How Many People In The U.S. Own Guns?

How Many People In The U.S. Own Guns?

And what does it mean for gun violence? This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here . Recent surveys find that about 40% of adult Americans own a gun or live with someone who does. A majority of those gun owners cite protection as their primary reason for owning a gun, and most believe the gun or guns they own make their homes safer. But research has consistently shown that households with guns are actually less safe — with markedly higher risks for accidental deaths, suicides and domestic homicides. How Many Americans Own A Gun? The answer to this question is not straightforward. The exact number of U.S. gun owners is unclear due to the fact that there is no federal registration requirement or similar regulation that would enable an official count. In fact, federal law prohibits a central registry of firearms owned by private citizens. About 40% of Americans say they or someone in their household owns a gun, and 22% of individuals (about 72 million people) report owning a gun, according to surveys from Pew and Harvard and Northeastern . This figure has declined over time, down from 51% of gun-owning households in 1978. Gun purchases, however, have hit historic highs in recent years and during the C OVID-19 pandemic . Americans also own a disproportionate share of the world’s firearms: The U.S. has just 4% of the world’s population but owns about 40% of civilian-owned guns globally, […]

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