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Guns Outnumber Civilians In The United States

They may be outnumbered but not outgunned


What's going on?

A report released by the Small Arms Survey indicates that there are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States. That is enough guns to arm every man, woman, and child with still 67 million additional guns left. In 2017, Americans owned about 46% of the entire world’s stock of 857 million civilian firearms.


A further look shows that for every 100 U.S. residents, there are 120.5 guns. That number is twice that of the next-highest nation, Yemen, with 52.8 guns per 100 residents. Surprisingly, these numbers do not include firearms owned by law enforcement bodies or the military. When compared among the world’s wealthiest nations, the U.S. tops the chart with an ownership rate three times higher than Canada, which comes in second. Their ownership rate is six times higher than the average among similarly wealthy countries with 42% of American households reported arms possession in 2017.


There is an estimate of 118 million households in the U.S., which means the average gun-owning household owns approximately eight guns. During Obama’s administration, gun manufacturing saw a boom with civilians acquiring at least 122 million new or imported firearms. A different study by Harvard-Northeastern in 2016 found that 3% of American adults own half the country’s firearms. However, there is no official count of American gun ownership, so there is a margin of error around any estimate of gun ownership. Nevertheless, there is no denying the bigger picture that the U.S. is the civilian firearms capital of the world.