Gun Ownership by State (2023 Statistics)

 

Where does your state rank in gun ownership? We analyzed all 50 states, gun ownership rates, and ownership percentages to bring you this article. Of course, we’ve also included the answers to some of your most burning questions about gun control, ownership, and crime.

Report Highlights:

  • The United States has the highest per capita rate of civilian firearm ownership at 120.48 firearms per 100 people.
  • American civilians own 46% (approximately 393.3 million) of the world’s 857 million civilian-use firearms. (Source)
  • Montana has the highest amount of gun owners (66.3%).
  • Wyoming has the most guns per capita, with 245.8 firearms for every 1,000 residents.
  • The top 5 states for gun ownership comprise only .8% of the nation’s firearm-related homicides (185 homicides between all 5 states).
  • The bottom 5 states for gun ownership comprise 4% of the nation’s firearm-related homicides (1,038 firearm-related homicides).
  • According to surveys, 36% of gun owners are white, 24% are black, and 15% are Hispanic. The remaining civilians do not personally own a firearm but do live in a home with someone who does.
  • Recent polls show that 32% of adults in the U.S. own at least one firearm.
  • 72% of gun owners say the main reason for owning a firearm is for protection.
  • According to this poll, 32% of US adults own at least one firearm.
  • New Jersey has the lowest rate of gun ownership at only 8.9% of the population and the least amount per capita (1.1 for every 1,000 people).

Global Civilian Firearm-Ownership

Globally, it is estimated that more than 857 million civilians own firearms for personal or defensive use. This number is likely much higher than the registered firearms that local governments can track.

Note: This information is based on a survey. The information given is only as accurate as the respective government provides.

Global Civilian Firearm Rates & Gun Deaths

One of the more pressing questions regarding civilian firearm ownership is, “Do firearms result in more deaths?” If we compare ownership to firearm-related gun deaths (including homicides and suicides), the correlation between ownership rates and deaths becomes unclear.

Gun Ownership Rates By State

While more states with strict firearm purchasing laws have fewer firearms, that isn’t always the case, despite State-mandated background checks and permits-to-purchase, many states still rank rather high.

What State Has the Most Guns

It is estimated that Texas has more guns than any other state, with 1,005,555 guns and just over 29 million residents. Florida trails behind in second place, with 518,725 guns and a population of just over 21 million residents.

Rhode Island has the lowest number of guns, with 4,887, and a population size of just over one million residents.

Gun Ownership Per Capita By State

While Wyoming doesn’t have the most guns of any state, it does have the most guns per person. Based on recent estimates, Wyoming has 245.8 guns per resident. In contrast, New Jersey has only 1.1 guns per resident, making it the lowest gun ownership state per capita.

Percentage of Gun Ownership by State

Montana has the highest percentage of residents who own guns, with 65.7% of the population. Furthermore, New Jersey has the lowest percentage of gun owners (only 8.9% of residents own a firearm).

State Firearm Ownership and Firearm-Related Deaths

Firearm Ownership & Firearm-Related Deaths

There is no direct correlation between gun ownership and firearm-related death. In fact, the five states with the highest firearm-related deaths have relatively low firearm ownership rates.

Firearm Ownership & Firearm-Related Suicides

In 2021, there were 26,328 firearm-related suicides in the U.S. Thirty percent of firearm-related suicides in 2021 occurred in five states that don’t fall in the top ten for gun ownership.

Firearm Ownership & Firearm-Related Homicides

The deadliest states in the U.S. in 2021 regarding firearms were Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, and Georgia. These states are not in the top fifteen for gun ownership.

ATF Seizures and State of Origin

The ATF now tracks firearms recovered and their state of origin. Tracking firearms is important as it indicates which states are contributing to gun crime in strict areas. However, the states with the most guns are rarely the origin place of seized firearms. (Source)

Note: These firearms were recovered by the ATF. They may or may not have been involved in a crime.

Sources

Gun Ownership by State (2023 Statistics) originally appeared on Ammo.com

Published in Guns
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  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Great to see you again, Ammo.com!

