The Hive Law

How Many Guns Does The Average American Own? (137 Startling Gun Ownership Statistics)

How Many Guns Does The Average American Own - How Many Gun Owners Are In America - What Percent Of Americans Own Guns - Gun Ownership In America

How many guns does the average American own?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • how many gun owners there are in America
  • how many guns there are in America
  • states with the most and least amount of guns
  • how many guns are registered vs unregistered (it’s a lot)
  • gun ownership demographics

Let’s dig into these gun ownership statistics.

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Key Gun Ownership Statistics In America

  • There are 393.3 million guns in America.
  • There are 7.4 million registered guns in America.
  • Only 1.89% of the guns in America are registered.
  • There are 5,292% more unregistered guns than registered guns in America.
  • 40.5 million guns were bought during the pandemic.
  • 22% of the 40.5 million were bought without a background check.
  • The average American owns 1.17 unregistered guns and 0.02 registered guns.
  • Gun sales have grown at an average of 3.7% per year over the past 20 years.
  • 30% of Americans own a gun.
  • 36% of people in the south own a gun.
  • 74% of people believe second amendment gun rights are essential to their freedoms.
  • 66% (about two-thirds) of gun owners own more than one gun.
  • 67% of people own guns for protection.
  • 38% of gun owners keep a loaded gun nearby.
  • 1/3 of civilian guns in the world are owned by Americans.
  • 81.4 million Americans own a gun.
  • 44% of American households have a gun.
  • 48% of white males own a gun.
  • There are 7.4 million registered guns in America.
  • There are 385.9 million unregistered guns in America.
  • There are 1.21 guns per person in the US.
  • 37% of people owned a gun before they were 18 years old.
  • Men buy their first gun at 19 years old, on average.
  • Women buy their first gun at 27 years old, on average.
  • 48% of people grew up with guns in their households.
  • There are 390 million guns in circulation in the US.
  • Wyoming has the most guns per capita at 12.9 guns per capita.
  • Rhode Island has the least guns per capita at 0.23 guns per capita.
  • There were 45,222 gun-related deaths last year.
  • 44% of people know someone who has been shot.
  • 53 people die by a gun per day
  • 19,384 homicides were gun-related last year.
  • 73% of homicides involve a gun in America.
  • There were 692 mass shootings last year. 280 led to firearm deaths.
  • Joe Biden had 5,000 more fatal shootings in his first year than Trump.
  • 7 states have assault weapon bans in America.

Table of Contents

How Many Guns Does The Average American Own?

The average American owns the following amount of guns:

# of Guns Owned% of People
132%
2 - 437%
5+29%
How Many Guns Does The Average American Own - How Many Guns Does The Average Gun Owner Have

What Percent Of Americans Own Guns?

  • 32% of Americans own guns.
  • 44% of Americans live in a gun-owning household.

Gun Ownership By Age Group

  • The 65+ age group owns the largest percentage of guns.
  • 18 – 29-year-olds own the smallest number of guns.
  • 31.3% of Americans own a gun, regardless of age group.

Let’s look at how many guns the average American owns by age:

Age GroupGun OwnerLives In Gun Household
18 - 2922%38%
30 - 4935%45%
50 - 6432%45%
65+36%48%
Gun Ownership By Age Group

Gun Ownership By Income Group

Higher-income groups are more likely to own guns than lower-income groups. 

Income GroupGun OwnerLives In Gun Household
$100,000+38%55%
$40,000 to $100,00034%51%
<$40,00025%31%
Gun Ownership By Income Group - How Many Guns Does The Average American Own By Income

Gun Ownership By Level Of Education

Level Of EducationGun OwnerLives In Gun Household
Postgraduate26%36%
College graduate only35%50%
Some college34%48%
No college31%41%
Gun Ownership By Level Of Education - How Many Guns Does The Average American Own By Education

How Many Guns Are In America?

There are 393.3 million guns in America.

The number of guns in America grows at a rate of 3.7% per year.

