According to the Small Arms Survey of 2017, the United States had a population size of around 326,474,000 people. There were about 393 million firearms in the United States, meaning that there were far more guns than there are people. Additionally, given that not every person in the U.S. owns a gun, many people own multiple or many. This fact still rings true, with the only major difference being that the United States population and the number of guns in the nation have grown in size.
Back in 2017, for every one hundred people in the United States, there were one hundred twenty firearms in the hands of the general public. Of the 393 million firearms in the U.S., only 6.06 million of them are registered.
According to the Pew Research Center, handguns are the most common type of firearm among gun owners. About 39% of men and 22% of women say they own a firearm. Rural households are more likely to own a firearm than urban households, 46% vs. 19%, and those 50 or older have the highest gun ownership rate than other age groups at 33%. Republicans are twice as likely to own a gun than Democrats, and Southern households are more likely to own firearms (36%) than other regions of the U.S.
Guns per Capita by State
Wyoming has, by far, the highest number of guns per capita. Of Wyoming's 581,075 people, there are 132,806 registered guns. The four other states with the highest number of guns per capita are:
Seventeen states have at least 20 guns per capita. Of these states, Texas has the most registered guns, with 588,696. Due to Texas's population size, its guns per capita is 21 per 1,000 people. New Hampshire, which has the second-highest guns per capita, has some of the most relaxed firearm laws in the U.S., including no requirement to register your gun. This is the case in many other states, so it's important to remember that the majority of guns in the U.S. are not registered.
Rhode Island and New York have the lowest guns per capita of 3 per 1,000 people each. These states also have some of the lowest gun ownership overall, with only 14.8% of Rhode Island residents owning a gun and only 19.9% of New York residents owning a gun. The three other states with the lowest guns per capita, all with 5 per 1,000, are:
Similar to Rhode Island and New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have the lowest gun ownership rates in the U.S., with only 14.7% of each state's residents owning a gun. Unlike the states with higher guns per capita, these states all have some of the country's strictest gun laws. For example, New Jersey requires guns to be registered, requires a permit to purchase, a permit to carry, and does not allow open carry. Fortunately, these states also have the lowest numbers of gun deaths. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York have the four lowest number of gun deaths.
Below is a table of each state's total registered guns and the number of registered guns per 1,000 people.