OWN HALF THE COUNTRY’S 265 MILLION GUNS
Study: Desire to own gun, perception of risk don’t correlate
Despite steep declines in violent crimes, an estimated 70 million firearms were added to American arsenals the past two decades, according to a new landmark study on gun ownership.
Overall, Americans own an estimated 265 million guns — more than one gun for every American adult, according to the study by researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities. Half of those guns — 133 million — were in the hands of just 3% of American adults, “super owners” who possessed an average of 17 guns each, it showed.
The survey, the most authoritative since 1994, is under peer review for publication in a trade journal.
Researchers found that the top reason people owned guns was for protection from other people, even though the rate of violent crime has dropped significantly the past two decades, said Deborah Azrael, director of research at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and one of the study’s authors.
Azrael said the study tried to update numbers and trends. Separate reports on background checks and gun storage, based on the same survey, are scheduled to be released later this year.
“In a country where 35,000 people a year die by firearms, we haven’t been able to come out with a survey on gun violence for 20 years,” she said. “That’s a real failure of public health and public policy.”
Over the years, Congress has pulled funding from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to deter in-depth reviews of gun violence, said Daniel Webster, a gun violence researcher at Johns Hopkins Americans, estimated, own guns. of the U.S. population owned guns last year, compared with 25% owning guns in 1994. are stolen each year. of gun owners in America are white or multiracial, compared with 16% of Hispanics and 14% of African Americans. are estimated nationwide, a 71% increase from 65 million handguns in 1994. University.
The Harvard/Northeastern study is important because it examines the number of guns found in respondents’ home and their motivation for owning them, he said. “People’s perception of risk and need to have a gun does not correlate with their actual risk,” Webster said.
The super owners consisted of an estimated 7.7 million Americans and owned between eight and 140 guns each. Nearly half of gun owners owned just one or two guns.
More than half of all suicides in the USA — or about 21,000 a year — are committed with a firearm, according to the CDC.
Philip Cook, a Duke University researcher and co-author of the landmark 1994 study, said Azrael’s study is important in further understanding gun deaths. “The very idea that something as fundamental as many how many Americans own guns is only measured once every 20 years seems surprising,” he said. “But that’s the world we live in.”
55 MILLION 22% 300,000600,000 GUNS 25% 111 MILLION HANDGUNS