Small Arms Survey: The US Has More Guns Than People
A new study has revealed that there are more than 393 million guns owned by red-blooded Americans. To put that in perspective, every single person in the country could own a gun, and there would still be 67 million of them left to spare.
Small Arms Survey Global Gun Ownership
According to the Washington Post, those numbers come from the Small Arms Survey, a research project operating at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. The goal of the annual survey is to provide “evidence-based, impartial, and policy-relevant knowledge on all aspects of small arms and armed violence,” its website states.
On a global level, the study says there are an estimated 1.013 billion firearms numbers worldwide. 857 million of those firearms, or 85 percent, are in civilian hands. That number rose from 650 million in 2006. In addition, 133 million, or 13 percent, of guns are in military arsenals. 23 million, or two percent, are owned by law enforcement agencies.
Civilian Gun Ownership
Looking at the numbers on a more micro level, the United States owns 393,300,000 of the civilian firearms, or 46 percent, which is “more than those held by civilians in the other top 25 countries combined,” the AP reported. The other four countries in the top five for civilian-owned guns are India at 71,100,000; China at 49,700,000; Pakistan with 43,900,000; and the Russian Federation with 17,600,000.
The United States also dominates when it comes to civilian firearm holdings per 100 residents. Stats indicate that the U.S. has 120.5 firearms per 100 residents. That number is more than twice that of the next-highest country, Yemen, which has 52.8 guns per 100 residents.
The numbers for civilian gun ownership include both legal and illegal firearms. It factors in pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns. There’s also a “miscellaneous” category that includes black-powder firearms, subguns, pistol-grip firearms, “starter guns, and other kinds of firearms.”
“The key to the United States, of course, is its unique gun culture,” the report’s author, Aaron Karp, said at a press conference. “American civilians buy an average of 14 million new firearms every year, and that means the United States is an overwhelming presence on civilian markets.”
The study says it looked at national rearms registration statistics; general population surveys about rearm ownership; experts’ estimates of civilian holdings; and if none of those were available, then “analogous comparisons based on estimates for comparable countries.”
Military & Law Enforcement Ownership
While the study shows that civilians in the United States are enthusiastic about firearms, it also has the U.S. trailing behind Russia, China, North Korea and Ukraine, in that order, for military-owned firearms. Furthermore, the U.S. lags behind Russia, China, India and Egypt when it comes to law enforcement-owned firearms.
Eric Berman, the director of the Small Arms Survey, claims his organization isn’t an “advocacy” group.
“We don’t advocate disarmament. We are not against guns,” he said. “What we want to do, and what we have done successfully for the last 19 years, is to be able to provide authoritative information and analysis for governments so that they can work to address illicit proliferation and reduce it — and to reduce also the incidents of armed violence.”
In any event, the Small Arms Survey shows that a growing number of Americans are exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
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