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By Brian Belko via

Americans own a lot of guns. That doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the thing that may surprise you is just how those numbers compare with those of other countries. The sheer amount of firepower owned in each state is pretty impressive. Find your state on the gun infographic below and see where it stacks up . . .

The folks at the Movoto Real Estate Blog did some research to create this gun infographic. It’s eye-opening to see just how much firepower the different states have when compared to other countries.


The top three states in gun ownership are California, Texas, and New York and those three states compare favorably to some pretty big countries in firepower. California has almost as many guns as China. Texas is comparable to Germany. And New York nearly matches Pakistan’s firepower.

These numbers show that guns and their owners are here to stay. Still, the debate about gun “safety” laws will continue to rage.

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  1. As a south african, I am impressed. Can somebody explain how New York and California can have such restrictive gun laws with so many gun owners?

    • They don’t. The survey takes an estimate of all the guns in the US per person and then distributed them per capita around the country. It’s a wild fantasy.

      • This. I’m rather disappointed in TTAG for this. Movoto even said point-blank that they used the method you described, which doesn’t account for restrictions or interest in ownership.

        • Without a shadow of a doubt. I don’t know 1 person that isn’t armed in Indiana. Most have MULTIPLE guns. Mine are measured in the dozens.

      • I knew something seemed fishy, it seemed that all the ratios seemed similar across the states.

      • Fantasy? I am a gun owner and I have more than one. I collected them because of the individual sports that I participate in. But in the event of a natural or man made disaster I have a few people that I trust whom I plan to arm for mutual self defense.

      • Yes, looks like there are 88.8% as many guns as people in each of the 50 states. That’s about as useless as a stat can get.

        • Absolutely misleading. Arizona has more guns than New York, I’m guessing.

          CBS did a study and for theirs they used “registered guns.” That’s probably an even worse methodology.

      • I can blow this survey out with my personal family and friends . No where near accurate and they can’t actually get a real count to make a survey worth printing considering all the hand me downs and numbers of guns purchased prior to the 1990’s .
        Worthless dribble .

      • Bingo. This is total BS. Notice that in every state, guns owned = exactly .888 times state population. Texans actually own approximately 51 million guns. NOT 22 million as claimed here. Sorry.

    • There are 8+ million gun owners in CA. Which means there are 22+ million non gun owners in CA. With that apparent disparity in voting strength and the rampant corruption in our state ,gov it really isn’t any wonder we have such crappy gun laws.

      But, we’re #1. Those of us that own guns in CA are overachievers.

      • F Yeah! I know I have around 50 firearms in my collection – roughly (if you know exactly how many you have, you don’t have nearly enough). So I am definitely one that gives California fire power. Safely. And proudly so.

    • While it’s more difficult today to purchase a firearm in those states, it still can be done. Years ago, they didn’t have to jump through so may hoops, wait as long or pay as many fees so may of the guns owned have been accumulating for years. Those 33 million CA firearms weren’t just purchased in the last ten years or so. That said, the ability for many of those firearm owners to “legally posses” them outside of the home (i.e. carry them) is not too likely in a lot of areas of those states.

    • Not sure about NY, but CA until recently had no special ID card necessary to purchase firearms. In the early 90s they introduced the handgun safety certificate, a very very basic questionnare you had to score 80% on to get a scrap of paper that said you were allowed to buy handguns, and was initially good for life. Then it became a once every 5 years thing, now it may be every other year you have to renew. It was administered by FFLs who had paid the vigorish to Sack’o’tomatoes to be allowed to administer the test for $25.

      Now, it applies to all guns, long arms and handguns. As long as the handgun or long arm is not banned by name or feature, and the handgun is on the roster, you pay, do a NICS check, then wait 10 days to the minute to take possession of your firearm.

      It’s a hassle, but not an insurmountable one. Yet.

