Guns in the United States

Guns in America: The impact of having more guns in society

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Guns in America: The impact of having more guns in society

Americans lead the world in gun ownership, and what is the actual impact on society of more guns?


Firearms: 300 million
Firearms owners: 85 million
3 in 4 American gun owners have two or more guns
The U.S. accounts for 4.4% of the world’s population and 46% of the world’s guns

Gun ownership rates by state

Wyoming 59.7
Alaska 57.8
Montana 57.7
South Dakota 56.6
West Virginia 55.4
Arkansas 55.3
Idaho 55.3
Mississippi 55.3
Alabama 51.7
North Dakota 50.7
Kentucky 47.7
Wisconsin 44.4
Louisiana 44.1
Tennessee 43.9
Utah 43.9
Oklahoma 42.9
Iowa 42.8
South Carolina 42.3
Kansas 42.1
Vermont 42
Minnesota 41.7
Missouri 41.7
North Carolina 41.3
Maine 40.5
Georgia 40.3
Oregon 39.8
Indiana 39.1
Nebraska 38.6
Michigan 38.4
Texas 35.9
Virginia 35.1
New Mexico 34.8
Colorado 34.7
Pennsylvania 34.7
Nevada 33.8
Washington 33.1
Ohio 32.4
Arizona 31.1
New Hampshire 30
Delaware 25.5
Florida 24.5
California 21.3
Maryland 21.3
Illinois 20.2
New York 18
Connecticut 16.7
Rhode Island 12.8
Massachusetts 12.6
New Jersey 12.3
Hawaii* 8.7
DC 3.8


More than 30,000 people died in gun-related incidents in the U.S. in 2009.

Causes of gun-related deaths
Accident 554
Suicide 18,735
Homicide 11,493

Homicide was the 15th-leading cause of death in the United States in 2009. And guns were involved in more than 68% of those deaths.
Homicides: 16,799
Firearm homicides: 11,493

Among some of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world, the United States’ homicide rate is one of the highest. The homicide rate in the U.S. is 12 times that of Japan.

Homicides per 100,000 population, select countries, most recent years available
Russia 10.2
United States 4.8
Canada 1.6
Great Britain 1.2
France 1.1
China 1.0
Italy 0.9
Germany 0.8
Japan 0.4

On the average day in the U.S.:
270 people in America, 47 of them children and teens, are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, accidents and police intervention.
87 people die from gun violence, 33 of them murdered.
8 children and teens die from gun violence.
183 people are shot but survive their gun injuries.
38 children and teens are shot, but survive their gun injuries.


Repeated studies have shown that the presence of a gun boosts the risk of gun-related violence in the home.
2.7 times increased risk of homicide
4.8 times increased risk of suicide

Men are more likely to be homicide victims overall, but women are over 3 1/2 times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner compared to men.

In 2005, about 40% of female homicide victims ages 15-50 were killed by a current or former intimate partner. Guns were used in 55% of those cases.

37.5% Female murder victims in 2005 were killed by their husbands or boyfriends

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher in December shot his longtime girlfriend to death before turning the gun on himself outside the team’s practice facility


243 is the average number of justifiable firearms homicides, such as the shooting of a home intruder, between 2005 and 2010

2.1% is the proportion of all gun-related homicides

A 1998 study showed that for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.

Individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault.


Strong gun regulations aren’t always paired with strict enforcement.

2 out of 5 guns sold in the U.S. are without background checks


Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Brady Campaign; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Bureau of Justice Statistics; Center to Prevent Youth Violence;; Federation of American Scientists; Violence Policy Center; Washington Post; New Yorker; National Shooting Sports Foundation