    • #1
  2. Barry Jones Thatcher
    Barry Jones
    @BarryJones

    I think the total numbers of firearms in civian hands is low. A website (weaponsman.com) did an analysis of firearms manufacturing from 1990 to 2005 (I think) and came up with over 150 million firearms produced in that timeframe by just the top 15 or manufacturers.  Fir3a4ms have a very slow wear out rate and last a long time (I own one over 100 years old that functions as intended and another that dates from WWII).

    • #2
  3. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Oregon’s permit to own is in court at the present time. As far as Oregon’s State background check Oregon State Troopers have conducted the background check for decades on FFL gun sales.

    The permit to own in Oregon is the result of Ballot Measure 114. I believe it will find its way to the US Supreme Court. It is in violation of the Oregon Constitution.

    • #3
  4. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    I think the total numbers of firearms in civian hands is low. A website (weaponsman.com) did an analysis of firearms manufacturing from 1990 to 2005 (I think) and came up with over 150 million firearms produced in that timeframe by just the top 15 or manufacturers. Fir3a4ms have a very slow wear out rate and last a long time (I own one over 100 years old that functions as intended and another that dates from WWII).

    I’m also having trouble with the arithmetic in some of the charts. The “guns per capita” chart shows about one million guns in Texas, with a population of 29 million people and then states guns per capita of 34.1. But, a million guns among 29 million people is about 0.03 guns per capita (1,000,000 / 29,000,000; which as a Texan I don’t believe). Or a per capita ownership of 34.1 guns across a population of 29,000,000 people is about a billion guns (34.1 * 29,000,000; a number I also don’t believe given the commonly cited estimates of 400 – 500 million total privately owned guns in the United States).

    Also, the chart on Percentage Gun Ownership by State has MO (Missouri) in first place, but the text says Montana (MT) is in first place. 

    The information in these charts is the type of information that should get published – especially the lack of correlation between gun ownership and crime – but I think maybe it needs some further validation. Some college students looking for thesis material or data analysis class looking for projects?

    • #4
  5. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    One of the reasons I think information on the number of firearms in private hands is useful is the number of media reports that pop up in which a bad guy (or a guy the media wants to paint as the bad guy) is reported to have “dozens of” or “over 30” guns, or “over 1,000 rounds of ammunition,” all reported in a manner to imply that person must be planning to start a war. When in fact owning multiple firearms is common among firearms owners.

    One person I know has several guns on his property, many of them for different purposes. Personal protection calls for a different weapon than does protecting his livestock. He even keeps a couple of copies of similar guns loaded with different types of ammunition for different purposes in protecting his livestock (snake killing calls for different ammunition than does coyote killing; rodent killing is different from either snake killing or coyote killing).

    One acquaintance (retired sheriff’s deputy) owns several dozen pistols alone (besides his rifles). Many of those pistols are revolvers, because he (and several of his horses) have participated in many movie and television projects, and different roles called for different types of pistols depending on the historical period being portrayed and the role he is playing in the show. He now collects pistols as a hobby. His pistols take several different calibers of ammunition, so even if he were to keep only a few hundred rounds per pistol, that’s many thousands of rounds stored on his property. 

    Another friend buys ammunition at 1000 rounds minimum to save on shipping costs. Since he easily goes through 300 – 400 rounds in a session at the range as he maintains and improves his skills, having several thousand rounds on hand is prudent. 

    People who have never talked to gun owners about the subject have no idea what is “normal.” 

    • #5
  6. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I also think people who think we need to ban private ownership of guns need help understanding the magnitude of what they claim to want. How do they propose to disarm the 30+% of the population who own guns, especially when many or most of them own multiple guns? (And how many people are going to get killed in the attempts to do so?)

    A future project for students or a class wanting to refine the data further, especially trying to draw any correlation with gun ownership and crime, going down to the county level may be necessary. I keep hearing from police sources that violent crime tends to be geographically concentrated, so even if there is some correlation at a state level between crime and gun ownership, I suspect when examined on a county basis, the correlation becomes much more specific, and thus may depend on local conditions more than state policies. 

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    One of the problems with using polls to determine gun ownership is that gun owners are wary of anyone who asks if they own a gun, what kind, how many, etc.  Some pro-gun scholars have estimated the true number of US gun owners could be even be double what is being reported now (trying to remember where I read that) . . .

    • #7
  8. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    These cannot both be right

    • The United States has the highest per capita rate of civilian firearm ownership at 120.48 firearms per 100 people.
    • Wyoming has the most guns per capita, with 245.8 firearms for every 1,000 residents.

