More guns than people: Why tighter U.S. firearms laws are unlikely

More guns than people: Why tighter U.S. firearms laws are unlikely

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden announced limited measures to tackle gun violence in the United States last week, but more ambitious steps will be harder to enact despite widespread public support. Here are some facts about gun violence in the United States: HOW MANY AMERICANS OWN GUNS? With about 121 firearms in circulation for every 100 residents, the United States is by far the most heavily armed society in the world, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, a research group. However, gun ownership is becoming less common across the country. One in three U.S. households owned firearms in 2016, down from nearly half in 1990, according to the RAND Corp think tank. Ownership varies significantly by state: 66% of Montana households owned firearms, compared with just 8% in New Jersey. WHAT SORT OF LAWS GOVERN FIREARMS? The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution enshrines the “right to bear arms,” which the Supreme Court has interpreted to allow individuals to keep handguns at home for self-defense. The conservative-leaning court may soon decide whether gun owners can carry guns outside the home. The federal government requires most gun buyers to clear a criminal background check and tightly regulates ownership of machine guns, which are fully automatic, and silencers. Most other gun laws are set at the state level, where policies vary widely here . Many Democratic-dominated states have tightened their laws in recent years. California, for example, has banned military-style semi-automatic “assault weapons” and large-capacity magazines and has the […]

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