Sixty percent of respondents mentioned personal safety in response to the open-ended question, Gallup reported, a statistic that has not changed significantly since 2000 or 2005.
Purchasing a gun for protection is therefore not a new phenomenon caused by the recent mass shootings, Gallup reported.
Hunting came in second, with 36 percent of respondents mentioning it.
Only 5 percent of respondents mentioned Second Amendment rights, Gallup reported.
The survey was conducted Oct. 3-6. Phone interviews of 309 gun owners were completed and the sampling error was 7 percentage points.