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1. There are at least 300 million privately owned guns in circulation throughout the United States. (Baum, 2013)

2. This fact was partially responsible for the S. ranking 24th on a USAID report of the most stable nations. (Time, 4-7-08, p. 19)

3. Approximately 4.5 million new firearms are sold each year in the S., including 2 million handguns. (Hahn et al., 2003)

4. All told as many as 9.5 million guns change hands each year. (ibid)

5. 0ne survey found that 24.6 percent of S. adults owned a firearm (41.8% of men and 9.0% of women. (Cook & Ludwig, 1996)

6. Another found that 41% of adult respondents reported having a firearm in their home in 1994, 35% did so in 1998. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001)

7. Thirty-five % of homes with children under 18 had at least one firearm. (Schuster et al., 2000)

8. Among handgun owners, 34% keep their guns loaded and unlocked. An estimated 10 million handguns, one-sixth of the handguns owned, were regularly carried around by their owners; approximately half toted them around in their cars and the other half on their person. (ibid)

9. An estimated half-a-million guns a year go missing in the United States and end up in criminal hands. (Baum, 2013)

10. Gun ownership varies quite a bit by region. In a survey conducted by Vanity Fair, when asked whether they or anyone in their household owned a gun of any kind, 42% of respondents said yes, 55% no. But numbers varied by region and affiliation:

  • Northeast: 32% yes, 65% no
  • Midwest: 45% yes, 54% no
  • South: 53% yes, 43% no
  • West: 33% yes, 65% no
  • Republicans: 55% yes, 40% no
  • Democrats: 29% yes, 70% no (Vanity Fair, Jan. 2011, p. 23)


11. The number of guns seized at airport checkpoints has been steadily rising. There were 2,653 guns seized in 2015, an average of 7 per day, 82.8% of which were loaded. This was a rise of 20% over 2014. Officials have seen a steady rise since 2005, when 660 guns were seized. The most common excuse is to say that they didn’t realize or didn’t know the gun was in the bag. (Yu, 2010)


Statistics on who owns guns

  1. 49% of S. households owned a gun in January 2013. (Scherer, 2013)
  2. According to a Gallup poll, 61% of white males in the South own guns, compared to 18% of Latinos nationwide. (Dickinson, 2013)
  3. Gun ownership has declined among younger generations: Less than 20% of Americans born after 1980 report having a gun in the home. (ibid)
  4. Gun ownership among women is one-third what it is among men, a fact the gun industry is feverishly trying to change. (ibid)
  5. Worldwide, around three-quarters (74%) of guns are owned by civilians. Another 23% belong to the armed forces and 3% to law enforcement. (Pearlstein, 2016)
  6. Countries with the most publicly-owned firearms: 1) S., 2) India, 3) China, 4) Germany, 5) France, 6) Pakistan, 7) Mexico, 8) Brazil, 9) Russia, 10) Yemen. (ibid)
  1. While overall gun ownership is on the decline, the number of gun in America is actually increasing, since those who do own guns are buying more weapons. (Wenner-Moyer, 2017)


Statistics on where people get their guns

A study by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found that people acquire their guns in the following ways:

  1. Store: 49%
  2. Pawnshop: 4%
  3. Family/friend: 10%
  4. Gun show: 4%
  5. Online: 1%
  6. Other purchase: 2%
  7. Inherited: 14%
  8. Gift: 13%
  9. Trade: 1%
  10. Other nonpurchase: 2%


Only the top two methods have consistent regulation regarding the transaction; everything else has regulation that is either spotty or non-existent. Overall, it’s estimated that around 40% of all firearm transfers aren’t subject to background checks – the so-called “gun loophole.” (Pearlstein, 2016)

Statistics on why people own guns

  1. A survey conducted by Marie Claire found the following responses when it asked readers “What are the main reasons you own a handgun?”: 77% responded protection against strangers; 24% said sport or hunting; 18% for protection against animals; 15% hunting; 11% were collectors. (Pels, 2016)
  2. A Time Magazine/CNN Poll found that 41% of respondents said they owned a gun primarily for sport, 32% said for protection, 8% other purposes. (Scherer, 2013)
  1. A 2017 survey found 88% of gun owners say they bought a gun for self-defense, with many reporting that they felt they were bound to become the victim of a violent crime at some point if they didn’t have one. (Wenner-Moyer, 2017)


Statistics on the number of guns manufactured or sold

  1. In 1968 there was one civilian gun for every 2 Americans. By 2009, there were more guns in the S. than people: 310 million, consisting of around 114 million handguns, 100 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns. (Scherer, 2013) The industry has been adding around 10 to 16 million guns to this number each year.
  1. There were more than 2.2 million background checks in November 2015 alone. It was the 5th straight month of rises. Conservatively assuming one gun per check, that’s a tremendous amount of guns flying off the shelf each month.
  1. In 2013, S. gun companies manufactured nearly 11 million new guns. About 4% (or 440,000) of these guns were exported, while another 5.5 million weapons were imported. (Pearlstein, 2016)


Statistics on the types of guns sold

  1. In recent years there’s been a rapid shift away from hunting guns and towards handguns and military style rifles. As recently as 2008, rifles, shotguns, and traditional hunting rifles made up half of all new civilian gun sales in the U.S. By 2012 they had dropped to less than a quarter of the market, with handguns and assault rifles making up the rest. (Dickinson, 2013B)
  2. Handgun sales have jumped 70% since 2008, bringing in an estimated $1.5 billion in sales in 2012. (Dickinson, 2013B)
  3. Revenue from assault rifles also doubled in 5 years, to $489 million in sales. (ibid)
  4. The variety of weapons has also increased, with the number of new firearms available in the U.S. more than tripling in the past 15 years. (Pearlstein, 2016)


22%  of gun owners say they obtained their most recent firearms without a background check. (Jordan, 4-16-2018)

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