"Protection" Cited As No. 1 Reason For Gun Buys, As 911 Delays Increase

posted on October 15, 2023
Image courtesy of Guy J. Sagi.

Twenty-six percent of participants in a 1999 Pew Research survey who owned a gun said protection was the primary reason they exercised their Second Amendment rights. By 2013, the figure jumped to 48 percent. Results in 2017 indicated it climbed yet again, up to two-thirds, and this year’s results, released in late August, are higher—72 percent.

It’s a tidal change in attitude that began with the Y2K bug and apparently continues after the widespread violence and social unrest that plagued the COVID 19 pandemic. The dramatic increase in the time it takes first responders to arrive, regardless of where you live or affluence of the community, is one of the diving factors. Seconds count when an attacker is at the door, in your face or on a loved one.

Volume of 911 calls is a driving factor, but there’s another. Law-enforcement officers are leaving the job in record numbers and young adults, who might otherwise enroll in an academy and soon work a beat, succumb to the fashionably inaccurate perception of the profession. As a result, applicants across the nation continue to decline, and those who pass the stringent requirements don’t fill vacancies fast enough.

In April ABC News warned, “Police departments across the country are facing a ‘vicious cycle’ of retirements, resignations and fewer hires, according to policing experts, leaving the communities they protect with understaffed departments and potentially underqualified officers.”

One study found 911 response time in New Orleans nearly tripled from 2019 to 2022. The same report found New York’s figures jumped from 18 minutes to 33 minutes. For comparison, Big Apple law enforcement response time in 1999 was 10.3 minutes, according to the New York Times.

In Nashville, Tenn., Metro Police averaged 73 minutes to respond in 2022. Urgent calls are life-threatening and tracked separately when they come into emergency dispatch. According to a February report from WSMV4 TV—an NBC affiliate in Nashville, Tenn.—“…response time for emergency calls increased from 10.7 minutes to 15 minutes, in the last three years.” Four minutes, 18 seconds seems like the blink of an eye when at work, it’s eternity when a family member is attacked.

The nation’s capital isn’t immune either. WTOP News there found residents experienced an additional 90-second delay in response to Priority 1 [the most urgent] calls to 911 just in the 12 months of 2021.

The numbers make it obvious. More law-abiding citizens than before understand owning a firearm and training are the best way to survive, especially when seconds count, and police are minutes away.


Norinco 84S right-side view rifle semi-automatic gun wood stock white background
Norinco 84S right-side view rifle semi-automatic gun wood stock white background

I Have This Old Gun: Norinco 84S

The Norinco 84S presents the same general appearance as the Chinese-made 56S because it has the same overall length, is built around a stamped sheet-steel receiver and uses the same hooded front sight base, the same 45-degree gas block, the same fire-control components, the same wood furniture and the same high-polish blued finish.

Rifleman Q&A: Boattail Bullets And Barrel Erosion

In the recent spate of “long-range” boattail bullets presented to the market, I’ve observed the boattail’s degree of departure from the bullet’s cylindrical axis varies substantially from one design to another.

Quick Hits On 10 6.5 mm Cartridges

With so many 6.5 mm cartridges from which to choose, deciding on the one that’s right for you can be a challenge—so here’s a quick guide to help sort them out.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 19, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

FBI Reportedly Harvesting Publicly Available "Weapon" Info

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is initiating Project Tyr, an effort to employ Amazon’s artificial intelligence-driven Rekognition cloud service to identify firearms—among other things—and the people associated with them.

Preview: Browning Backcountry Rifle Cover

Weighing in at a mere 5.29 ozs., the Backcountry Rifle Cover from Browning is a versatile must-have for any hunter hoping to protect a long gun from the elements.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.