Some of the gun ownership statistics this section covers are:

  • how many gun owners are in America
  • number of guns purchased per year
  • how many guns are in circulation and what types
  • how many guns are in the world
  • gun ownership by gun types

How Many Gun Owners Are In America?

There are 99.6 million registered gun owners in America.

Roughly 30% of Americans own a gun.

Number of Guns Purchased Per Year

  • 18.7 million guns were purchased last year.
  • An average of 15.7 million guns have been purchased per year for the past 10 years.
  • An average of 12.3 million guns have been purchased per year for the past 20 years.
  • Since 2020, the average number of guns purchased per year is 20.3 million guns.

This data gets pulled from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

The gun ownership rate has increased significantly over the past 5-10 years.

Gun sales have grown at an average of 5.4% over the past 20 years.

40.5 million guns were purchased during the pandemic.

Number of Guns Purchased Per Year - How Many Guns Were Sold In 2020 - Gun Purchases
YearNumber Of Guns Purchased (Millions)
20007.5
20017.8
20027.4
20037.4
20047.7
20058.0
20068.4
20078.8
20089.6
200910.2
201010.0
201111.5
201214.5
201315.5
201413.7
201514.8
201616.2
201714.5
201813.5
201913.5
202021.6
202118.9
202214.6

How Many Guns Were Sold In 2020?

21.6 million guns were sold in 2020 in America.

How Many Guns Are In Circulation In The US

There are 393.3 million guns in circulation in the US.

The number of guns in circulation based on firearm type is:

  • 144.6 million handguns
  • 139.6 million rifles
  • 109.1 million shotguns

Gun Ownership by Firearm Type

The most common firearms are handguns.

Most common types of guns:

Firearm Type% Of People That Own This Gun Type
Handguns72%
Rifles62%
Shotguns54%
Gun Ownership by Firearm Type - Gun Owners Of America - American Gun Owners

Number Of Guns In America Over Time

We can calculate the number of guns in America over time.

We know how many guns are in America today.

And we know how many guns were sold each year (393.3 million).

Number Of Guns In America Over Time - Gun Statistics - How Many Guns Are In America
YearNumber Of Guns In America
2000144.1
2001151.9
2002159.3
2003166.7
2004174.4
2005182.4
2006190.8
2007199.6
2008209.2
2009219.5
2010229.5
2011240.9
2012255.5
2013271.0
2014284.7
2015299.5
2016315.7
2017330.1
2018343.6
2019357.1
2020378.7
2021393.3
2022393.3

How Many Guns Are In The World?

There are 1.01 billion guns in the world.

Here is how the ownership of guns in the world is broken down:

  • 857 million civilian-held firearms
  • 133 million firearms held by the military
  • 22.7 million held by law enforcement
  • America owns 38.8% of the guns in the world.

There is 1 gun for every 8 people based on the world population.

Number Of Gun Owners In The US

Let’s look at some statistics about the number of gun owners in the US.

  • How many registered gun owners are there?
  • How many guns per capita are there?

How Many Registered Gun Owners Are In The US?

There are 77.5 million registered, legal gun owners in America.

But only Registered guns make up 1.89% of the guns in America.

Guns Per Capita

America has 1.21 guns per capita in the US.

For every 100 people in the US, there are 120.5 guns in America.

Gun Ownership In America By Gender

  • Men are 177% more likely to own a gun compared to women.
  • 36.9 million women own a gun.
  • 63.3 million men own a gun.
  • 48% of white males own a gun.
  • 24% of non-white males own a gun.

Most common types of guns for men:

  • handgun: 73%
  • rifle: 69%
  • shotgun: 60%

Most common types of guns for women:

  • handgun: 71%
  • rifle: 50%
  • shotgun: 44%

Female Gun Ownership Statistics

  • 22% of women own a gun.
  • Female gun ownership is 56% that of male gun ownership.
  • 18% of women live in a gun-owning household.
  • 24% of white women own a gun.
  • 16% of non-white women own a gun.
  • 45% of women say that they intend to buy a gun for the first time soon.
  • 71% of women say they own a gun for protection and self-defense.

The Geography Of Gun Ownership

Gun ownership in the US varies depending on where people live.

