When it comes to guns, there’s a lot to know. Not even the most experienced shooters know everything. This guide with more than 100 facts about guns hopefully includes plenty of information you didn’t already know, to help you widen your knowledge and keep you informed.
Americans owning guns is so deeply ingrained in our society, thanks to the Second Amendment, that many people don’t think twice about it, while many others think something needs to change.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with guns, but it’s important that you know how to use and store it properly if you’re going to carry one.
Types of Guns
There are more types of guns than we could possibly count in the amount of time we have here, but we can easily categorize them into three common groups and divide them by operation.
- Firearms are categorized into three groups: handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
- Types of handguns include revolvers and pistols.
- The most common type of handgun today is a semi-automatic.
- Rifles and shotguns are considered long guns.
- Rifles and shotguns are primarily used for hunting and sport shooting.
- Semi-automatic firearms fire one round every time you pull the trigger. It ejects the shell and then automatically loads another.
- A fully automatic firearm can fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull.
Facts About Gun Ownership
Gun ownership is prevalent in the United States, but there are many different reasons why people choose to own guns. Whether it’s self defense, sport, hunting, or fun, both men and women have them.
- There are 310 million privately owned guns in the United States.
- 30% of American adults own guns.
- An additional 11% live with someone who owns a gun.
- Almost half of American adults grew up in households that had guns.
- Around 60% have friends who own them.
- A whopping 72% of Americans say they’ve fired a gun at least once.
- 55% of those who have fired a gun have never owned one.
- 66% of gun owners have more than one, and 29% own five or more.
- 72% of gun owners own a pistol or a handgun.
- 54% own a shotgun.
- 62% own a rifle.
- ¾ of gun owners say they can’t imagine not owning a gun.
- The number one reason people in the United States own guns is for protection. ⅔ of people who own guns say this is the overwhelming reason why.
- 38% say hunting is why they own a gun.
- 30% of gun owners have them for sport shooting.
- 13% collect guns.
- 8% have them because of their job.
- 65% of men and 71% of women cite protection as the main reason they own a gun.
- Women are far more likely to claim it as the only reason they own one. 27% of women vs. 8% of men say it’s the only reason.
- 43% of men and 31% of women use them for hunting.
- 34% of men and 23% of women use them for sport shooting.
- Rural gun owners are far more likely to cite hunting as the main reason they own a gun while urban owners are more likely to cite protection.
Facts About Concealed Carry
Many states have concealed carry laws and some now don’t even require a permit to carry. Most states will reciprocate other states’ laws if residents are simply passing through. Concealed carry laws affect gun ownership and crime at an alarming rate.
- In states where concealed carry laws were adopted, the FBI crime statistics recorded a decrease in murders by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robberies by 3%.
- Every mass shooting, except for one, in the United States since 1950 has taken place in a state where civilians are not allowed to carry guns.
- There are many instances of concealed carry permit holders stopping violent crimes, like the IHOP employee who shot the man who killed his father in January of 2019 in Huntsville, Alabama.
- Another woman in Chicago, in January of 2019, shot the man who was trying to rob her at a bus stop, resulting in his death.
- Florida has the most concealed carry permits at over 1.7 million and Hawaii has the fewest, at 0.
- In all 50 states, it is legal to carry a concealed firearm, but many states require a permit to do so.
- In some states, permitless carry is allowed, but it takes away critical components like learning gun safety and training first.
- In 35 states and the District of Columbia, the minimum age to conceal carry is 21.
Facts About Gun Laws
Whether you believe gun laws should be stricter, less strict, or they’re fine the way they are, there are plenty of people who agree with you. Gun laws will likely never be at a place where they please everyone, but that doesn’t stop people from trying to change them.
- The majority of Americans believe gun laws should be stricter.
- 28% of Americans say gun laws are just fine.
- 11% say they should be less strict.
- 86% of Democrats think gun laws need to be stricter.
- Only 31% of Republicans think there should be more strict laws.
- Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to believe gun laws are fine the way they are.
- Women are more likely to favor stricter gun laws, at 64% compared to 55% of men.
- Adults who have completed at least four years of college are also more likely to agree that we need stricter gun laws.
