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America’s Guns Problem: Figures Exceed US Population

Although it is tough to know how many guns United States has but it is clear that the figure has exceeded the country’s own population.

Image Credit: M&R Glasgow | Flickr

As things stand, there is no way to exactly find out the number of guns people own in the United States. Most of the estimates are taken from federal records of firearms that are manufactured, imported and exported by the local gunmakers.

One month before the Sandy Hook school shooting incident, a Congressional Research Service report estimated the number of civilian firearms to be at 242 million in 1996, 259 million in 2000 and 310 million in 2009.

Firearms surpass the U.S. population

The survey from 2009 was the first time that firearms in circulation surpassed the country’s population which makes for a grim reading for a country that is currently involved in a serious global crackdown on terrorism.

Taking gun exports out of the mix and adding up new guns, in 2013, there are roughly 357 firearms in the United States – 40 million more than people. Although this is just a rough estimate, the numbers are really surprising to say the least. Moreover, these numbers do not include firearms that enter or exit the country illegally.

Philip J. Cook of the Duke University thinks that the estimates don’t properly account for such an attrition and claims that around one percent of American gun stocks are either lost, destroyed or broken each year. These estimates have been recorded since 1899 and if every situation is included in those estimates, it would mean that since 2011, United States has somewhere around 245 million firearms.

In 2007, the global Small Arms Survey estimated the number of civilian firearms in the United States to be somewhere around 270 million. However, according to Gary Kleck who is a criminologist at the Florida State University, every survey...


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