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CBS News has published a story asking “How Heavily Armed Is Your State.” Using scary pictures of scary guns, it purports to reveal the number of registered guns in each state. The main problem: CBS conflates the ATF’s National Firearms Act database with guns commonly held by average Americans, in an effort to maintain the fiction of few guns held by Americans. CBS explains their (flawed) methodology on the first page:


As America reels from yet another mass shooting, inevitable questions resurface about guns laws and the nation’s pervasive firearm culture. Here is a look at per capita weapons data, based on the ATF’s National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and 2013 data from the U.S. Census.

While the ATF’s National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record is the only accessible list of its kind, it is not all-inclusive. NFA firearms only include the categories regulated by The National Firearms Act of 1934: machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, suppressors, destructive devices like bombs and grenades, concealable devices with the ability to discharge a shot through the energy of an explosive, and any firearm with a bore over half an inch that has not been determined to have a legitimate sporting use.

NFA items are a tiny subset of the larger number of firearms purchased every year and possessed by tens of millions of Americans. How CBS thought that the NFA database was in any way relevant to a discussion of firearms ownership in America is beyond comprehension. Unless they deliberately set out to underestimate U.S. per capita gun ownership.

The unspectacular results are pretty spectacular in their own entirely misleading way. I can’t speak for every state’s firearms ownership rate, but I’m up on Illinois stats. For my home state, CBS News claims “for every 1,000 residents in Illinois, there are 9.2 guns. That’s 118,295 registered firearms dispersed among 12,882,135 people.”

At first glance, a reader could easily think there are only 118,295 guns in The Land of Lincoln. “For every 1,000 residents in Illinois, there are 9.2 guns.” Yes, well . . .

As of June 1, 2016, Illinois had 181,000 concealed carry license holders. And that number is growing at a rate of seven to eight thousand new licenses per month. Within the next couple of weeks, the state will approach 200k concealed carry license holders.

Also, by June of this year, 2,016,929 Illinois residents held valid “Firearm Owner Identification” Cards, required to possess firearms or ammunition, up from 1,260,521 on January 2009. That’s a 60 percent increase in less than eight years.

Get the picture? CBS obviously doesn’t.

CBS should be embarrassed for it shoddy “journalism” in conflating Class III NFA guns with guns commonly bought, sold and used for self-defense. Once more, CBS News reaffirms why 94 percent of Americans distrust mainstream media’s reporting.

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  1. My take away, Texas at #18, we gotta up our game. No way DC should be ahead of us at #2. And NY, so much for the “Empire State”!!

    • Some states have more diy nfa builders if ya know what I mean. I’m surprised Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Arizona, and Utah weren’t the lowest states.

    • Even setting aside for the moment that this is only NFA items and not everyday firearms, the analysis is further flawed.

      SeeB.S. is using census data to calculate the number of firearms per resident of the state. That’s misleading because total residents includes, well, everyone, including children. A state like Texas has a lower average age of population, meaning we have more young people here than the national average.

      That stands to reason because we have such a large population of illegal immigrants and their anchor babies. Adding in minors, of whatever status, waters down the ownership rate.

      You look at a place like Vermont, which has an overall older population than the national average, and their “firearms ownership rate” relative to other states is inflated for not having as many minors added in.

    • They’re going by per capita, so DCs numbers are heavily skewed by that. DC is ~670K full time residents vs the 27M or so that live in Texas.

      Also, I’d bet most of those NFA items are post sample full autos, SBRs, and whatever for the various police and security details.

  2. ” I can’t speak for every state’s firearms ownership rate,…”

    I can’t authoritatively comment on specific numbers for mine, but Florida ain’t known as “The Gunshine State” for nothing…

  3. Using scary pictures of scary guns, it purports to reveal the number of registered guns in each state.

    Another reason to add to the list why you shouldn’t register your guns. File this one between gun shaming and privacy.

  4. Yeah that article talked about registered guns in Virginia. What the hell is a registered gun?
    Never heard of such a thing in Virginia.

  5. 37k firearms in Utah? Which square mile did they take that number from? Haha at least we got the girl with the nice butt picture.

