How Many Guns Are In The US? 39 Interesting Firearms Sales Statistics

How Many Guns Are In The US - How Many Guns Are In America - Number Of Guns In The US - Firearms Sales Statistics - Amount Of Guns In The US

How many guns are in the US? 

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • how many guns are in America
  • firearm sales statistics
  • annual firearms sold and who makes the most firearms
  • the number of guns imported and exported in America
  • what state has the most guns
  • the number of guns purchased per year
  • number of guns in the US
  • gun ownership by state
  • a breakdown of types of guns owned in America

Let’s dig in. 

Table of Contents

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How Many Guns Are In The US?

Based on the available data, here are some key firearm statistics:

  • As of last year, there are approximately 466 million guns in the US.
  • There are 1.40 guns for every person in the US. 
  • The majority of guns in the US are in civilian hands (over 98%)​​.
  • More than 81.4 million Americans own guns​.
  • Civilian firearm stockpiles are 112 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 101 million shotguns.
  • 46% of American households own at least one firearm.
  • 32% of Americans personally own a firearm. 
  • The average gun-owning American has 5 firearms.
  • Nearly 22% of gun owners only have a single firearm​​.
  • Last year, over 6.83 million firearms were imported into the US. 
  • 458,671 firearms were exported from the United States last year​.
  • There were approximately 18.8 million firearms purchased last year.
  • In 2020, there were ~21.5 million firearm sales​.
  • During the pandemic (March 2020 – March 2022), nearly 1 in 5 American households purchased a firearm
  • 5% of U.S. adults purchased their first-ever firearm during the pandemic
  • Pistols are the most commonly owned firearm among gun owners, followed by rifles and shotguns​.
  • 39% of men own a firearm.
  • 22% of women own a firearm
  • Of all gun owners, 42.2% are women and 57.8% are men​.

Read More: How Many Guns Does The Average American Own?

Firearms Sales Statistics

As of last year, the number of firearms in America is approximately 466 million​. 

The rate of gun ownership varies:

  • 46% of American households own at least one firearm.
  • 32% of Americans say they personally own a firearm.
  • This means that more than 81.4 million Americans own guns, only counting adults over 18​​.

Regarding the distribution of types of firearms owned:

  • Pistols are the most commonly owned firearm among gun owners, followed by rifles and then shotguns.
  • Handguns are owned by 82.7% of gun owners, rifles by 68.8%, and shotguns by 58.4%​.

Demographically:

  • 39% of men own a firearm, while 22% of women say the same.
  • Overall, 43% of American men and 38% of American women live in a household with a gun.
  • Of all gun owners, 42.2% are women and 57.8% are men.
  • Since 2019, nearly half of the first-time gun buyers are women, with 3.5 million American women becoming first-time firearm owners in that time​1​.

Race and ethnicity also play a role in gun ownership:

  • 36% of White, 24% of Hispanics, 18% of Black, and 10% of Asian Americans personally own a gun.
  • Regarding households with guns, the percentages are 47% for Whites, 37% for Hispanics, 26% for Blacks, and 20% for Asians​.

Read More: Gun Violence Statistics

Gun Violence Statistics

So far this year, at least 13,959 people have died from gun violence in the U.S.

This is an average of roughly 115 deaths from guns each day. 

More than half of all gun violence deaths this year were deaths by suicide

The majority of these deaths have occurred in:

  • Texas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana 

There have been 184 mass shootings so far this year.

This has resulted in 248 deaths and 744 injuries. 

There have also been at least 13 K-12 school shootings so far this year​​.

Read More: How Many Guns Per Person In America

The Volume Of Annual Firearm Production

As per data from ATF, the U.S. saw the production of over 22.2 million firearms last year. 

This figure indicates a two-fold increase from the early 2000s.

Back then, annual production stood at approximately 2.9 million firearms.

The volume of gun production annually encompasses various firearm types.

 For instance, handguns, favored for self-defense purposes, have seen substantial growth.

They now make up a large portion of the total firearm output. 

But, rifles and shotguns, common for hunting and sport shooting, consistently account for a significant percentage of the production.