    Please fix.

    • #8
  9. David C. Broussard Coolidge
    David C. Broussard
    @Dbroussa

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I also think people who think we need to ban private ownership of guns need help understanding the magnitude of what they claim to want. How do they propose to disarm the 30+% of the population who own guns, especially when many or most of them own multiple guns? (And how many people are going to get killed in the attempts to do so?)

    The current “plan” is to stop seeling new ones and they think that as they break they cannot be replaced.  They don’t realize that a firearm can easily last 100 years and often longer.  They are tough and durable.

    A future project for students or a class wanting to refine the data further, especially trying to draw any correlation with gun ownership and crime, going down to the county level may be necessary. I keep hearing from police sources that violent crime tends to be geographically concentrated, so even if there is some correlation at a state level between crime and gun ownership, I suspect when examined on a county basis, the correlation becomes much more specific, and thus may depend on local conditions more than state policies.

    It is even more concentrated than that.  This is an older report, and the surge in murders in 20 had different patterns (in large part due to the “mostly peaceful protests”), but it is still important.  The fact is, that you can look as closely as neighborhoods to see murder rates and there are come truly dangerous places to go, and others that are quite safe.  What is weird is that those can be right next to each other.

    • #9
  10. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    I notice NH isn’t in the graphic for firearm related homicides, but is in the graphic for suicides. This is why liberals talk about “gun violence” rather than homicides. There are virtually no gun homicides in NH, while here in MA we have our share. So liberals here in MA talk about “gun violence” rather than gun homicides so they can lump homicides in with suicides and make people think NH is more dangerous than MA.

    • #10
  11. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I notice NH isn’t in the graphic for firearm related homicides, but is in the graphic for suicides. This is why liberals talk about “gun violence” rather than homicides. There are virtually no gun homicides in NH, while here in MA we have our share. So liberals here in MA talk about “gun violence” rather than gun homicides so they can lump homicides in with suicides and make people think NH is more dangerous than MA.

    How about asking the libs about homicides with legal guns, or even ‘gun violence’ with legal guns?

    I’m surprised MA is ranked #48. We may be a blue state but I would estimate at least 80% of the households have at least one gun in my area. 

    Here is a stupid federal law. I was subject to a federal hold on the last two guns I tried purchasing. They refuse to say why. I’m sure it’s because I have been to a lot of sketchy countries. So, my wife buys them with my credit card. No more five day waiting period. If I am okay five days from now, how am I any different? What does a waiting period accomplish after you already have a safe full of legal guns?

    • #11
  12. db25db Inactive
    db25db
    @db25db

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Oregon’s permit to own is in court at the present time. As far as Oregon’s State background check Oregon State Troopers have conducted the background check for decades on FFL gun sales.

    The permit to own in Oregon is the result of Ballot Measure 114. I believe it will find its way to the US Supreme Court. It is in violation of the Oregon Constitution.

    all true.  but it will take a decade to get there

    • #12
  13. Ammo.com Member
    Ammo.com
    @ammodotcom

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    People who have never talked to gun owners about the subject have no idea what is “normal.”

    If you only get your information from the MSM, you live in an outright different reality.

    • #13
  14. Ammo.com Member
    Ammo.com
    @ammodotcom

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I notice NH isn’t in the graphic for firearm related homicides, but is in the graphic for suicides. This is why liberals talk about “gun violence” rather than homicides. There are virtually no gun homicides in NH, while here in MA we have our share. So liberals here in MA talk about “gun violence” rather than gun homicides so they can lump homicides in with suicides and make people think NH is more dangerous than MA.

    Same goes for mass shootings. The official numbers thrown around by anti-gun nuts include gang violence.

    • #14
  15. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    db25db (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Oregon’s permit to own is in court at the present time. As far as Oregon’s State background check Oregon State Troopers have conducted the background check for decades on FFL gun sales.

    The permit to own in Oregon is the result of Ballot Measure 114. I believe it will find its way to the US Supreme Court. It is in violation of the Oregon Constitution.

    all true. but it will take a decade to get there

    Some of the provisions of Measure 114 are on hold due to the current litigation. 114 passed due to the majority of voters that live in Multnomah County, and some that live close to Multnomah County borders, and the usual suspects in the northern I-5 corridor of Oregon. 114 does not have the support of LEO’s in the state. LEO’s are not worried about law abiding gun owners.