      This speaks volumes to how actual CA residents feel vs. the filth that the pols in LA and Sack’o’tomatoes are vomiting forth at regular intervals with regards to gun ownership.

    • New York City has very restrictive licensing for all guns, and the handgun permit process is quite painful, though not as bad, elsewhere in the state as well, but the long guns are easy to buy outside NYC. California purchasing laws are not a big deal.

      Here is one place with recent ownership rate statistics:
      I suspect the reported percentages are gun-owning households, not individuals, but I would need to chase it down further to clarify that.

        • Yours is such a typical, under informed, xian, right-wing-gun-nut, feeble minded sheeple type of response that there should be filters on Internet boards like this to prevent your idiotic drivel from ever being displayed. It’s the same ignorant vomit that all the moronic, xian NRA zombies always spew forth when you feel the need to express an opinion. The problem is that it’s not your opinion. You obviously don’t have or are incapable of forming your own opinion so you just flap your lips and regurgitate whatever crap you can remember that the last xian idiot plopped down within earshot of you and somehow you remembered it. I’m surprised you didn’t quote the bible here because I’m sure that you’ve been told about how god wrote the bible to protect our nation from immigrants and politicians who want to take away your god given right to own guns. Please die before you procreate, we’ve enough idiots in this world already.

    • Restrictive gun laws apply mainly to handguns, and not rifles and shotguns. There are a lot of hunters in Upstate New York, for example.

    • In California the restrictions mainly are time-constraints and magazine capacity, not quantity — and California as a Western state with the Gold Rush history has a lot of places where gun-ownership is practically historically required – not to mention the very large hunting-areas. And my guess is that the actual number is quite a bit under-reported. Most CA gun-owners I know have more than two or even three.

  2. PA representing in the top 5! We really do cling to our guns and religion. That might be the only true thing the traitor in the White House has ever said.

    • Being from Pa I certainly don’t cling to any religion, but I know what you mean. The only thing I cling to is my family. That is why I have guns.

    • I’ve said for years, slice off Philly, Pittsburgh and their surrounding counties and PA would slide right in between Georgia and Alabama.

      We don’t talk the same but we’d get along just fine.

  3. Okay, let me get this straight. First, the site used a SWISS estimate of total gun ownership in the US (88.8 guns per 100 people). Then, it simply took the population of each state and multiplied it by .888 to determine the number of guns therein.

    Pardon me, but this is a total load of crap.

    • Good catch. And you would be correct…..load of crap. If the anti gun crowd would use statistics like that, we’d be going ape$h!T on them about now. Just wasted 10 minutes of my life I won’t get back.

    • You nailed it. Beyond the percentage sham, we in the US don’t have an accurate estimate but some Swiss group has it covered? Oh please can we get more lies about guns and opinions about them from other countries? We all love it so much because we don’t get enough of the lies here. The whole thing ranks pretty high among gun related lies and un-formation.

    • Ralph,
      You are onto it. I swear I’ve seen this graphic before with the same flawed 88% number, before.

    • The problem with nukes is that you have to maintain them. They’re not like guns, where you can keep them lubed, clean, in a nice dry place and they’re ready for action anywhere from one day to once century from now.

      Noooo. With nukes, you have to remember that your fissile material is degrading as it sits there on the shelf. Consider, for example, a boosted fission weapon. Let’s reckon on a plutonium sphere design with tritium injected into the core as it is being compressed into criticality. Well, your tritium has a half-life of 12.7 years, which means that you regularly need to get some new tritium put into the reservoir every few years in order to maintain the design’s projected neutron flux in the explosion. It’s all work, work, work, polishing, shining, updating…. year after year.

  4. My guess is that like here in CT the power at the poll is controlled by the democrat party. CT has lotsa guns per capita yet some of the most restrictive rules in the nation. democrats rule the roost and run roughshod over our state and American Constitution…unions, one party rule, apathy….