Leading Contributors To U.S. Firearm Production

  • Total sales of the top three manufacturers: 4,235,027 (Smith & Wesson) + 3,491,449 (Sturm, Ruger & Company) + 2,610,713 (SIG Sauer) = 10,337,189 units.
  • Total sales of all manufacturers: 21,672,804 units.
  • The top 3 gun manufacturers make up 47.7% of all gun sales. 
  • Total sales of the top five manufacturers: 14,418,229 units.
  • The top 3 gun manufacturers make up 66.5% of all gun sales. 
  • The top 10 gun manufacturers make, on average, 2,167,280 guns per year. 
  • Smith & Wesson’s production is roughly 19 times (1,913%) larger than Beretta USA’s.
ManufacturerGuns ProducedPercentage Contribution
Smith & Wesson$4,235,02719.50%
Sturm, Ruger & Company$3,491,44916.10%
SIG Sauer$2,610,71312.00%
Remington Outdoor Company$2,194,56710.10%
Glock Inc.$1,889,3458.70%
Mossberg$1,286,4765.90%
FN America$764,1233.50%
Springfield Armory$522,3452.40%
Savage Arms$500,3452.30%
Beretta USA$217,1231.00%

Import & Export Gun Statistics

The import and export of firearms is a significant part of the global arms trade. 

In the United States, both import and export numbers show the country’s prominent role in this trade.

Number Of Guns Imported Into The US

Last year, over 6.83 million firearms were imported into the United States. 

The majority of those were handguns and shotguns. 

The top five countries exporting firearms to the U.S. were:

  • Turkey: 1,490,251 firearms
  • Austria: 1,284,785 firearms
  • Brazil: 1,016,630 firearms
  • Croatia: 521,932 firearms
  • Sweden: 431,787 firearms

Number Of Guns Exported From The US

On the other hand, the United States also exports a substantial number of firearms. 

Last year, approximately 458,671 firearms were exported from the United States.

This shows a decrease from the previous year when 529,138 firearms were exported.

How Many Guns Are In America?

What State Has The Most Guns

As of last year, Montana has the highest gun ownership rate, with 66.3% of adults owning a gun. 

Wyoming is a close second at 66.2%, and Alaska is third with a gun ownership rate of 64.5%​​.

Number Of Guns Purchased Per Year In The US

  • 64.3% percent of all firearms purchased were handguns, 21.8% percent were rifles, and 12.9% percent were shotguns.
  • The number of background checks for gun purchases hit a record of 30 million in 2020.
  • In the first quarter of last year, the FBI conducted nearly 12.4 million firearm background checks, a new record for that period.
  • In 2020, Americans spent over $20 billion on firearms and ammunition.

Historical Perspective Of Gun Ownership In The US

We need to look at history to truly understand US gun ownership today. 

This section dives into that history. 

We start with the Second Amendment. 

It had a big role in forming the nation’s gun culture. 

We then trace how gun ownership has changed over time in the US. 

We look at important time periods and events. 

We also consider advances in gun manufacturing technology. 

By studying these elements, we can see how the past has influenced today’s state of gun ownership in the US.

The Second Amendment And Its Influence On Gun Ownership

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. 

It states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 

This amendment shapes American gun culture.

And it instills a strong sense of individual rights to own firearms.

Over the years, court interpretations of the Second Amendment have varied. 

Some decisions upheld broad individual gun ownership rights. 

Others supported restrictions for public safety. 

Regardless, the Second Amendment significantly impacts national attitudes toward gun ownership.

Evolution Of Gun Ownership Over The Years

Over time, various events and periods have influenced American gun ownership.

The Civil War era saw increased firearm use. 

Post-war, surplus guns entered civilian markets.

In the 20th century, world wars led to advances in gun technology. 

Following each war, military firearms once again flooded the civilian market.

In the late 20th century, rising crime rates sparked public fear. 

Many people purchased guns for self-defense.

The dawn of the 21st century brought concerns about government tyranny and personal security. 

These fears fueled further increases in gun ownership.

Technological advancements also changed gun ownership. 

Early firearms were single-shot weapons, but the 19th century brought repeating firearms. 

In the 20th century, semi-automatic and automatic weapons became widespread. 

Today, advancements continue to shape the types and capabilities of firearms available to the public.

Current Gun Ownership Statistics

To understand gun ownership in the US, it’s crucial to examine the current state of gun ownership

This section offers an exploration of contemporary data and statistics surrounding the prevalence of guns in America. 

We’ll look at the total number of guns, breakdowns by state, and the types of guns commonly owned. 

