Civilian Gun Ownership Surges

HandgunsHandguns are displayed at a trade show in Las Vegas. A new study by the Small Arms Survey released Monday, June 18, 2018, of small arms estimates there are over 1 billion legal and illicit firearms in the world today, including 857 million in civilian hands — with American men and women the dominant owners. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

A new report by the watchdog group ‘Small Arms Survey’ indicates that there are about 1 billion hand weapons in the world, with 85% privately owned by civilians and 4 out of 10 of those weapons being owned by Americans.


Aaron Karp, Small Arms Survey’s senior consultant gave comment upon U.S. gun ownership, saying ‘The indications are that U.S. civilians continue to buy firearms, with acquisitions averaging 14 million guns annually during the last five years.’ –

“The US contributes disproportionately to increases of global firearms stockpiles.” said Karp. Small Arms Survey’s report reflects weapon ownership research from 230 countries.

The United States is in a special position regarding the number of small arms inprivate hands. Although Americans comprise just over 4% of the entire world population, 46% of all privately owned small arms are held in U.S. homes. That averages about 1.2 per capita or about 121 firearms for every 100 Americans.

Examining U.S. gun ownership, the Pew Research Center found that 33% of Americans over 50 years old said that they owned at least one gun. 28% of 18 to 29 year old Americans said the same.

A 2016 survey commissioned by the U.S. National Shooting Sports Foundation, 42% of U.S. hunters/shooters reported owning at least one AR-15 platform (M16 style) rifle.

Yemen & Montenegro take second & third place within the report; with 0.5 & 0.4 weapons held per capita respectively.

However, a tally of total weapons puts India in second place behind the US @ 71 million firearms and China seeing third place @ 50 million total weapons.

Japan saw less than one firearm owned per every 100 residents.

Surveying ownership of revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles, carbines, assault rifles and machine guns held by civilian, military and law enforcement,the Small Arms Survey report estimates that there are currently about 1 billion firearms in the world; a 17% increase over the last 10 years.

In terms of weapons held by law enforcement agencies, Russia is estimated to have the greatest number of weapons held by law enforcement @ 2.4 million weapons, with China @ 1.9 million and India at 1.7 million.

For military stocks of small arms, Russia again tops the list @ 30 million, then China @ 27 million and North Korea @ 8.4 million total weapons held.

The US military is estimated at possessing about 1 million small arm weapons.

Worldwide, 875 million handguns are now tallied as owned by civilians.

© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today