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ammo.com (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I notice NH isn’t in the graphic for firearm related homicides, but is in the graphic for suicides. This is why liberals talk about “gun violence” rather than homicides. There are virtually no gun homicides in NH, while here in MA we have our share. So liberals here in MA talk about “gun violence” rather than gun homicides so they can lump homicides in with suicides and make people think NH is more dangerous than MA.

    Same goes for mass shootings. The official numbers thrown around by anti-gun nuts include gang violence.

    And for “school shootings.”  They include events that took place off school grounds and not involving students – but they were within half a mile of a school, or something – and on weekends or at night when school is not open…

    I remember another example that I heard on the Michael Medved show, something about a “study” showing that “most women live most of their lives alone” or something.  Turned out they counted “women” as young as 12 or something, and they counted women who’d been married for decades then widowed…  women whose husbands were serving overseas…

    • #16
  17. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    I own a rifle, mostly for personal history reasons.  A little over 50 years ago it belonged to a teenaged kid who shot me with it in a hunting accident.  My brother acquired it about 10 years ago and gave it to me for a present.

    • #17
  18. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I notice NH isn’t in the graphic for firearm related homicides, but is in the graphic for suicides. This is why liberals talk about “gun violence” rather than homicides. There are virtually no gun homicides in NH, while here in MA we have our share. So liberals here in MA talk about “gun violence” rather than gun homicides so they can lump homicides in with suicides and make people think NH is more dangerous than MA.

    How about asking the libs about homicides with legal guns, or even ‘gun violence’ with legal guns?

    I’m surprised MA is ranked #48. We may be a blue state but I would estimate at least 80% of the households have at least one gun in my area.

    Here is a stupid federal law. I was subject to a federal hold on the last two guns I tried purchasing. They refuse to say why. I’m sure it’s because I have been to a lot of sketchy countries. So, my wife buys them with my credit card. No more five day waiting period. If I am okay five days from now, how am I any different? What does a waiting period accomplish after you already have a safe full of legal guns?

    People talk about “blue states” but most of the blue is concentrated around urban areas in any state. Get away from Boston or Worcester and things start to get pretty red. 

    • #18
  19. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    The statistics are pretty interesting, but, on the whole, likely to be pretty inaccurate. I don’t think there is any record of how many guns I own, and I have friends around the country who have a remarkable number of firearms that are probably not on anyone’s list. 

    I didn’t own a gun until after I spent a year teaching in Juvenile Hall in Seattle. Less than 10% of the kids I worked with did not have a gun charge on their records. When I finally left there I went out and applied for a CCP, got it, and began getting properly armed. Prior to that I never felt the need. After working in Juvenile Hall, I felt naked when not armed.

    • #19
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I notice NH isn’t in the graphic for firearm related homicides, but is in the graphic for suicides. This is why liberals talk about “gun violence” rather than homicides. There are virtually no gun homicides in NH, while here in MA we have our share. So liberals here in MA talk about “gun violence” rather than gun homicides so they can lump homicides in with suicides and make people think NH is more dangerous than MA.

    How about asking the libs about homicides with legal guns, or even ‘gun violence’ with legal guns?

    I’m surprised MA is ranked #48. We may be a blue state but I would estimate at least 80% of the households have at least one gun in my area.

    Here is a stupid federal law. I was subject to a federal hold on the last two guns I tried purchasing. They refuse to say why. I’m sure it’s because I have been to a lot of sketchy countries. So, my wife buys them with my credit card. No more five day waiting period. If I am okay five days from now, how am I any different? What does a waiting period accomplish after you already have a safe full of legal guns?

    People talk about “blue states” but most of the blue is concentrated around urban areas in any state. Get away from Boston or Worcester and things start to get pretty red.

    Probably more useful to think in terms of blue and red counties. 

    • #20
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Chowderhead (View Comment):
    What does a waiting period accomplish after you already have a safe full of legal guns?

    Any kind of waiting period can be extended to as long as a year at a moment’s notice, touted as a much-needed safety measure following a mass shooting . . .

    • #21
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