How Many Firearms Are There in the United States?
The question “how many firearms are there in the United States?” is a difficult one. Although we do not have an exact number, we do know that there are millions of guns in the country, and every day there are new ones being made or sold. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms puts out a monthly report on firearm sales. From this report it is estimated that 2.2 million firearms are sold or stolen in the United States each year. We don’t know how many of these are used in crimes, how many of them are acquired legally through gun shows, pawn shops or from family or friends.
To put the number of firearms into perspective, there are fewer licensed cars in the country than there are cars. Firearm sales and theft make up a relatively small portion of the licensed gun dealerships, yet the industry represents a significant percentage of the gross revenues of the entire country. One of every eight handguns is licensed, so we can roughly estimate how many handguns there are. There are close to as many semi automatics as there are rifles, pistols, shotguns and now even shot guns (which used to be prohibited). So the firearm industry has a vested interest in the question of how many firearms there are, since there is a financial incentive to sell guns that will be used in crime.
How does the government track down these firearms? The National Crime Information Center, a division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, maintains records on all firearm transactions that are reported. However, these records do not include firearm transfers between private parties. In other words, the NICS cannot calculate the number of firearms that are sold or stolen because no one knows if the information it contains is accurate.
How do firearms end up in the hands of criminals? firearms are most often obtained legally through a firearm purchase or sale, but there are states that allow felons to buy and possess firearms. Many criminals get their guns from either a friend or family member or even from the local police department when they turn in a firearm that was ordered for collection. Since many states have some type of gun buy-back program, criminals can turn their guns in and get their weapons back.
So how do you know how many firearms are there in the United States? You can’t! The government doesn’t keep count and won’t provide you with that information. It’s impossible to run an accurate count, and therefore the question of how many firearms are in the US is more uncertain than you might think.
How do you find out how many firearms are there in the US? The best way to do this is to visit your local police department and ask how many firearms they have collected in the last year. If you know the serial number of the firearm (the number that indicates how old the firearm is), you can usually get this information by calling the manufacturer. If you don’t know the serial number, you will need to call the manufacturer and inquire about it. A good way to know how many firearms a police department has in their inventory is to visit the website of the department and look up the inventory; you can then see how many firearms the department possesses in their inventory.