Rural areas have the highest gun ownership rates.

While people living in the cities have the least amount of guns.

  • Rural Areas: 72%
  • Small Towns: 52%
  • Suburbs: 37%
  • Cities: 39%

Southern states have the highest rate of gun ownership.

Those who live in the north own a gun at a rate that’s 44% of the south.

  • Northeast: 16%
  • Midwest: 32%
  • South: 36%
  • West: 31%

The south has a gun ownership rate that’s 225% higher than the north.

Gun Ownership By State

  • Texas has the most registered guns at 1,006,555.
  • Texas has 94% more guns than Florida.
  • Texas has more guns than the 20 lowest gun-owning states combined.
  • Texas owns 13.5% of the guns in America.
  • The 10 highest gun-owning states own 52.3% of the guns in America.
  • The Bible Belt owns 1.46 million guns (19.7% of guns owned).
  • 66.3% of people in Wyoming own a gun.
  • Only 14.7% of people in New Jersey own a gun.

Highest Gun-Owning States

  1. Texas – 1,006,555
  2. Florida – 518,725
  3. Virginia – 423,707
  4. California – 406,360
  5. Pennsylvania – 348,167
  6. Georgia – 304,124
  7. Arizona – 258,691
  8. North Carolina – 222,166
  9. Ohio – 208,661
  10. Alabama – 194,920

Lowest Gun-Owning States

  1. Rhode Island – 4,887
  2. Delaware – 6,092
  3. Hawaii – 9,280
  4. Vermont – 9,451
  5. Maine – 21,396
  6. Alaska – 28,237
  7. North Dakota – 30,975
  8. Montana – 36,678
  9. Nebraska – 43,261
  10. Massachusetts – 45,138

Which State Has The Most Guns

Texas has the most registered guns at 1,006,555.

Florida has the 2nd largest amount of registered guns at 518,725.

It’s estimated that Texas has 52,960,968 unregistered guns.

This takes into account the number of registered and unregistered guns.

Gun Purchases By State

This table looks at the number of guns purchased in each state last year.

StateGuns Sold By State
Texas1,624,677
Florida1,422,294
California1,096,943
Pennsylvania1,019,744
Tennessee700,084
Ohio655,772
Michigan648,752
Virginia620,267
Missouri601,604
Alabama593,790
Indiana568,539
Illinois545,849
Colorado536,628
Washington504,401
Georgia495,897
Wisconsin479,426
Arizona479,269
Oklahoma395,286
New York383,059
Oregon374,575
Minnesota374,056
Louisiana373,524
Kentucky366,137
South Carolina326,070
Mississippi305,468
North Carolina300,107
Arkansas244,326
New Jersey224,853
Maryland209,139
Kansas207,888
West Virginia202,854
Idaho197,744
New Mexico190,418
Utah160,587
Montana149,751
Nevada146,330
New Hampshire141,943
Massachusetts141,488
Maine125,921
Connecticut119,179
South Dakota98,736
Alaska90,843
Wyoming79,218
North Dakota74,850
Delaware66,355
Iowa63,957
Vermont53,682
Rhode Island41,893
Nebraska31,310
District of Columbia4,934
Hawaii33

Gun Ownership Per Capita By State

  • Wyoming has 13 guns per person, the most guns per capita.
  • Wyoming has 342% more guns per capita than the next highest state (South Dakota).
  • Rhode Island has 0.23 guns per person, the least guns per capita.
  • Registered guns make up 1.89% of the guns in America.
  • There are 5,292% more unregistered guns than registered guns in America.
  • The average American owns 1.17 unregistered guns and 0.02 registered guns.
  • There are 5,292% more unregistered guns than registered guns in America.

For this section, we know three things:

  • the number of registered guns per state
  • the total number of guns circulating in America
  • the population of America

We can estimate how many guns the average American adult owns in each state.

