Guns Per Capita by State in 2023

In a nation echoing with the whispers of the Second Amendment, the battle for firearms supremacy rages on, concealed beneath the surface. As shadows grow longer and tensions soar higher, we embark on an audacious journey, daring to expose the enigmatic tapestry of firearms per capita across the United States in 2023.

Join us as we delve into the mysterious metrics of firepower, weaving together an intricate web of statistics of a nation grappling with its love affair with guns.

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming District of Columbia District of Columbia

Total Number of Registered Guns

Guns Per Capita in the US

When the Small Arms Survey conducted their analysis in 2017, the United States brimmed with a population of approximately 326,474,000 souls. Astonishingly, there existed a staggering 393 million firearms within its borders, eclipsing the number of individuals by a significant margin. Notably, not every American possessed a firearm, resulting in a multitude of citizens wielding multiple or even countless weapons. This remarkable truth remains unaltered, albeit with a notable growth in both the nation’s population and the armament count.

To elucidate the ratio, in 2017, for every hundred Americans, 120 firearms lay nestled in the hands of the general public. Out of the vast arsenal of 393 million, a meager 6.06 million bore registration marks.

As the Pew Research Center informs, handguns claim the mantle as the most prevalent firearm among owners. Approximately 39% of men and 22% of women admit to possessing a firearm. A rural dwelling tips the scales, with a 46% likelihood of firearm ownership compared to a mere 19% in urban settings. Among age demographics, those aged 50 and above exhibit the highest rate of gun ownership at 33%. Political affiliation reveals that Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to wield firearms, while Southern households (36%) outpace other regions of the country in gun possession.

20 States with the Highest Numbers of Registered Guns

A significant divergence in firearms per capita exists in the US. Wyoming emerges as the leader, with an astounding 229 guns per 1,000 individuals, while Rhode Island and New York claim the lowest counts at 3 per 1,000 people. New Hampshire, New Mexico, Virginia, and Alabama secure positions among the top five states with the highest guns per capita. Notably, the majority of firearms nationwide remain unregistered. 

Rhode Island and New York exhibit low gun ownership rates, on the other hand, while Massachusetts and New Jersey boast the lowest. These states implement strict gun laws, resulting in lower rates of gun deaths.


Total Number of Registered Guns 



















North Carolina










South Carolina






New Mexico




Gun Violence in the US

Within the United States, gun violence statistics paint a disconcerting picture. A staggering seventy-two percent of all murders involve firearms. Disturbingly, sixty percent of adult firearm deaths are the result of suicide, as highlighted by the Department of Justice. Annually, the nation witnesses over 33,000 gun-related deaths, reaching a peak of 39,773 in 2017—the highest figure since 1986. Among these fatalities, 23,854 lives were lost to suicide, while 14,542 were victims of homicides, equating to twelve deaths per 100,000 individuals and seven deaths per 100,000 individuals, respectively.

What Can Be Done to Reduce Gun Violence?

  • Implement comprehensive background checks for all firearm purchases, closing potential loopholes.

  • Enforce stricter regulations on gun show sales and private transfers to ensure accountability.

  • Establish a nationwide gun registry to track ownership and facilitate law enforcement efforts.

  • Introduce mandatory waiting periods for purchasing firearms, allowing for a thorough evaluation.

  • Strengthen mental health assessments and screenings in the gun purchasing process.

  • Enhance education and public awareness campaigns on responsible gun ownership.

  • Promote community-based gun buyback programs to reduce the number of firearms in circulation.

  • Invest in research and development of smart gun technology to enhance safety features.

  • Enact red flag laws enabling temporary firearm removal for individuals deemed high risk.

  • Increase funding for mental health services to address underlying issues contributing to gun violence.

  • Encourage responsible storage practices through incentives and public awareness campaigns.

  • Support community-based violence prevention programs and conflict resolution initiatives.

  • Collaborate with law enforcement agencies to improve intelligence gathering and enforcement efforts against illegal firearms trafficking.

  • Foster stronger international collaborations to address cross-border smuggling of firearms.

  • Encourage gun manufacturers to develop advanced safety mechanisms and promote their adoption.


Guns Per Capita: Conclusion

In conclusion, the United States stands at a crossroads in terms of gun ownership and its implications. Balancing individual rights and public safety demands innovative solutions. 

From comprehensive background checks to promoting responsible storage, a multifaceted approach is essential. Stricter regulations, coupled with mental health assessments, can pave the path toward a safer society. Investment in research, smart gun technology, and violence prevention programs holds promise.


How does gun ownership vary across different states in the US?

Gun ownership varies significantly across states, with some states exhibiting higher rates than others. Factors such as cultural norms, population demographics, and firearm legislation contribute to these variations. States with looser gun control regulations often have higher estimated civilian gun ownership.

Are there states with a higher prevalence of gun owners?

Yes, some states have a higher percentage of people that bear arms compared to others. Factors like rural versus urban demographics, historical traditions of hunting or self-defense, and regional attitudes towards gun rights can influence the prevalence of gun owners.

How does the rate of gun ownership impact gun deaths?

The rate of civilian firearms per capita has been linked to higher rates of gun deaths, including both firearm suicides and homicides. However, it's important to note that gun ownership alone is not the sole determining factor. Socioeconomic factors, mental health, and access to firearms also play significant roles.

Are most guns in the US owned by individuals with multiple guns?

Yes, a substantial portion of firearms in the US is owned by individuals who possess multiple guns. Some gun enthusiasts and collectors accumulate multiple firearms for various purposes such as sport shooting, self-defense, or historical interest.

How does gun control affect civilian gun ownership?

Gun control measures, such as background checks, waiting periods, and restrictions on certain types of firearms, can impact civilian gun ownership rates. Stricter gun control measures often correlate with lower civilian gun ownership levels, while looser regulations may result in higher rates of ownership.

Where can individuals purchase firearms in the US?

Firearms can be legally purchased from licensed gun stores, authorized dealers, and at gun shows, subject to applicable federal, state, and local regulations. It is essential to adhere to the necessary legal requirements and background checks when acquiring firearms.

What is the connection between firearm suicides and gun ownership?

Studies suggest a correlation between higher rates of civilian gun ownership and an increased risk of firearm suicides. Access to firearms in moments of emotional distress can pose a significant risk. Implementing preventive measures, such as safe storage practices and mental health support, is crucial in reducing firearm suicides.

Which state has the highest number of guns per capita?

Wyoming currently holds the distinction of having the highest estimated civilian gun ownership per capita among US states. The unique cultural, historical, and legal landscape in Wyoming contributes to its high prevalence of firearms.

How do gun deaths vary across states?

Gun death rates can vary widely across states due to a combination of factors, including gun ownership rates, socioeconomic disparities, crime rates, and the effectiveness of gun control measures. States with higher rates of gun ownership and less stringent firearm regulations often experience higher gun death rates.

Get in touch
Terms of Use