Every day we are bombarded with ads about the need to arm ourselves “with the right weapons.” But, how many firearms are in the United States? This is one of the questions that haunts the minds of people who visit our shores on vacation. Estimates range from a few hundred thousand to over five million firearms. The difference between any of those numbers is staggering.
A lot of the firearms that are legally registered to owners and are kept in storage bays at gun stores, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and other such places are guns that were purchased in different states. It is also considered a felony for a convicted felon to own a firearm. So any felons trying to get their guns registered will have no problem doing so. But, in order to get a concealed carry permit, which is required for most states, they must go through a waiting period.
Rifles are a big part of our gun culture. Many times hunters will use AR-type rifles when they go hunting. These large rifles can shoot one, two, or three shots depending on the game that is being shot. Rifles are the most popular of all firearms. They are also the most commonly stolen item from homes in the United States.
Hand guns are another type of firearm. They are smaller than rifles. They are easy to conceal and most criminals do not like them. One study showed that homes with one or more handguns were much easier to break into than homes that had rifles and handgun owners.
In fact, thefts of firearms are up fourfold in some states compared to where they were when the Second Amendment was adopted. If the United States wants to reduce its crime rate, it needs to address this growing problem immediately. How many times have we, as citizens, been victims because of someone else’s misuse of a firearm?
Luckily, there are ways of reducing the number of firearms that end up in the wrong hands. One way is to require a background check for anyone who purchases a firearm. Another is to ban the purchase of all assault weapons and make handguns carry restrictions. The other way is to regulate the use of the firearm when it is not intended to be fired. The bottom line is that we need to know how many firearms are in the United States so that we can better protect ourselves.