After dramatic events involving guns, hits on my posts about gun ownership always spike. Therefore I am creating this landing page for those who want quick (though not simple) statistics on gun ownership in the United States.
Question: How many guns are there in the United States?
- We don’t know with any certainty (for reasons I have discussed here and here).
- AT LEAST 300 million, and possibly as many as 400-700 million.
Data sources: Conservative estimate is an extrapolation from Appendix 1 of “The Stock and Flow of US Firearms: Results from the 2015 National Firearms Survey,” a yet-to-be-published manuscript by Azrael, Hepburn, Hemenway, and Miller; high estimate is from the WeaponsMan Blog. Both can be found on my earlier post here.
Question: How many gun owners are there in the United States?
Note: This can be looked at two ways – personal gun ownership and household gun ownership (there is a gun in my household that may belong to me or another person living there).
- We don’t know with any certainty (for reasons I have discussed at length in earlier posts like this one and others linked below).
- AT LEAST 40% of American households probably have guns
- The personal gun ownership rate is about 70% of the household rate, so at least 27% of Americans probably personally own guns.
Data sources: Baylor Religion Survey, Wave 4 (pre-public release data), and other data sets discussed in my earlier post here. 70% ratio is based on General Social Survey data which asks both personal and household gun ownership questions.
Collected posts on gun ownership (most recent first):
- 2016 General Social Survey Data on Gun Ownership
- Religion and Guns Research Digested in Academic Minute
- Clinging to their Guns and Religion?
- Last Word on Gun Ownership Statistics (For Now)
- Still More on Gun Ownership Statistics – Examining Illinois FOID Card Applications
- More on Gun Ownership Statistics
- On Legal and Illegal Gun Ownership in America
- Exploring the Connection Between Religion and Gun Ownership in the 1970s