How Many Firearms Are in the United States?
A question that has become all too common on the minds of citizens while visiting Washington D. C., is how many firearms are in the United States? While it is true that there are a relatively small number of firearms in the states, the amount of them is increasing each and every year, as more individuals decide to purchase firearms from anywhere around the world. Although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms reports that there are not currently any federally licensed firearm dealers in the United States, there are hundreds of unlicensed dealers who sell firearms to individuals, on the internet, and through other methods, who would not otherwise be allowed to have a firearm.
There are two different types of firearm regulation in the United States, at the federal level, and at the state level. At the federal level, there are several legislations which dictate how an individual can transfer a firearm between people. These include the interstate firearms transaction act (ICTA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA). The ICTA makes it legal for individuals to transfer between themselves, between their place of residence and another individual who is not a prohibited person from owning a firearm. The National Firearms Act makes it illegal to sell or transfer to any person any firearm other than those that are kept and used by law enforcement officials.
However, when it comes to how many firearms are in the United States, the answer to this question is not as straightforward as one would assume. As of 2021, there were approximately 3.5 million licensed firearms dealers in the state of Alabama. Of these licensed dealers, nearly half (nearly 45%) of them sold firearms to individuals who did not reside in the state, according to the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation. This number does not include sales of firearms to other parties, including criminals, whom the Bureau of Investigation does not track.
While some states do not differentiate between residential licensed firearms dealers and those that do, others do. Those states that do differentiate place an additional stipulation on how many firearms are in a residence to ensure that there is not a problem with over-regulation, such as when a person has a firearm in his or her home but is not entitled to a firearm card because he or she is ineligible under state law to own one. In addition to regulating how many firearms a person can possess, these types of stipulations also govern how they can get a firearm. Some states allow persons who have been convicted of violent crimes to legally obtain firearms, while others require a person to be evaluated by a mental health agency in order to get a firearm.
Because there are so many variations among the states when it comes to how many firearms are in the United States, it is important to understand how each of these numbers were arrived at. Each of the states has different records regarding how many firearms a person can legally possess. Therefore, it is impossible to know how many firearm records there are at one time. This problem was particularly prominent in the aftermath of the 1994 shooting at the elementary school in Columbine, Colorado. There were no official firearm records available at the time, and several years later, when the shooters were caught, it was discovered that they had a firearms license from another state, which made them eligible to buy firearms even though they had not purchased a gun in Colorado or had any firearm registration with the Colorado State Police. In this case, knowing how many firearms were registered in the state was essential in ascertaining how many firearms were legally possessed in the state.
How many firearms are in the United States is an issue that varies from state to state. As previously stated, some states regulate how many firearms a person can have at one time, while other states only require that a person be evaluated for eligibility to purchase a firearm. The next time you are asked the question about how many firearms are in the United States, it may be necessary to provide multiple answers. The best way to get an accurate answer is to make sure that you understand how each of the states arrived at the number. If you are uncertain of how the numbers were arrived at, it may be necessary to contact your local officials and obtain a copy of the appropriate data.