How many guns are there REALLY in America?


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Trunk Monkey
December 13, 2012, 10:45 AM
The most common figures I've seen indicate that there are between 290 & 350 million guns in this country. I’m a little curious about how that number was reached and whether or not it accounts for firearms sold prior to the gun control act of 1968 which is the first time that I am aware of that firearms sales were required to be tracked. I also wonder how accurate it is.

My grandfather owned several rifles and shot guns that were manufactured and sold decades prior to 1968, they are still in use and I can’t imagine that any record of ownership transfer exists anywhere regarding those guns and I’m sure those aren’t the only such guns in this country. Where do they fall into the 300 million number?

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LNK
December 13, 2012, 10:52 AM
I would be willing to bet there are way more than that. I hear that there are between 70-80 million gun owners in the US. If that number is accurate, how many guns do most people own? I would say at least 2 if any. Many own a lot more. The average would have to be 4 each to reach 320 million. Everyone I know that owns guns are above 10. Probably close to 500 million would be my guess....

LNK

gym
December 13, 2012, 11:07 AM
I think it's possiblly even more than that. There are so many folks that have guns that were not registered, or given/sold to them ."under the table" so to speak. I can remember when I was a kid in NY, they were selling Rossi snub nose revolvers for 50 bucks in Queens. It was a common practice to have one back in the 60's. It's more than likelly twice what they think it is. Over the last 3 years of living in my deveopment, I have found that most all my neighboors, "who claimed not to own a gun", all had several, "after getting to know them better.My guess 8 out of ten households in FL have a firearm in the household.

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 13, 2012, 11:14 AM
The data comes from a wide variety of sources, but most of estimates come from the data contained in the General Social Survey, not government tracking data. Although, one could surmise that since firearms have been been subject to federal excise tax since long before the GCA, they might have some good data on the numbers produced.

Since GSS is a self-report study, the responses is subject to the effects of things like social desirability bias and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, short of going around and counting all of them, there probably isn't a better way to estimate the ownership.

The average would have to be 4 each to reach 320 million
Which happens to be the average from such surveys.

Everyone I know that owns guns are above 10.
This is what is known as sampling error.

Sav .250
December 13, 2012, 11:21 AM
"US citizens own 270 million of the worlds 875 million known firearms according to the Small Arms survey 2007 by the Geneva based Graduate Institute of International Studies. "

All can be found on...........................google.

LNK
December 13, 2012, 12:12 PM
This is what is known as sampling error.[/QUOTE]

It would be if I was using it as a data point for a total. I wasn't, it was just an observation about those I know...

LNK

HoosierQ
December 13, 2012, 01:35 PM
It's sampling error because you (and of course I don't know this) are presumably an afficianado of firearms and seek out activities and friendships that will sync up with yours. I mean if your hobby is 3 gun shooting, well at a minimum a whole lot of the people you know are going to have 3 guns. Your observations are not statistically valid for computing national numbers. I grew up in a family of artists. As a kid, one key part of every visit was a tour of the art studio. So, as a kid, almost all of the adults I knew had an art studio. But there weren't 80 million art studios in the USA.

LNK
December 13, 2012, 01:53 PM
Point taken.

LNK

horsemen61
December 13, 2012, 01:57 PM
a whole lot and more are being made everyday :D.

rodinal220
December 13, 2012, 02:14 PM
About a billion.

Midwest
December 13, 2012, 02:58 PM
More guns than 'they' could ever go door to door and confiscate.....meaning that 'scenario' that is bought up from time to time...would be impossible to implement...

Dr. Sandman
December 13, 2012, 03:11 PM
Check out the book "Zips, Pipes, and Pens: Arsenal of Improvised Weapons" by Truby. Do they count zips made inside the walls of prisons in the estimate?

Ryanxia
December 13, 2012, 04:51 PM
Don't forget all the guns that are destroyed each year (many police departments still destroy confiscated guns), guns lost in fires or thrown away due to corrosion.

CB900F
December 13, 2012, 05:35 PM
Fella's;

If the question is taken as asked in the thread title, I'd say that the 320 million doesn't even come close. The question as asked would include U.S. military arms also.