StateTotal Registered GunsRegistered Guns Per CapitaTotal Unregistered GunsUnregistered Guns Per Capita
Alabama194,9200.0410,316,3952.03
Alaska28,2370.041,494,4802.02
Arizona258,6910.0413,691,5581.87
Arkansas133,9810.047,091,1192.34
California406,3600.0121,507,1320.54
Colorado149,3820.037,906,2371.33
Connecticut74,8740.023,962,8041.10
Delaware6,0920.01322,4270.32
Florida518,7250.0227,454,1951.24
Georgia304,1240.0316,096,1581.47
Hawaii9,2800.01491,1560.33
Idaho76,4250.044,044,8932.14
Illinois144,7490.017,661,0290.60
Indiana157,5460.028,338,3271.22
Iowa54,1780.022,867,4410.89
Kansas69,8500.023,696,9021.25
Kentucky108,8330.025,760,1281.27
Louisiana152,0610.038,048,0261.72
Maine21,3960.021,132,4110.83
Maryland136,2570.027,211,5791.15
Massachusetts45,1380.012,388,9870.34
Michigan109,8350.015,813,1600.57
Minnesota129,8250.026,871,1571.19
Mississippi80,7120.034,271,7881.44
Missouri113,3510.025,999,2490.97
Montana36,6780.031,941,2311.76
Nebraska43,2610.022,289,6451.15
Nevada119,0070.046,298,6001.98
New Hampshire72,4330.053,833,6112.76
New Jersey102,2280.015,410,5500.58
New Mexico122,9680.066,508,2413.06
New York92,1910.004,879,3290.24
North Carolina222,1660.0211,758,4251.11
North Dakota30,9750.041,639,3922.05
Ohio208,6610.0211,043,6550.93
Oklahoma103,3680.035,470,8861.37
Oregon97,4740.025,158,9381.19
Pennsylvania348,1670.0318,427,1911.41
Rhode Island4,8870.00258,6510.23
South Carolina119,2050.026,309,0801.21
South Dakota64,6660.073,422,5323.80
Tennessee151,5360.028,020,2401.14
Texas1,000,6550.0352,960,9681.77
Utah118,4080.046,266,8971.86
Vermont9,4510.01500,2060.77
Virginia423,7070.0522,425,2442.56
Washington165,5340.028,761,1021.11
West Virginia50,9630.032,697,2831.51
Wisconsin95,4300.025,050,7570.85
Wyoming142,2470.257,528,60812.99

What State Has The Most Guns Per Capita?

Wyoming has the most guns per capita.

Wyoming has:

  • 12.9 unregistered guns per capita
  • 0.25 registered guns per capita

Political Party Demographics

Here is the number of people that own guns in each political party:

  • Republicans – 41%
  • Democrats – 16%
  • Independents – 36%

Some interesting statistics come from this:

  • 16.5 million Republicans own a gun.
  • 8.2 million Democrats own a gun.
  • 20.6 million Independents own a gun.
  • Republicans are 256% more likely to own a gun than Democrats.
  • 251% more Independents own a gun compared to Democrats.
  • Democrats own 49.7% of the number of guns compared to Republicans.

This data is based on some math.

There are 154.6 million people who vote.

Then, we know that the breakdown of voting per party is:

  • Republicans – 26%
  • Democrats – 33%
  • Independents – 37%

We calculate how many people there are in each party.

And we calculate how many people in each party own a gun.

Reasons for Gun Ownership In America

The top reasons for gun ownership in America were for:

  • protection (i.e., self-defense): 67%
  • hunting: 38%
  • sports shooting: 30%
  • gun collections: 13%
  • their job (i.e., law enforcement): 8%

The majority of gun owners cite multiple reasons for gun ownership.

But “protection” was the main reason for owning a gun.

65% of men said that protection was the #1 reason.

While 71% of women cited protection as the reason for gun ownership.

Data For These Gun Ownership Statistics

We pulled our data on firearm ownership statistics from sources, like:

  • Pew Research Center
  • Small Arms Survey
  • National Rifle Association (NRA)
  • National Firearms Survey
  • Harvard & Northeastern

Our data covers topics like:

  • gun control
  • gun deaths
  • number of firearms bought
  • gun violence
  • who the average gun owner is
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