  5. This table is bogus. CA, Texas, NH, VT and Maine all have the same percentage of guns divided by population, 88.8%. I wanted to put each state into a spreadsheet to see how they compared but it would not copy & paste.

    • Which goes to show you, they don’t really know how many guns are in each state.

      And they don’t like that.

      It’s also none of their business.

      • I bet we’re gonna hear, *this week*, a plan to increase their knowledge about who owns what! I will not comply.

  6. If you go to original article and read the methodology, these number have no bearing at all on how many guns are in each of the states. They merely took the nationwide estimate of 270 million guns and distributed that evenly across the population. Then they compared the state populations to different countries.

    Meh, nobody will have any hard numbers until there is full registration. Even, then there will still be millions of “undocumented” firearms.

    • 270 million, huh? When was that, given that more than 22 million were sold in the past 2 months?

      • Exactly. The last estimate I read was 300+ million and climbing rapidly. Then they divide the number evenly between the states. That makes no sense and invalidates most of the comments typed here.

  7. A theoretical match to England and Wales.
    I’m not sure if that’s good or an embarrassment….

  8. The estimate for # of guns owned in Wyoming is absurdly low. Absurdly. That’s probably less than one-third of the actual guns owned in this state.

  9. The .gov and .prog dorks can think whatever they want, but there is no way on Earth that Wisconsin has fewer guns than residents. I would not be shocked to learn that the real ratio is two to one, or better. And, to borrow a turn of phrase from our Southern friends, Lord willin’ and the lakes don’t drain, we’ll never know.

    Not directly on point, but every year come deer season the story makes the rounds on the local media outlets that Wisconsin’s deer hunters become the eighth largest army in the world.

  10. Yay>Illinois=Yemen! I’m thinkin’ the Land Of Lincoln # may be a mite low. Massive gun ownership downstate in the hunting/outdoorsy culture. And “illicit” Chiraq shite…every blade of grass indeed.

  11. What a waste of a good topic. It would be cool to see estimates of actual guns per state by population, but not this peanut butter spread approach.

    • Well, we already knew from the housing melt-down that realtors, mortgage lenders and bankers engage in mathematical onanism writ most large…

  12. “These numbers show that guns and their owners are here to stay. Still, the debate about gun safety laws will continue to rage.”

    Did you really say that? “gun safety laws”?

  13. Bad math…bad data as others have mentioned. Didn’t TTAG run this same article a few months ago? Pretty sure you did.

  14. The number of guns in several states nearly equals total population. Since there is such a contest regarding gun ownership, one must conclude that there is no correlation between the number of guns, and the population count. Else, the voting block of gun owners would be so overwhelming there would be no political appetite for restrictions on guns. Pen mighter than the sword?

  15. I was mad that Alaska didn’t have guns that outnumbered citizens. Then I read the methodology. All is right with the world again.

  16. The method of “data gathering” makes the resulting information false and useless. I’m surprised to see it published here.

  17. Nobody knows how many firearms are in the United States, much less by State.
    There are likely 400 million firearms in the US, or damn near that number. Which is way more than one per person.

  18. I can understand not wanting to do any work on a Sunday, and I’d rather visit your site and see nothing new than read a rubbish article like this. Come on, TTAG, you folks are better than this.

  19. According to FBI NICS data, Indiana has added about 2.6 million firearms to the private supply (counting only non-NFA handguns and long guns), in the past 10 years alone.

    To claim that Indiana has a total supply of only 5.7 million is simply absurd.

  20. Kleck pretty much started trying actual data on how many ‘civilian’ guns there are in the US; his 1997 book “Targeting Guns” shows a 1994 estimated total of 235 million. (Gee, almost 20 years old already …) That table 3.1 has brief notes on the data sources.

    Then, there are the BATF reports on manufacturing and import/export here: 2007 – 2014 are available there.

    If one takes Kleck’s data and drops it into Excel, and then tells Excel to project the line (I’ve done this), it comes out to about 1 gun per person.