900F

BigN
December 13, 2012, 05:43 PM
The world will never know but I'm guessing there's millions more than anyone could imagine.

TennJed
December 13, 2012, 05:52 PM
"US citizens own 270 million of the worlds 875 million known firearms according to the Small Arms survey 2007 by the Geneva based Graduate Institute of International Studies. "

All can be found on...........................google.
The original question was regarding how accurate the numbers are and where they come from. The "google" thing is getting a overdone on message boards, and honestly is in poor placement in this thread

Carl N. Brown
December 13, 2012, 06:22 PM
How durable are guns?

I have a couple of 19th century .38 S&W revolvers and a more recent Grendel P10 that are currently not economical repair (a ban might change that). Of 90 odd guns I have owned over the past fifty years (some traded, some given as gifts), there is one old .22 rifle I junked as unsafe and beyond repair. I keep and have shot in local military matches a Webley revolver made in 1899 and a Mauser pistol made in 1912 or so. Guns are very durable goods if minimum maintenance is applied.

There are sources for raw (and rough) stats.

Since 1968, ATF has had central records on totals of guns made in the U.S. minus guns exported plus guns imported for the domestic retail market.

Most gun manufacturers and importers for their own inventory purposes kept records of guns made/sold before 1968. Some meticulous, some not archived well, some lost.

Telephone survey of a selected sample was done (National Survey on Private Ownership and use of Firearms) was used to estimate privately owned guns.
192,000,000 private guns by government survey 1994 (NSPOF)

156,000,000 NICS Background checks 1998-2011 mostly Form 4473 gun dealer transactions, mostly new guns (some used but most used gun transactions are private).

Not counting smuggling including undeclared war trophies, or guns liberated from armories as trade goods, etc.

200 to 350 million seems like a reasonable guestimate. Close enough for government work.

Isaac-1
December 13, 2012, 08:17 PM
The better question is what percentage of families in the U.S. have at least 1 gun

Ditchtiger
December 13, 2012, 08:20 PM
How about this, how many rounds of ammo is in private hands?

dragon813gt
December 13, 2012, 08:34 PM
I read this in a USA Today article this morning; about 20% of gun owners possess 65% of the nation's guns, according to a 2006 Harvard study. That doesn't help with the overall figure. I can't imagine it's correct. I don't know anyone that owns only one firearm. At a minimum it's usually one each of pistol/rifle/shotgun. And almost always a lot more.


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Queen_of_Thunder
December 13, 2012, 08:43 PM
70 million gun owners with just one 50 round box of ammo means 3.5 trillion rounds of ammo out there.

Ken70
December 13, 2012, 09:19 PM
It's like Carl Sagan; Billions and Billions....It's probably pretty close to this. Amuricans like their guns; I know I do.

rswartsell
December 13, 2012, 09:23 PM
"One behind every blade of grass."

Isoroku Yamamoto, 1941

Grassman
December 13, 2012, 09:24 PM
What guns.....I don't own any guns.....

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 13, 2012, 09:34 PM
70 million gun owners with just one 50 round box of ammo means 3.5 trillion rounds of ammo out there.
A trillion must be a different number in your neck of the woods. :)


"One behind every blade of grass."

Isoroku Yamamoto, 1941
I thought this supposed quote has been thoroughly debunked years ago.

pwhfirefighter
December 13, 2012, 09:46 PM
There is no telling! Always room for a few more here though! :)

dragon813gt
December 13, 2012, 09:51 PM
70 million gun owners with just one 50 round box of ammo means 3.5 trillion rounds of ammo out there.

Since when is billion spelled with a "t"? ;)
Each owner would need 50,000 rounds of ammo to reach the 3.5 trillion mark.


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orionengnr
December 13, 2012, 09:52 PM
I hear that there are between 70-80 million gun owners in the US.
I'm pretty sure we have that many in Texas alone. :) And of all the gun owners I know, none owns fewer than 4...and most far more. :)
That is only taking law abiding citizens into account. Add the criminals and the illegals and...who knows?

CB900F
December 13, 2012, 10:21 PM
Fella's;

"Each owner would need 50,000 rounds of ammo to reach the 3.5 trillion mark."

