Firearms Facts in America

Firearm Facts in America
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Firearms Facts in America

Gun ownership and the right to bear arms is a proud and essential tradition in America and a deeply ingrained part of American culture.

The right to bear arms is a cornerstone of individual freedom and a fundamental right that should be fiercely defended.

Whether for hunting, self-defense, or simply collecting, millions of Americans own guns and have used them for various purposes dating back to the frontier days of the Wild West to modern times.

However, with gun violence and mass shootings making headlines all too often, it's essential to clearly understand the facts and figures surrounding guns in the United States.

Learn more about firearm trends in America by exploring key gun facts and statistics ranging from ownership rates to crime stats.

Gun Ownership in America
Gun Owning Households in America
Criminal Acquistion of Gun in America

Things That Kill More People Than Rifles

Here is a list of 5 things politicians could ban that would save more lives than an AR "Assault" rifle ban. *True Fact, you are nearly twice as likely to be killed by being punched or kicked than you are by being shot by an AR-style rifle.

Items more dangerous than a rifle

Source: Data from FBI and
Rifle homicides in 2019 were 364

Firearm Myths vs Firearm Facts

Firearm Myth: H.R. 8/ S. 42 Only Apply to Firearms Sales/Transfers at Gun Shows.

Firearm Fact: "Universal" Background Checks Legislation Criminalizes Otherwise Law-Abiding Gun Owners.

"Universal" background check laws, as referred to by gun control advocates, would essentially make it illegal for private individuals to transfer guns to each other, even if they are close friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members.

It may seem like these laws would prevent felons and other prohibited individuals from obtaining firearms, but in reality, most criminals acquire guns through illegal means such as the black market. These laws end up criminalizing the simple act of handing a firearm to another person, without actually making anyone safer.

Firearm Myth: "Universal" Background Checks Would Have Stopped High-Profile Shootings.

Fact: High-Profile Shooters PASSED Background Checks.

Going back to the VA Tech shooting in 2007, Not a single one of the cases did a perpetrator buy his weapon through an "unregulated private sale," through "the Internet," or in "the parking lot at a gun show."  

Recent attackers and alleged attackers who have passed background checks for their guns. These include the attackers in the following incidents:

  • Thousand Oaks, California
  • Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Pennsylvania
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida
  • Sutherland Springs, Texas
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Pulse nightclub, Florida
  • Umpqua Community College, Oregon 
  • Roanoke news crew shooting, Virginia
  • Lafayette theater shooting, Louisiana
  • Chattanooga National Guard shooting, Tennessee
  • Charleston church shooting, South Carolina
  • Santa Barbara campus shooting, California
  • Navy Yard, Washington, DC
  • Sikh Temple, Wisconsin
  • Aurora Theater, Colorado 
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Fort Hood, Texas

Firearm Myth: 97% of Americans Support So-Called "Universal" Background Checks.

Firearm Fact: When put before voters, these measures did not come close to garnering 97 percent of the vote.

The gun control lobby likes to cite that 97 percent of Americans support so-called "universal" background checks. However, when put before American voters, the measures did not come close to garnering 97 percent of the vote. In some instances, they failed to get a majority of the vote or barely passed. The following ballot initiatives on "universal" background checks show the statewide support in the context of how much money gun control advocates spent versus those opposed to it. 

  • In 2014, supporters of a Washington State ballot initiative, I-594, outspent opponents by almost 19-1. Despite the supporters' overwhelming financial advantage, the measure garnered only 59% of the votes.

  • In Nevada, a 2016 "universal" background check ballot initiative passed by less than one percent of the vote, despite Bloomberg and Everytown outspending opponents by a margin of 3-1.

    Nevada's poorly written background check law has since been found unenforceable by the state Attorney General, in part because the FBI refuses to conduct the expanded background checks. The Bureau has determined that the State of Nevada "…cannot dictate how federal resources are applied."

  • In Maine, a majority of voters rejected an Everytown-backed 2016 ballot initiative on "universal" background checks despite a more than 6-1 spending advantage by gun control proponents.

Firearm Myth: "Universal" background checks are a gun safety measure.

Firearm Fact: "Universal" background checks have nothing to do with addressing crime.

Proponents of expanded background checks claim that they want to stop dangerous people from obtaining firearms, but there is no evidence that expanded background checks are useful for this purpose.

Just last year, a study by anti-gun researchers confirmed that expanded background checks in California did not reduce gun homicides or gun suicides. This finding is consistent with a review of past studies on expanded background checks by the RAND Corporation that found that "evidence of the effect of private-seller background checks on firearm homicides is inconclusive."

These studies confirm that anti-gun members of Congress aren't interested in actually addressing violent crime; they're just trying to deflect the blame on law-abiding gun owners.

Additional Resources

  • American Gun Facts. A Factual Look at Guns in America. (Website)

  • 2021 National Firearms Survey. William English. July 16, 2021. (PDF)

  • Crime Prevention Research Center. “UPDATED: Mass Public Shootings keep occurring in Gun-Free Zones: 94% of attacks since 1950” June 2018. (PDF)
  • FBI. Crime in the United States. 2019. (PDF)
  • Gallup. “What Percentage of Americans own guns?” Nov 13 2020. (PDF)
  • Kids Count Data Center. “Total population by child and adult populations in the United States”.,37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133/39,40,41/416,417 (PDF)
  • Macrotrends. “U.S. Murder/Homicide Rate 1990-2022” (PDF)
  • Monga Bay. “Most Common Causes of Death Due to Injury in the US” (PDF)
  • National Research Council 2013. Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. (PDF)
  • National Sheriffs Association. “EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY TO DECREASE LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE TIME” February 28, 2016. (PDF)
  • NORC at the University of Chicago. “One in Five American Households Purchased a Gun During the Pandemic”. March 24, 2022. (PDF)
  • Small Arms Survey. “Global Firearms Holdings. ” March 29, 2020. (PDF)
  • Social Medicine. “Gaps continue in firearm Surveillance: Evidence from a large U.S. city Bureau of Police”. (PDF)
  • Statista. “Number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. from 1986 to 2019”. October 2021. (PDF)
  • Statista. “Number of justifiable homicides by law enforcement officers and private citizens in the United States from 2007 to 2020” (PDF)
  • University of Chicago Law School. David B. Mustard & John Lot. “Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns.” 1996. (PDF)
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Police and Detectives”. (PDF)
  • U.S. Department of Justice. “The Armed Criminal in America – A Survey of Incarcerated Felons.” July 1985. (PDF)
  • U.S. Department of Justice. “Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016”. January 2019. (PDF)
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