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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Which States Have the Most Gun Owners? by Matthew Maruster


Firearm ownership is somewhat uniquely American. Of course, citizens of other countries own firearms. However, firearms have played a critical role in America throughout every period in our country's history.

America tops the list —

According to a 2017 ‘Small Arms Survey,' America boasted 120.5 per 1,000 citizens. That works out to roughly 200 to 250 million firearms. Unfortunately, we can't know the exact number because not all states require gun registration.

Second place was the Falkland Islands at 62.1 per 1,000 citizens. Of course, that is is a skewed number, as the Falkland Islands population is probably around 3,000. Anyhow, you get the point, Americans own lots of guns.

But when it comes to our country, which states are top of the list in gun ownership? By taking the tada gathered by Pew Pew Research Center, we can rank the states by the percentage of guns owned based on population.

Ranking the U.S. by region–

Remember, these percentages reflect the percentage of adults who own a firearm based on the state's (or region's in this case) population.

  1. Southern States — 36%
  2. Midwestern — >30%
  3. Western States — >30%
  4. Northeastern States — 16%

States with the highest percentage of gun owners —

  1. Montana  — 66.30%
  2. Wyoming — 66.20%
  3. Alaska — 64.50%
  4. Idaho — 60.10%
  5. West Virginia — 58.50%
  6. Arkansas — 57.20%
  7. Mississippi — 55.80%
  8. Alabama– 55.50%
  9. South Dakota — 55.30%
  10. North Dakota — 55.10%

States with the lowest percentage of gun owners —

  1. Massachusetts — 14.7%
  2. New Jersey — 14.70%
  3. Rhode Island — 14.80%
  4. Hawaii — 14.90%
  5. New York — 19.90%
  6. Connecticut — 23.60%
  7. Illinois — 27.80%
  8. California — 28.30%
  9. Maryland — 30.20%
  10. Delaware — 34.40%

If you live in one of the 30 states that didn't make the top 10 or bottom 10 on the list, here is a screenshot of the graph from the actual report.

state gun ownership

Finally —

If you would like to read the full report, which includes more data like projected trends in state gun ownership, you can view it by clicking here.

The numbers seem to bust a few strongly held misconceptions about guns.

First, that everyone in Texas owns a gun. That is factually incorrect, as Texas ranked 27th.

Next, is that more gun ownership always equals less crime. Mississippi and Alabama are ranked 1 and 3 for homicide rates. This isn't to suggest that gun ownership doesn't deter crime, just that there is a multitude of factors that drive the crime rate in any given location. Gun ownership or restrictive gun laws are not the sole determinate.

Gun ownership rates vary across the country, and so do gun laws. So if you travel with your firearm and want to remain law-abiding, you need to know and understand that state's gun laws.

The best way to do that is to pick up a copy of the number one resource on the topic called Legal Boundaries by State. The book is available in digital or physical copy and goes way beyond simply providing a reciprocity map. Each state has a page dedicated to explaining the gun laws of that state and instructions on how to fly with your firearm or federal laws related to gun possession.

LBBS book

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