Yeah, so? Why do you think that's an unreasonable number for an individual to own? Admittedly, not all owners will have that many, but many will have much more. Just because you don't, and don't know anybody who will admit to that much, doesn't mean that every blade of grass isn't hiding a bullet as it were.

Or: How to cause cold sweats in Washington 101.

:evil: 900F

rem44m
December 13, 2012, 11:23 PM
God bless America :-)

MachIVshooter
December 14, 2012, 12:35 AM
The ~300 million sounds about right to me.

I read this in a USA Today article this morning; about 20% of gun owners possess 65% of the nation's guns, according to a 2006 Harvard study. That doesn't help with the overall figure. I can't imagine it's correct. I don't know anyone that owns only one firearm. At a minimum it's usually one each of pistol/rifle/shotgun. And almost always a lot more.

Why doesn't it sound right? Remember, those of us on THR are not representative of average gun owners.

20% of 80 million gun owners is 16 million people. 65% of 300 million guns is 195 million firearms. That means the average for the other 80% is about 2 guns each, and the average for the 20% is about 12 guns each (probably about the average of THR members). Break it down further, and a small percentage of the 20% owns a majority of those ~195 million guns. I'm not going to divulge exactly how many I have, but suffice to say I'm one of those who really skews the average numbers of the smaller percentage who own most of the guns. And there are still people who have many, many more than I do.

Librarian
December 14, 2012, 02:04 AM
Gary Kleck got his estimate from ATF and a few other places.

His 1997 book 'Targeting Guns' has table 3.1 "Size of the US Civilian Gun Stock' starting at about 47 million for 1899 - 1945, and showing yearly increments through 1994, which ended at about 235 million.

Later info is available from ATF stats at Annual Firearms Manufacturers And Export Report (http://www.atf.gov/statistics/afmer/), 1998 - 2010.

Isaac-1
December 14, 2012, 04:11 AM
The big problem is a lot of people that own a number of guns have enough sense to report a low number on surveys. That way when they do come for our guns we can hand them that old Winchester model 1911 12 Gauge "Widow Maker" and that el cheapo Rohm .22 revolver. As to people that own few or no guns, I know a few, they are not neccessarily anti gun people either, off hand I can think of 2 fairly close friends that fall into this category, one has no guns, and has not for years, which is somewhat strange since he is somewhat paranoid about self defense and spent many years of his life studying martial arts. Then again I would not want to break into his house even with a gun and him having a sword, staff, etc. The other one owns 1 old .38 revolver (Colt Police Positive I think), and occasionally talks about needing to buy another gun, but can't justify spending the money on it when there are other things he thinks he needs to buy first. Many though seem to fall into the 3-4 guns in the family group, I even have a nephew that is a bit of a gun nut that only owns maybe 5 or 6 guns, of course in his case they are almost all black rifles and the cheapest one was probably in the $800 range.

dragon813gt
December 14, 2012, 06:23 AM
Fella's;

"Each owner would need 50,000 rounds of ammo to reach the 3.5 trillion mark."

Yeah, so? Why do you think that's an unreasonable number for an individual to own? Admittedly, not all owners will have that many, but many will have much more. Just because you don't, and don't know anybody who will admit to that much, doesn't mean that every blade of grass isn't hiding a bullet as it were.

Or: How to cause cold sweats in Washington 101.

:evil: 900F

When did I say it's an unreasonable number? And when did I say how much I own? Don't directly quote me and then add in a bunch of things I didn't say or imply in your rebuttal.


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IlikeSA
December 14, 2012, 07:36 AM
I would think a lot more. Many people have guns but don't want to share that information with the public. I certainly would not answer the question for any survey or even online. If pressed, I have enough, but desire more.

LNK
December 14, 2012, 07:54 AM
70 million gun owners with just one 50 round box of ammo means 3.5 billion rounds of ammo out there.

Fixed it for you.....

LNK

Valor35
December 14, 2012, 08:20 AM
I think there used to be a lot more, before all those tragic boating accidents.:D

MDW GUNS
December 14, 2012, 09:00 AM
Watch the first 29 seconds!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni6OwFBY2RQ

When the founding fathers wrote the constitution, I think it is fair to assume that at least more then 3/4 of the male population had a firearm.
How many people do you know today who do not have even one gun!
The point is, looking at the federal government and how they act, there are not enough guns owned by the people.

rduchateau2954
December 14, 2012, 09:48 AM
What guns.....I don't own any guns.....