    • Yeah, it’s just NFA items. Here in WA:
      * Machine guns are illegal
      * SBRs were illegal until summer 2014, but the ATF refused to process Form 1s for most of the past two years, due to unclear wording in the law
      * And suppressors were legal to own, but illegal to use (don’t ask me why), until 2011

      Given all that, I think we can be pretty proud of 8.6 per thousand. We should hit 20 per thousand next year, the way the form 1s are going. In my household it’s six per capita.

    • And considering we’re approaching 600,000 CPL holders, the 60,000 guns state-wide starts to look even more ridiculous. Last time I checked, permit holders don’t go around in squads of ten, passing around one gun between them.

  6. These people are disgusting liars that deliberately try to manipulate the American population. The NY number of 64,000 is the number of “assault rifles” that Nyers actually registered. So disappointing, what has happened to the media and “news” organizations in our country?

    They do not report the news, but make it and shape it to suite their agenda. The closest anyone can get to the percentage of Americans that own at least one gun is 50%. No less than that. A good number of people like myself would not tell a pollster that I own any weapons. Therefore any number is pulled out of someone’s a**.

  7. I thought NY passed a law! A law, I say, requiring scary black rifle gun owners to register their scary black rifles. Why isn’t this reflected in this article? Just get the NY state police on the phone and ask how many rifles were registered.

  8. If you were to do a survey of the employees of CBS you would likely find 95% intend to vote for Hillary (and would do so even if she dropped dead three days before the election), the remaining 5% would likely be split between the Green, Libertarian, and Republican parties. With the few Republican voters shamed into silence. So why would anyone trust an organization that supports one of the most blatantly dishonest candidates ever fielded for national office.

  9. The media creates stories, terms, so-called statistics to suit their agenda. Where are they even getting “registered guns” from anyway. Virginia doesn’t register guns, and neither does most states.

    Pure BS as usual.

    • Same with NC, especially in certain counties like where I live–harder to find a non gun owner–and most everyone that does own have some sort of arsenal

  10. I hope for the business managers at CBS. They have a better system of showing their real profit margins. Otherwise CBS must owe a ton of back income taxes.

    • Typical clickbait. Grab your interest with a headline or picture, then force you to cycle through 53 pages to get all of the information. CBS gets revenue based on the number of pages (ads) you click to before you give up or find what you really wanted to see/read.

      That’s why these sorts of things are presented as “countdowns” to the Number One item of interest or save the information on the thing that got you to click in the first place to the last one or two pages. (Often, but not always, something to do with Kardashians or Miley Cyrus.)

      • …which is why I stopped after slide 2 or 3. I wasn’t in the mood to be irritated or to feed their revenue stream.

  11. I love the first sentence of their so-called methodology: As America reels from yet another mass shooting, inevitable questions resurface about guns laws and the nation’s pervasive firearm culture.

    That’s not methodology, it’s ideology: whatever it takes to make guns and their owners look like a plague on society, because we don’t like them.

    This country’s news media establishment needs to die.

  12. only 118,295 guns in The Land of Lincoln. Hells bells,that’s the number on one street in Chicago. Also, didja notice the red tip on the gun in the picture ? That is one scary looking toy.

  13. Perhaps this is a subtle (can CBS or main-stream media be subtle these days?) way of implanting in the low-info consciousness that firearms are already registered in the U.S., so what’s the big deal about UBCs resulting in firearms registration? Obviously POTG are okay with the idea of registering their guns, look how many have already “voluntarily” done it!

    • Don’t think so. That looks like the shoot-off muzzle cover for AR flashhiders, I have several. They used to come in packs of 4, slip on tight enough to stay in place, if you forget they just fly off when the gun is fired. I’ve had them since before the madness about “orange tips”, made me think those were kinda stupid.

  14. I bet Illini-Zim is not on that list. Just a couple of weeks ago, he almost whupped a skin-heads azz for staring at his queen. Illinois Zimmerman indeed.

  15. The Anti’s need to read and believe them. We need no gun violence, safety, for your own good, for the chilren, (that is how they say it), for the scary 3d printing and ghost gun with 30 rounds per second assault clips, and the features, and blah blah blah.

    Point them to this article and say see not a lot of guns and we need no more background checks because the guns are registered….the politicians are just trying to scare us but cbs has shown the truth, (try to say cbs and truth in the same sentence without laughing, control yourself use your trigger control muscles.)

