American civilians own more guns than US Army

 | Updated: Oct 06, 2017, 05:58 AM IST
Forty-eight per cent of Americans grew up in a home that owned guns. By: Saurabh Goenka and Saloni Kamboj, Creatives: Sunitha Shekhar

43 per cent Americans own guns

The US has 4.43 per cent of the world population but 43 per cent of the world's civilian-owned guns.

Surprisingly, where just 1/4th of the world's firearms are possessed by the military and law enforcement, civilians own 3/4th of the world's firearms.

Civilians own more guns than army

While India has the second largest number of firearms held by civilians, the number of firearms possessed in India is less than 1/5th of USA. However, only 3.4 million guns in India are licenced as per the government of India.

If the number of guns held by civilians in the USA is distributed among all the entire population then, out of every 100 people in the USA, 89 people have a gun.

More guns, more murder

The US which has the highest proportion of civilian-owned firearms also has the highest rate of homicides. More than 1.5 lakh (0.15 million) people are murdered in the USA every year.

The relationship between firearm possession and high rate of homicides become more evident with the fact that firearms were used in more than 65 per cent of the homicides in the USA.

Guns in American homes

There is a widespread gun culture in the USA. As per a survey done by PEW research this year, it was found that 48 per cent of Americans grew up in a household with guns.

Moreover, there is no aversion for holding guns as in the same sample. 72 per cent Americans now have a short gun.

No license needed to own guns

The southern and western region of the USA has much more gun ownership rate than the Northeastern region. With 61.7% of people holding guns, Alaska has the highest ownership rate as well as highest firearms-related deaths in the country.

States like Alaska, Idaho and West Virginia are among the 8 states in the USA which do not require a license to hold a gun. Also, there is no strict background check or waiting period in these states.

Why Americans keep guns?

38 per cent of the gun owners said they keep their guns loaded and within an easy reach at home all the time. Another 17 per cent keeps a gun with them most of the time.

Gun possession, which is advocated as a means to counter fear, has led to its increased possession. 67 per cent of the Americans holds firearms to protect themselves.

Majority of Americans has more than one gun

More than 65 per cent of gun owners in the USA have more than 1 firearm. Although just 33 per cent of the people in the country believe that having guns help reduce crime, 66 per cent think otherwise.

29 per cent of the gun owners in the USA have more than 5 guns which raises a question on reduction in crime with gun possession.

More gun dealers than grocery stores in the USA

America has turned into a country of guns with almost double the number of gun dealers than grocery stores in the country. There are around 65k gun dealers in the USA as per an estimate.

The easy availability of guns is also seen as a reason for the growing gun culture in the country, which has 270 million guns as against a population of 320 million.