This

Many people have guns but don't want to share that information with the public. I certainly would not answer the question for any survey or even online.

This

I think there used to be a lot more, before all those tragic boating accidents.

Plus this

There is no gun registration in WI, there are records of guns I've purchased new from stores but no proof that I still own them or that they even still exist.

Dr. Sandman
December 14, 2012, 10:57 AM
Remember, those of us on THR are not representative of average gun owners.

I, too, think that most people on The High Road would be classified as "enthusiast".

Many people have just one gun. Think of the time they save!

Jorg Nysgerrig
December 14, 2012, 11:04 AM
I see we have arrived at the point where the most witty and creative of our members have pulled out the always entertaining and and clever lines about not owning any guns or having lost them in boating accidents.

Please PM me as soon as possible so I can disable your account as being a member of this forum likely compromises your brilliant plan to evade detection.

MachIVshooter
December 14, 2012, 11:07 AM
I see we have arrived at the point where the most witty and creative of our members have pulled out the always entertaining and and clever lines about not owning any guns or having lost them in boating accidents.

Please PM me as soon as possible so I can disable your account as being a member of this forum likely compromises your brilliant plan to evade detection.

ROTFL :p

CB900F
December 14, 2012, 03:28 PM
Dragon;

You need to expand your horizons. And, I'll speak as I damn well please.

900F

ApacheCoTodd
December 14, 2012, 05:10 PM
My opinion - Waaaay more than 290 million. Considering I know of no one owning only one and few people who don't own any and then there's the vast floating inventory in the hands of sellers.

Imagine how any Garands alone.

rswartsell
December 14, 2012, 06:55 PM
Testy today aren't we Jorg? I didn't know about the Yamamoto quote being debunked but I'll take your word for it. Do you still believe he was opposed to a) going to war with the US because of vast industrial capacity and b) opposed to an invasion of the mainland (partly) because of civilian resistance?

larryh1108
December 14, 2012, 09:14 PM
Check out this poll from over 2 years ago. It is interesting and says a lot about how many guns we (THR members) own.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=539485&highlight=poll+how+many+guns

12gaugeTim
December 14, 2012, 09:29 PM
I've most often hear 270-290 million, with a yearly influx of 4 million.

Wes B
December 14, 2012, 09:45 PM
Guns? What guns? I don't own no stinkin guns.

Just my $.02, I think whatever survey you look at it is going to be on the low side.

larryh1108
December 15, 2012, 06:55 AM
As a reference, there are 254 million registered vehicles in the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States

It seems there are more guns than vehicles. That's not a bad thing, just a way to picture how many there are.

Nanook
December 15, 2012, 08:15 AM
Of the people I know who own guns, only two of them have one single gun. The rest have more than one, in some cases considerably more than one.

As we know, guns have different uses, much like golf clubs or fishing poles have different uses. Different course conditions, different type of fishing, etc.

So, depending on what reason a person has for owning guns, they most likely have more than one. I don't know the average, and I'm not about to say on a public forum how many guns are owned by me and my friends.

When I get asked that question, I answer "More than I need, but not as many as I would like" which usually gets puzzled looks and a change of subject.

ms6852
December 15, 2012, 08:23 AM
"You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."

Quiet
December 15, 2012, 04:21 PM
According to the BATFE...

From 1986-2010...
total Title 1 firearms manufactured = 99,268,206
total Title 1 firearms exported = 6,691,196
total Title 1 firearms imported = 45,259,226

So from those numbers, there are 137,836,236 Title 1 firearms in the USA.

What is not known is how many firearms are in the USA from before 1986.

xfyrfiter
December 15, 2012, 05:22 PM
My bil owns on the upside of 120 guns, and probably two, to a hundred, boxes of ammo for each one. So yes there are a lot of guns out there. As far as how long do they last, I own an old smooth bore flintlock, that was made sometime before 1780, and is still in working order.

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