In a new study published by the Small Arms Survey estimates that American civilians own owning just under 400 million guns. Worldwide it’s estimated that civilians own nearly 1 billion firearms, with India a very, very distant second to the US.
American Civilians Estimated To Own 400 Million Firearms
The report published by the Swiss-based research centre in June estimates that the number of firearms owned globally by civilians, military and law enforcement totals around 1.1 billion. With American civilians owning 393 million of those or 40% of the world’s firearms. That’s more than those held by civilians in the other top 20 countries combined.
It is difficult to quantify exactly how many firearms are privately owned in the US. There many numbers suggested by numerous sources with estimates ranging between 250 million to as high as 600 million. The Small Arms Survey’s estimations are based upon official firearms registration databases, expert estimates, surveys and comparisons to similar countries on page 8 of their report the Small Arms Survey go into detail on how they computed their estimates.
The report makes use of a number of tables and diagrams to break down the data and perhaps the most interesting is he first pie chart, seen below. It shows how over 1 billion firearms around the world are distributed with civilian ownership, at an estimated 857 million, by far the largest group.
HOW DO THE NUMBERS BREAKDOWN BY COUNTRY?
Here’s Small Arms Survey’s table showing the estimated total civilian-held legal and illicit firearms in the 25 top ranked countries and territories, 2017:
United States 393,300,000
Russian Federation 17,600,000
Saudi Arabia 5,500,000
South Africa 5,400,000
Just over 10 years ago, in 2007, the Small Arms Survey published a similar report that estimated that 650 million guns were owned world wide. The report also believed that 270 million of these were owned by US civilians. This clear increase shows that the US civilian market is the foremost driver behind the increase in firearms ownership in the world. The latest report suggests that 120 firearms are owned per 100 people in the US. By this metric the next country to hold a substantial number of guns per 100 people is Yemen, with 53 guns per 100 people. Japan and Indonesia have the lowest number of guns per 100 people, both with an average of just just 0.3 guns per 100 people.
The report’s author, Aaron Karp, said that “with acquisition averaging around 14 million guns annually during the last five years, growth of civilian holdings in the United States contributes disproportionately to the increase of the global firearms stockpile.”
Small Arms Survey have also created a dedicated interactive map that shows the distribution of firearms globally and by civilian, military and law enforcement ownership. Check it out here.