Midwestern Attitude on Guns

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Gun ownership is commonplace in the Midwest, and those gun owners say they feel like they could protect themselves if needed.

Midwesterners were found to be the most likely to believe that they could protect themselves when in danger, according to a study conducted by Avvo, and that seems to be the case here in North Dakota.

From hunting to target shooting, guns are common in most Midwest homes.

"There's many people in the area that choose to own handguns or have a gun in their home, so I think that percentage is pretty high in our area. We've have very few incidents where a home owner has had to protect their homes with a gun," Minot Police Chief Jason Olson said.

And with some of the most lax gun laws in the country, getting a firearm is not difficult.

"North Dakota doesn't require any permitting or you don't have to be registered to own a weapon. If you're going to be in public or off your property carrying concealed you'll want to apply for a concealed weapons permit," Olson said.

Midwesterners are seeing a shift in their attitude toward gun use, from being needed for recreational use to being needed for personal protection.

Twenty-nine percent of Midwesterners own a firearm, but only 15 percent of Midwesterners said if more people owned guns we'd all be safer. Of the gun owners, almost 35 percent said they believe they could protect themselves with a gun if in danger, and 30 percent said they bought it to protect their family. It's an attitude that dates back to colonial days.

"This country was built originally by people that had a real necessity to have firearms, predation, a harsh environment, putting food on the table and securing and protecting ones family or home," Benedict resident Craig Aberle said.

In a world of growing violence that protective factor is at the forefront of many people's minds.

"The reality is that there's a real sense of anxiety and it's growing and it does cross a person's mind. Someone breaks into your home you want to be able to cancel that threat," Aberle said.

But of those polled, 75 percent said they respect the police forces, and feel safe. And that may have something to with the good old fashioned Midwest way.

"When you live in a state that has good common sense and it's governed by good solid people I think that take a lot of the anxiety away," Aberle said.

Aberle also says whether recreational or for protection the number one concern should always be safety.

If you own a gun or are looking to get a firearm, gun safety courses are available to help keep you and your family safe.