor, PA: Chilton Research Services [producer], 1994. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-0017)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    firearms, gun ownership, handguns

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1994

Date of Collection:   

  • 1994-11--1994-12

Unit of Observation:    Individuals.

Universe:    Adults living in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.


Study Purpose:    To learn more about the role of firearms in crime, the National Institute of Justice sponsored, through a grant to the Police Foundation, a nationally representative survey on private ownership and use of firearms by American adults. The research covered topics such as: (1) the size, composition, and ownership of the nation's private gun inventory, (2) methods of, and reasons for, firearms acquisition, (3) the storage and carrying of guns, and (4) the defensive use of firearms against criminal attackers.

Study Design:    The Police Foundation contracted with Chilton Research Services to conduct the survey. Minimums were established for the number of completed interviews with racial minorities and gun-owning households. Such households were more likely to be included in the final sample. Weights were calculated to adjust for this design feature.

Sample:    National probability sample.

Data Source:

telephone interviews

Description of Variables:    The data contain variables on methods of firearms acquisition, use of firearms, number and types of firearms owned, storage and carrying of guns, and reasons for and against firearm ownership. Basic demographic variables include sex, age, education, and employment of the respondent.

Response Rates:    Approximately 50 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:    None.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1998-10-08

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