This Map Shows Where America’s Gun Owners Are

One third of Americans own the country’s 300 million guns.


There are roughly 300 million guns in the United States—nearly enough for each citizen to own one. But those guns are concentrated in the hands of a minority of Americans. Nearly a third of adults owns a gun, according to a new study in the journal Injury Prevention. And gun ownership rates vary widely by state: Alaska tops the list with 62 percent of adults saying they own a firearm; Delaware is at the bottom with just 5 percent.

The study, led by Columbia University public health researcher Bindu Kalesan, analyzed a nationally representative online survey of 4,000 people in 2013. The survey covered a wide range of topics, from how gun owners came to possess their weapons to whether they had taken gun safety classes.

The most likely demographic group to own a gun, according to the study, are white males over 55 who have finished high school and are, or have been, married. Unsurprisingly, gun owners are more than twice as likely as non-owners to be part of a “social gun culture” in which family and friends often own guns and look down on non-gun owners.

Past studies have found higher gun ownership rates are correlated with higher gun death rates, and the findings of the Injury Prevention study appear to confirm that trend. Here’s what we found when we compared gun ownership rates from the study with gun death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Gun deaths result not only in unquantifiable emotional trauma on families and communities, but they’re also associated with higher financial costs. As Mother Jones found in this recent investigation, gun violence cost Americans a whopping $229 billion in 2012. That comes out to more than $1,000 per resident in states with high rates of gun ownership and gun deaths, such as Louisiana, Wyoming, and Alaska.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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