  16. Illinois has probably one of the lowest rates of NFA items. Suppressors are illegal, full auto is illegal. In the last few years SBR’s have been legal but you need a C&R license AND CLEO sign off to get one. Few people jump through the federal hoops for NFA items, throw some more state mandated loops and those numbers will be comparatively nonexistent.

  17. Let’s break down the pictures. Only 9 women are the central point of the picture, only 4 kids, there is 1! black man. I believe Alaska is giving Utah a run for its money. 11 per thousand in Pa? Yeah, right. I own 12 (I know, I know. I’m a light weight but it’s an arsenal to the antis). Is the clerk/owner in Illinois carrying Mexican?

  18. Delaware doesn’t have NFA allowed guns. Also no registration requirement at all. So where did 3900 gun registrations come ?
    The store on the guys shirt is the last place I’d go to buy a gun. Weird people who only seem to do business with their friends.

    • It is 4408 now.
      And most likely ALL are in the hands of Law Enforcement.
      AOW – 32
      DD – 2748
      MG – 583
      Silencer – 324
      SBR – 184
      SBS – 537

  19. CBS = See BS. Sort of like Pravda except less objective.
    NFA guns representing total gun ownership? Snicker.
    If you really want vital and objective news, one must read Russia Today.
    So how many out there trust Putin more than Hitlery?

  20. Maybe the question for such an article should be….”How paramilitarized is your local police department.. How aggressive are they…And how much can they effect a State Resident/Lawful citizen from exercising any of their US Constitutional-Bill of Rights….”

  21. I first glanced at the title and read “how heavily armed is your police state?”. Seriously. And now that the ZuN and Washington are talking about nationalizing police (possibly in violation of posse comitatus), a news worthy topic which should be openly discussed in public and amongst state and local law makers.

    Something Central Bull Shit (CBS) would not cover.

  22. Thanks. Dutifully went through the states, one by one, tallying the number of guns as I went, and their total was probably less than 1% of the guns in the country. Maybe a couple months of current sales. And, I was trying to figure out what they meant by registered guns. None of mine are, and would balk at registering the ones I have if I could avoid it. Heck, I know people who avoid FFLs. It just wasn’t making sense. Here in rural MT, most everyone has hunting rifles, and often something in the truck. Much of the state is probably badly above 1:1, and no doubt much of the more rural and conservative parts of the country are the same. My guess would have been Alaska for most heavily armed, and not DC, where the Heller case was based, because the District wasn’t really allowing handguns even in homes?

    Using NFA registrations for this study explains what was going on. And, it makes sense that DC would have the highest per capita NFA registrations with all the (supposedly) important people who need to be protected there (with machine guns).

  23. “As of June 1, 2016, Illinois had 181,000 concealed carry license holders.”

    Yeah, but NONE of those were factored in anyway. If you continued to their next image, the explanation got even more bizarre: “Oh, by the way, we didn’t count handguns, either.”

    A totally useless study performed by total f*g morons.

  24. So, their point is there aren’t a lot of guns out there, so this isn’t such a big problem. I wouldn’t have expected that from CBS.

    Oh, wait. They really didn’t think this through, did they?

  25. In a related story, CDNN Sports is offering Barrett 50BMG packages at special Labor Day prices.

    1/2 inch bore weapon numbers are set to EXPLODE all over CBS’s stats by early next week.

    Jerry Miculek will be demonstrating the “shoulder fired” nature of a BMG on a station (youwhotube) near you soon.

  26. So CBS decided to try and count guns but used a list that doesn’t include your granddad’s revolver, over under shotgun, or lever action deer rifle. But aren’t those all guns that they like to tell (lie) to us that are ok to have ’cause there not scary mass shooting hi capacity guns?

    Remember You Can’t Spell CBS without BS.

    • They’re pretty sure those guns disappear magically after 50 years or so, anyway, so they don’t need to be counted. Struck me the other day I actually own some 50-year-old firearms, easy to forget, since they work like new (I am deficient in my rounds fired per year count).

  27. CBS News must not have a ton of traditional news to cover, because they took the time to research how many firearms are registered in each state, and compiled them into a list of the United States from the least amount of firearms per 1,000 residents to the most heavily armed state in America.


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