- While 8/10 of Republicans think it’s more important to protect gun rights, only 2/10 Democrats say the same.
Facts About Gun Violence
There’s no doubt that gun violence feels like it’s everywhere. However, that’s likely because the media is constantly harping on it. How much you hear about it and the rate at which it actually happens are very different. Here are a few gun violence statistics to shed some light on the controversial issue.
- Almost half (44%) of Americans claim they know someone personally who has been shot, either accidentally or intentionally.
- 57% of black adults can say this compared to 43% of white adults and 42% of Hispanic adults.
- Non-gun owners are less likely to know someone who has been shot.
- About ¼ of Americans have been threatened or know someone who has been intimidated by someone using a gun.
- ⅓ of black adults can stake this claim while ¼ of Hispanics can, and only 20% of white adults.
- The number of gun deaths in the United States in 2017 was more than any other year in more than two decades.
- 40,000 Americans died of gun related injuries in 2017, which was a 19% increase from 2012.
- This number included a 15% increase in suicide and a 25% increase in murder.
- Taking into account population changes, this was still a 14% increase over 2012, but still not nearly as much as the mid 1990s.
- While mass shootings attract a lot of attention, they’re only responsible for 1% of gun deaths.
- The overwhelming cause of gun deaths in the United States is suicide, at 61%.
Facts About Gun Control
Because of all of the perceived gun violence in our country, there are many arguments for more gun control. There are pros and cons to gun control, and it means many different things to different people, but you may be surprised at where we can all agree. Here are just a few compelling facts on gun control.
- While Democrats and Republicans tend to disagree, there are a few gun-related issues where they see eye to eye.
- More than 90% of both parties say they would like to see people with mental illnesses prevented from buying guns.
- Even more from both parties say they are in favor of more background checks for private gun sales, despite the gun show loophole that’s in effect today.
- 88% of Democrats want to ban high-capacity magazines and assault-style weapons. Only about 50% of Republicans agree.
- However, regardless of political party, non-gun owners are much more likely to be in favor of these bans vs. gun owners.
- Debates about gun control are always much higher after mass shootings.
- 47% of Americans believe the number of mass shootings would decrease if the law made it harder to purchase a gun, but 46% say it wouldn’t make a difference.
- Only 6% of people say we would see more mass shootings if the law made it harder to purchase a gun.
Using Guns for Protection
Despite using guns to hurt, there are plenty of areas where they protect. It’s useful to have a gun or to be with someone who does when you find yourself in an unthinkable situation. They can stop a lot of crime. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.
- 3 out of 5 polled felons say they won’t mess with a victim who they know is armed.
- 34% of felons say they have been shot at, scared off, wounded, or captured by a victim who was armed.
- 69% of felons say they know someone who was shot at, scared off, wounded, or captured by a victim who was armed.
- 40% of felons say they decided not to commit the crime because they knew the victim was armed.
As with everything else that’s divisive, guns are no stranger to myth. One of the myths that circulates the most often is that if we couldn’t have guns, there wouldn’t be so much violent crime. Perhaps we should dig into that a little bit deeper.
- It is a myth that if people weren’t allowed to have guns, the amount of violent crime would decrease.
- In fact, the UK is the most violent country in the EU, and the ownership of handguns is prohibited.
- The UK has over 2,000 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The US has 400 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
- There are more than 2 attacks using kitchen knives every minute in the UK, calling for a ban on long kitchen knives by a group of UK doctors.
- Another myth that pro-gun people circulate is that the federal government will regulate and come for all of the guns.
- There’s simply no practical way to round them all up.
- Some gun owners even believe the myth that a gun will go off if dropped. It’s possible, but not probable.
- The Gun Control Act of 1968 implemented very stringent drop testing for all manufactured firearms, ensuring that things like this don’t happen by accident.
Americans love guns. Perhaps more than any other country in the world. We’ve been taught from a young age, and our history supports, that we believe in our right to own them and that guns should be legal. For better or worse, that likely won’t change for a long time to come.
However, there’s no doubt that we could be smarter about it, and it all starts with knowledge. Knowing more about guns, how they are useful, and how they should be cared for goes a long way to protecting our lives and our freedom.