    But no method of getting the distribution more finely than the whole country seems, to me, to be useful.

    • FBI publishes state-by-state annual NICS data. One could use those data to formulate some assumptions, and then use those assumptions to come up with reasonable, weighted distributions of firearms by state. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would likely be more accurate than this nonsense.

      • There are some known bugs in that attempt. For example, Kentucky seems to run NICS on all of their CCW holders, every month.

        And, of course, that excludes transactions that occurred before NICS was required on some transfers (all those old family guns) as well as NICS-exempt transactions in states where that is legal (No-FFL required, that is).

        Picking on CA, since that’s where I live, we don’t even use NICS – we have a sort-of equivalent. And, since substantially all of our transfers must use an FFL, we can’t tell if a sale is a new gun swelling the ranks, or an old gun finding a home with a new owner.

        • FBI breaks out NICS check by type. I assume monthly permit checks in KY would show up as “permit” type, not as a handgun purchase, long gun purchase, or “other” purchase type.

          And while it is true that you can’t extrapolate data, you can use NICS data to make assumptions about pre-NICS baseline data.

  21. The stats here are probably fairly BS but if they are somewhere in the ball park does it mean we have more than those countries added together? Ye Ha!!

  22. This is a disappointing article. I thought someone actually took the time to figure out real world numbers for each state, as the title advertised. The article is useless and misleading. Take is down, please.

  23. NY and blue state areas need to be disarmed. If they give up quietly, that’ll be nice, but we’ll prepare otherwise.

  24. @Chip Bennett
    “And while it is true that you can’t extrapolate data, you can use NICS data to make assumptions about pre-NICS baseline data.”

    I would be interested to learn how that might work. Can you point to a reference?

    • So, this is way over-simplified, for purposes of example:

      State A and State B have the same population (say, 100). At some point, assume a baseline amount of per capita firearms (say, 0.75). Thus, at the baseline, a total population of 200 has a a total number of firearms of 150. Assuming all is equal, State A would have 75 firearms, and State B would have 75 firearms.

      However, data available (e.g. NICS) after that baseline point-in-time indicate that State A acquires firearms at twice the rate, per capita, as State B. (Say those numbers are 0.5/10 years, vs. 0.25/10 years.)

      So, make an assumption that State A and State B acquired firearms at approximately the same rate, per capita, prior to available data, and therefore have commensurately more firearms as of the baseline. If that were the case, then State A would have twice as many firearms as State B at the baseline (i.e. State A would have 1.0 firearms per capita (100 firearms), and State B would have 0.5 firearms per capita (50 firearms)).

      Now, that would be a pretty fragile assumption, so add in a generous margin of error, since you don’t actually know the rate of firearm acquisition prior to the baseline. Pick your poison here. Cut the weighting in half (State A 87.5 firearms, State B 62.5 firearms). Cut the weighting by an order of magnitude (State A 80 firearms, State B 70 firearms).

      (There’s a lot more math that would go into deciding that weighting; again: way over-simplified here.)

      So, now you have a weighted baseline. To that, you can add the known quantity (based on NICS data) of purchases by State A and State B since the baseline.

      • Thank you.

        I think you have set up the problem correctly, but I disagree that pre-NICS rates can be validly estimated using NICS numbers. There are confounding factors, and I don’t believe those can be quantified and applied to the calculation.

        NICS was implemented for 1999, replacing the more general 1993 background check required by the Brady Bill.

        1998 had us 4 years into the Federal ‘assault weapons ban’. I think political considerations changed the rates post-1998. (More particularly, I think the rates changed significantly in 2011.)

        NICS data –

        One could make the argument that the rates change based on the policies of the president and his party; CA’s early NICS numbers were around 800K/year until 2001, then sagged into the 600-500K range 2002-2006, then back up to 800K in 07, nearly 800 in 08 and 09, 900K in 11, and 1100, 1300, 1400 and 1700 through 2015.

