Statistics about guns in the USince ancient Chinese stumbled on gunpowder and eventually guns, there have been various models of firearms. Now, guns are part of our culture. Just turn on your TV, and you’re likely to find a headline about guns. Watching an action movie? Certainly, it would be a surprise to see the credits rolling without a few arms going off first.
Like everything, guns can be used for useful purposes or abused. Unfortunately, irresponsible and indiscriminate gun use has become relatively prevalent.
With the advent of mass shootings that have taken many innocent lives, gun regulation has become a significant topic of interest and debate. Unfortunately, a lot of people add their voices to the conversation without an appreciation of statistics. Here are five statistics on gun use that might interest you.
There are 310 Million Guns in the US
Yes, you read that right – a whopping 310 million guns. Statistics indicate that 40% of households in the US own guns. And that’s not all. More than half of Americans grew up in homes where there were guns.
This amounts to 120.5 firearms for every 100 residents. No wonder some news outlets have titled some of their posts, “America has more guns than people.” Of the over one billion guns worldwide, America owns the most guns. The country has more of these weapons than the next 24 other ranked countries combined.
Yemen has the next highest rate of 53 guns per 100 residents, followed by Montenegro and Serbia with 39 each. Canada, the US’s neighbor, has 35 guns per 100 residents.
48% Of Gun Owners Have it for Protection Purposes
Pew Research conducted a study a few years ago, asking respondents about their reasons for owning a gun. The categories included protection, hunting, target (sport shooting), constitutional rights, and hobbies. 48% of respondents identified protection as their main reason, while 32% of respondents chalked it to hunting.
That statistic is in stark contrast to a similar Pew Research, where 49% of respondents choose hunting as their reason for owning a firearm compared to 26% for protection. Gun ownership has been rising in response to increasing crime and burglary rates.
Men are More Likely to Participate in Gun-related Activities
There is a host of activities available to gun enthusiasts. Such activities include visiting a gun range, visiting gun-related websites, attending gun shows, listening to gun-related podcasts, and watching gun shows.
According to the same Pew Research mentioned earlier, men have a higher tendency to participate in such activities. Only 43% of female gun owners visit a gun range or go hunting, while 58% of male gun owners would not think twice about it.
Similarly, men are more likely to participate in social activities that are gun-related. Such activities involve making friends who are also gun enthusiasts or gun owners. It’s not surprising that men patronize gun shows the most.
More Women Are Getting Guns
Surprise, surprise. While women are not inclined to be involved in gun-related activities, lately more women are purchasing guns. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there has been a 77% increase in female gun ownership since 2005.
The study cites self-defense, hunting, and sport shooting as the top three reasons for females owning firearms. There are 5.4 million and counting females who target shoot, although most women rely on family and friends for training instead of taking classes from professionals.
And the fashion industry has moved to cash in. From holsters, purses, nylons, and leggings, there is now fashionable apparel called “carry wear.” There are even fashion shows where models and fashion houses proudly show off their latest designs.
Gun Training is on the Rise
Fewer guns do not necessarily mean less gun violence. Case-in-point: Switzerland. The country has almost 2 million guns, although it has a population of over 8 million people, yet it has a murder rate of zero.
One of the critical aspects of gun ownership is that owners should go through the proper channels and receive the right training. For instance, Bellevue Gun Club provides a safe place to receive training in the appropriate handling and use of guns.
Such training facilities are also useful for military/police personnel who want to sharpen their skills and gain more practice.
In a Sum
Guns are everywhere – even when you don’t see them. They are a part of popular culture and present in close to half of all households in the United States. There are several interesting facts listed in this post. Some may be expected, and some may not be. Hopefully, these statistics give you a better perspective and insight into gun ownership and gun use in the US.