How Many Firearms in the US: A Brief Count
The question “How many firearms in the USA?” has been contemplated by those who are interested in the subject matter of guns for years but it was only until recently that it came up in a court of law or was raised in a court of public opinion. Unfortunately, we are not in the 1950’s where statistics on this topic can be found easily but what is surprising is that this question still remains open to debate.
It is important to note that the Second amendment of the constitution gives the right to bear arms to individuals “of the United States and also to those persons who belong to a military regiment in any State.” The amendment also specifies that the right does not extend to all law abiding citizens. Those who keep a firearm for personal use do not have a right to possess firearms unless they can show that the use of the firearm would likely cause them to danger or loss of life. Those who buy firearms to avoid the regulations required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) must face a mandatory waiting period of three months from the time of purchase. Those who buy firearms to procure weapons for hunting or self defense must undergo a waiting period of three days from the time of purchase. There are exceptions to these waiting periods and if you are caught in violation of the law you may be held criminally liable.
If we want to know how many firearms in the US can be legally possessed, there are a couple of ways of figuring this out. One way is to take an average size rifle and divide it by the number of people in the population (including those who own fewer than twenty firearms). The resulting figure is the number of firearms per 100 people.
If the rifles are the most common firearms in the country (and there are a lot of different types of rifles), then we can find the corresponding number of rifles in the US by dividing the population by the total number of people. In order to do this, we must divide each state either in half or by the number of counties within a state. This brings up a couple of questions. One is how we arrive at the county/state divide? The other question is how we arrive at the county/state/ congressional districts divide?
Once we have established how many firearms in the US a particular type of weapon can be found in, how do we get a more accurate count? The easiest way to do this is to add all rifles that can be registered to a single gun owner in any district or county to a master firearm record database. These databases are maintained by licensed firearm dealers who pay a fee to the government in exchange for access to their records. These master records contain all records relating to a particular type of firearm, including who owns it, where it was registered, and what number of guns were registered with the firearm dealer in question. This information is available to all law abiding citizens who can pass a background check.
If you’re wondering how many firearms in the US a particular kind of gun can be found in, there’s another system that gives a more complete answer. This system goes by several names; Firearms Ownership and Use Survey (FOS) and National Firearms Registration (NFRS). The important thing to note about these two different systems is that they are designed to calculate an overall population count of how many firearms are in the US. Both of these methods use the same basic counting methodology, but focus on how many firearms per population in each state.