        But, pre-Clinton, that really did not seem to matter; there were few serious attempts to limit a lot of guns before then.

        • Does any of this matter? Since the number of guns in the hands of the public does not equate in any fashion to the number of individual gun owners, nor to the number of gun owners who believe in limited government and constitutional originalism, nor to the number of pro-gun people who vote, what can we actually learn from analyzing fuzzy data about gun buying?

        • I think you have set up the problem correctly, but I disagree that pre-NICS rates can be validly estimated using NICS numbers. There are confounding factors, and I don’t believe those can be quantified and applied to the calculation.

          Absolutely, and all of that is buried in the over-simplification. If you want to be more accurate, you can try to account for the various, confounding factors. But while the pre-NICS relative per-capita state private firearms ownership cannot be perfectly described by using NICS data, those data can certainly be used to make some justifiable assumptions (such as the per capita private firearm ownership of, say, Wyoming being higher than that of, say, New Jersey).

          But, even if you take pre-NICS per capita private firearm ownership to be the same for every state, two points:

          1) You can accurately measure the change in relative per capita private firearm ownership, post-NICS. There is no reason to assume that all states currently have the same per capita firearm ownership.

          2) Just based on NICS data, it is fairly safe to assume that most estimates of total private firearm ownership are too low – perhaps, way too low.

  25. I am absolutely SHOCKED :0 that an anti-gun business would manipulate statistics about firearms in order to distort public opinion.

  26. Good catch, various posters on the false survey data.
    Bad move, RF on posting this without more homework. Thats an unforced error,
    but the silver lining is the intelligentsia here points out how useless are the sources quoted by the lying Left.

    Another example of the unique value of the wise readership of TTAG.

  27. If NY has that many damn firearms, (D)head Schumer should start his disarmament there. If he succeeds, then we should start the next civil war then.

    Otherwise, don’t let him disarm your state first, because he’ll move on to his dictator phase then.

  28. As I’ve said, America has more private arms that all of the armies of all of the nations of the world. Combined. There is a reason that in spite of the anti’s pushes, the federal government treads very carefully on this subject.

  29. 7.8 million guns out of 8.9 million residents in nj? Yeah right, I’ll guess it’s around 1 million.

    • The problem with both the stats and your conclusion is that we have no idea from the data, how many guns per owner, and the distribution (politically and geographically) of those owners. The total legal guns in the country may be exactly the same number of total occupants of the country, but what does that tell us? Only that they drink a lot of coffee in Brazil (parable).

  30. Here in NY, if you cut out NYC, the state’s population is easily cut in half, but the number of guns per capita would also double, as well. Not a lot of people in “the city” own guns. Upstate is a different story.

  31. Sorry, this is totally meaningless. Author took the population of each state and multiplied it by the NATIONAL AVERAGE guns per person. For any state, take total population and multiply by .888 to get the number in this table. This then = B.S. According to “Texas Politics Today, 2013-2014” by Maxwell, Crain and Santos, p 25 (with references cited in the article) “Texans own approximately 51 million firearms.” NOT 22 million. About 2 per person. Which seems about right to me, living in Texas.

  32. “see just how much firepower the different states have when compared to other countries.”

    I live in Connecticut, and according to the map, CT has about the same “firepower” as Ukraine.

    Piffle. This is major-league, deliberate misrepresentation. And, btw, here is Ukraine’s real firepower:

  33. The numbers are certainly interesting. But I fail to see the point of comparing those numbers to countries. It’s not like Alabama needs to be prepared to fight off an invasion from Spain. It’s local crimes that motivate many to own guns.

    What the numbers do indicate is the sheer folly of thinking that, with close to one gun per citizen, we can stop gun-related crime by ridding this country of guns. That is a bit like trying to prevent traffic accidents by getting rid of cars and trucks.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Chesterton on War and Peace

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