Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Those hell-raising Finnish-Americans own the most guns: The Virginia Tech. massacre got me thinking about the connection between ethnicity and being into guns. The General Social Survey asked 13,000 Americans about whether they keep a gun in the house. Here are the percent who said "yes" by ethnic group:


Percent with gun in house:

Finns 53.0
Dutch 50.9
American Indians 50.7
Scots 50.6
English/Welsh 50.2
French 49.9
Danes 49.7
Germans 49.2
Swiss 48.4
Norwegians 47.9
Belgians 47.4
Swedes 46.5
Czechs 45.3
Irish 45.2

USA 40.9

French Canadians 39.7
Hungarians 39.3
Austrians 39.0
Yugoslavs 38.1
Poles 32.8
Italians 30.5
Blacks 28.9
Portuguese 28.4
Mexicans 24.5
Japanese 23.8
Lithuanians 24.4
Greeks 23.8
Arabs 21.3
Russians 19.9
Filipinos 14.0
Jews 13.3
Indians 11.7
Chinese 10.0
Puerto Ricans 9.1
West Indians 7.0

It looks like northern and western Europeans have the highest rates, while eastern Europeans and various non-white groups are toward the bottom. This reflects the orientation toward hunting and target shooting. Notice how Amerindians are an exception among non-whites: their rural status and hunting heritage probably explain the pattern. You might expect urban folks to have high possession rates for self-defense purposes, but just the opposite is true. Looks at Jews, for example. I'm sure urban rates of pistol ownership (as opposed to rifles and shotguns) are higher.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Finns have traditionally been heavily armed and experienced with weapons. It was basically Finnish reservists who stopped the Red Army Cold during the Winter War (they were later overwhelmed by sheer numbers, but the USSR wisely didn't push the issue too far). One of the best (perhaps the best) sniper in the world was a Finn named Simo Hayha. It is thought he killed almost 1,000 Soviet soldier using a bolt action rifle and a sub machine gun.
As for the US our best shooters in the military were more often than not Scotch Irish from the rural south, midwest or west. You have a tendency to get real good with a rifle when you have 1 bullet and no dinner if you come home with an empty game bag. What explains low rates in the city? I think it is political persuasion.

Anonymous said...

Also in urban areas in the U.S., there are usually a lot more legal hurdles to overcome in order to get a gun. A lot of Jewish Americans live in New York City and New Jersey -- two places where firearms are more strictly controlled compared to more rural states.

Anonymous said...

Getting a "permit" here in NJ is a pain. You need one for per handgun, but only on to buy as many long guns as you want. But the process sucks, costs money and is redundant, etc...You basicaly have to prove you are not a criminal. Then again if you watch enough TV and films, it seems every guido mafiosi here has more guns than they know what to do with.
However, for a highly regulated and liberal state, I can say from experience that quite a few people have firearms in the house in NJ, more people than I would expect.

Anonymous said...

Getting a "permit" here in NJ is a pain. You need one for per handgun, but only on to buy as many long guns as you want. But the process sucks, costs money and is redundant, etc...You basicaly have to prove you are not a criminal. Then again if you watch enough TV and films, it seems every guido mafiosi here has more guns than they know what to do with.
However, for a highly regulated and liberal state, I can say from experience that quite a few people have firearms in the house in NJ, more people than I would expect. More anecdotal than actually scientific, of course.

Anonymous said...

Another thing that may skew the figures: I would guess that in places like New York and New Jersey, people are more likely to lie to pollsters and say that they don't own any guns.

SFG said...

It's next to impossible to get a gun in a big city. Not that there aren't ideological barriers involving Jews and guns, mostly involving leftism.

I still think we'd all been better off if Hitler had stuck to persecuting Gypsies.