Number Of Guns In The US

  • As of this year, there are approximately 466 million firearms in the United States.
  • The average gun-owning American owns about 5 firearms, with nearly 22% of gun owners owning just a single firearm.
  • Last year, about 45% of U.S. households had at least one gun, a figure that has remained relatively steady since 1972, fluctuating between 37% and 47%​.

Gun Ownership By State

  • Montana has the highest gun ownership rate at 66.3% of adults, followed by Wyoming at 66.2%, and Alaska at 64.5%.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Massachusetts and New Jersey have the lowest gun ownership rates at 14.7%, followed by Rhode Island at 14.8%, and Hawaii at 14.9%​.
  • The variation in gun ownership across states is influenced by factors such as media coverage of firearm control, political and cultural similarities between states, and the policies of the sitting president. Researchers are still studying how different policies impact gun ownership and violent outcomes​.

Types Of Guns Owned

  • Last year, the most manufactured type of firearm in the U.S. was the pistol, with 6,751,742 units produced.
  • The second most manufactured category was miscellaneous firearms (which include pistol grip firearms, starter guns, and firearm frames and receivers), with 1,282,281 units produced.
  • This was followed by rifles with 3,933,398 units, revolvers with 1,159,916 units, and shotguns with 675,450 units​.

Global Comparison Of Gun Ownership

The United States leads the world in gun ownership. 

It has more guns per capita than any other country. 

Roughly for every 100 people, there are 120 firearms. 

This is nearly double the second-highest country, Yemen.

There are several reasons why the U.S. stands out in gun ownership statistics

One key reason is the Second Amendment.

Which is a unique legal provision allowing for the right to bear arms.

Cultural factors also play a role. 

Many Americans grow up with guns as part of their lifestyle, for hunting, sport, or personal protection.

Lastly, the U.S. has a large and influential gun industry.

The US gun industry promotes gun ownership through lobbying and marketing efforts.

The Relation Between Gun Ownership And Crime Rates

The connection between gun ownership and crime rates is a complex and highly debated topic. 

Various studies have attempted to elucidate the correlation or causality between these two factors.

Overview Of Studies Linking Gun Ownership And Crime

  • The Harvard Injury Control Research Center conducted a series of studies suggesting that more guns in an area tend to lead to higher local homicide rates.
  • A study published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) found a positive correlation between gun ownership levels and firearm homicide rates at the state level in the US.
  • On the contrary, a study led by John Lott in his book “More Guns, Less Crime” suggests that increased gun ownership leads to a reduction in crime due to potential criminals fearing armed citizens.
  • However, the findings of Lott’s study have been challenged by multiple scholars who argue methodological flaws in his research.

Case Studies

  • Switzerland, a country with high gun ownership and low crime rates, is often cited as an example in this debate. However, Switzerland’s strict regulations and cultural differences must be factored in.
  • In the US, states like Vermont and New Hampshire have relatively high gun ownership rates but low crime rates. Conversely, states like Illinois and Maryland, with strict gun laws, experience higher gun-related crime rates.
  • But these comparisons are complicated. They may be affected by other factors like socioeconomic conditions, policing policies, and differences in reporting practices.

The Impact Of Gun Control Legislation On Gun Numbers

In any discourse on gun ownership, the influence of gun control legislation plays an integral role. 

These gun laws can significantly impact the number of guns within a jurisdiction. 

This section explores some of the major gun control laws and their effects on gun ownership rates

Overview Of Significant Gun Control Laws

  • The Gun Control Act of 1968 regulates interstate commerce in firearms. It aims to stop prohibited persons from buying guns.
  • The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 imposes a background check system. It aims to stop criminals from purchasing firearms.
  • The Federal Assault Weapons Ban, in effect from 1994 to 2004, aimed to reduce crime by prohibiting certain semi-automatic firearms.
  • These laws have had varying impacts on gun ownership rates. For instance, background checks have prevented millions of prohibited purchases.

Case Studies Of Gun Control Measures

  • In Australia, the National Firearms Agreement of 1996 led to a massive firearm buyback. This significantly reduced the number of guns.
  • In Chicago, despite having strict gun control laws, it has struggled with high gun violence rates. This is partly due to guns trafficked from states with lax laws.
  • Japan’s strict gun laws, including rigorous checks and a cultural stigma around gun ownership, result in one of the world’s lowest gun ownership rates.

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