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How many guns are there REALLY in America?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Trunk Monkey, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey Member

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    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?
     
  2. LNK

    LNK Member

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    Conservative estimate at best....

    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
     
  3. gym

    gym member

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    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.
     
  4. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    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.

    Which happens to be the average from such surveys.

    This is what is known as sampling error.
     
  5. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    "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.
     
  6. LNK

    LNK Member

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    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
     
  7. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    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.
     
  8. LNK

    LNK Member

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    Point taken.

    LNK
     
  9. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    a whole lot and more are being made everyday :D.
     
  10. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    About a billion.
     
  11. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    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...
     
  12. Dr. Sandman

    Dr. Sandman Member

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    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?
     
  13. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    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.
     
  14. CB900F

    CB900F Member

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    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
     
  15. BigN

    BigN Member

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    The world will never know but I'm guessing there's millions more than anyone could imagine.
     
  16. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    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
     
  17. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    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.
     
  18. Isaac-1

    Isaac-1 Member

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    The better question is what percentage of families in the U.S. have at least 1 gun
     
  19. Ditchtiger

    Ditchtiger Member

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    How about this, how many rounds of ammo is in private hands?
     
  20. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    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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  21. Queen_of_Thunder

    Queen_of_Thunder member

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    70 million gun owners with just one 50 round box of ammo means 3.5 trillion rounds of ammo out there.
     
  22. Ken70

    Ken70 Member

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    It's like Carl Sagan; Billions and Billions....It's probably pretty close to this. Amuricans like their guns; I know I do.
     
  23. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    "One behind every blade of grass."

    Isoroku Yamamoto, 1941
     
  24. Grassman

    Grassman Member

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    What guns.....I don't own any guns.....
     
  25. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    A trillion must be a different number in your neck of the woods. :)

    I thought this supposed quote has been thoroughly debunked years ago.
     
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