Fourteen years ago, a survey of gun owners found that most respondents cited hunting as their main reason for owning a weapon. This year, the Pew Research Center finds, the vast majority of owners say they own a gun because it makes them feel safer.
The 1999 survey said 49 percent of gun owners cited hunting as their primary reason for owning a gun, followed by protection, 26 percent. Sport shooting, collections and other categories made up for the rest.
In Pew's February 2013 survey of 1,504 adults, hunting and protection as reasons have changed places. Protection was cited by 48 percent of the respondents; hunting, 32 percent.
The latest survey also asked why non-gun owners don't want to have one in their homes; opinions on stricter gun control laws; the effectiveness of stricter gun control laws; whether states should be able to ignore federal gun laws; if stricter laws would reduce the number of mass shootings; and more. It looks as partisan differences as well.
Lots of good information. You can read all of the results here.