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United States — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

Federal firearm legislation is limited (below). Many municipalities and all states regulate gun use with their own local law (Go To).
More US jurisdictions will be added as resources allow.

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the United States is 270,000,0001 to 310,000,0002

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in the United States is 101.052 3 1 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In the United States, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 110,000,0002

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In the United States, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 86,000,0002

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

There are reportedly 114,000,0002 handguns in civilian possession in the United States

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, the United States ranked at No. 14

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, the United States ranked at No. 11

Proportion of Households with Firearms

ChartIn the United States, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2012: 34.45 6 7
2010: 32.3
2008: 36.0
2006: 34.5
2004: 37.3
2002: 36.4
2000: 34.3
1998: 36.7
1996: 43.4
1994: 44.0
1993: 45.5
1991: 43.7
1990: 45.8
1989: 48.9
1988: 43.4
1987: 48.6
1985: 48.0
1984: 48.5
1982: 48.9
1980: 50.8
1977: 54.0
1976: 49.7
1974: 47.9
1973: 49.1

Proportion of Households with Rifles

ChartIn the United States, the percentage of households with one or more rifles is reported to be

2012: 20.58
2010: 19.4
2008: 25.2
2006: 20.4
2004: 21.0
2002: 22.2
2000: 21.6
1998: 22.5
1996: 25.8
1994: 27.3
1993: 25.7
1991: 27.8
1990: 27.8
1989: 29.6
1988: 27.3
1987: 30.0
1985: 31.4
1984: 29.6
1982: 32.5
1980: 31.2
1977: 33.5
1976: 30.5
1974: 28.4
1973: 30.8

Proportion of Households with Shotguns

ChartIn the United States, the percentage of households with one or more shotguns is reported to be

2012: 21.49
2010: 19.7
2008: 25.4
2006: 20.3
2004: 20.0
2002: 23.2
2000: 20.0
1998: 22.1
1996: 27.2
1994: 27.1
1993: 29.7
1991: 29.0
1990: 28.6
1989: 30.6
1988: 26.4
1987: 30.9
1985: 30.3
1984: 28.7
1982: 32.7
1980: 33.0
1977: 34.8
1976: 30.5
1974: 29.0
1973: 29.0

Proportion of Households with Handguns

ChartIn the United States, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2012: 21.910
2010: 19.6
2008: 26.2
2006: 20.0
2004: 20.7
2002: 21.0
2000: 20.5
1998: 20.5
1996: 23.7
1994: 26.2
1993: 26.1
1991: 22.1
1990: 24.9
1989: 26.8
1988: 24.4
1987: 26.1
1985: 24.1
1984: 21.4
1982: 22.9
1980: 24.9
1977: 21.3
1976: 22.2
1974: 20.3
1973: 20.3

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of the United States are reported to have 2,700,00011 12 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In the United States, police officers on routine patrol carry one or more firearms13 14 15 16

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in the United States are reported to have 1,150,00017 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United States, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2011: 32,16318
2010: 31,67219
2009: 31,347
2008: 31,593
2007: 31,224
2006: 30,896
2005: 30,694
2004: 29,569
2003: 30,136
2002: 30,242
2001: 29,573
2000: 28,663
1999: 28,874

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 10.318
2010: 10.2619
2009: 10.22
2008: 10.39
2007: 10.37
2006: 10.35
2005: 10.39
2004: 10.10
2003: 10.39
2002: 10.51
2001: 10.38
2000: 10.19
1999: 10.35

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn the United States, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 14,82720
2011: 15,95318 20 21
2010: 16,25919 22 20 21
2009: 16,799
2008: 17,826
2007: 18,361
2006: 18,573
2005: 18,124
2004: 17,357
2003: 17,732
2002: 17,638
2001: 20,308
2000: 16,765
1999: 16,88919 23 21
1998: 14,27623 21
1997: 18,20824 21
1996: 19,645
1995: 21,606

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2012: 4.720
2011: 5.118 20 21
2010: 5.2719 20 21
2009: 5.4819 22 20 21
2008: 5.86
2007: 6.10
2006: 6.22
2005: 6.13
2004: 5.93
2003: 6.11
2002: 6.13
2001: 7.13
2000: 5.96
1999: 6.0519 23 21
1998: 5.1923 21
1997: 6.721
1996: 7.3
1995: 8.1
1993: 9.9325

Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United States, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 8,89620
2011: 11,10118 26 20
2010: 11,07819 26 20 21
2009: 11,493
2008: 12,179
2007: 12,632
2006: 12,79119 21
2005: 12,35219 20 21
2004: 11,62419 21
2003: 11,920
2002: 11,82919 27
2001: 11,348
2000: 10,80119
1999: 10,82819 23
1998: 9,25723

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 2.833
2011: 3.618
2010: 3.5919 21
2009: 3.7519 22 21
2008: 4.01
2007: 4.19
2006: 4.29
2005: 4.18
2004: 3.97
2003: 4.11
2002: 4.1119 27
2001: 3.98
2000: 3.8419
1999: 3.8819 23
1998: 3.3723
1993: 7.0728

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),29 annual handgun homicides total

2012: 6,37126 30
2011: 6,251
2010: 6,115
2009: 6,501
2008: 6,800
2007: 7,398
2006: 7,836
2005: 7,565
2004: 7,286
2003: 7,745
2002: 7,294
2001: 6,931
2000: 6,778
1999: 6,658

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),31 the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 2.033 30
2011: 2.01
2010: 1.98
2009: 2.12
2008: 2.24
2007: 2.46
2006: 2.63
2005: 2.56
2004: 2.49
2003: 2.67
2002: 2.54
2001: 2.43
2000: 2.40
1999: 2.39

Handgun Homicides (CDC)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),29 annual handgun homicides total

2010: 89932 30
2009: 1,013
2008: 961
2007: 976
2006: 997
2005: 1,074
2004: 1,011
2003: 1,011
2002: 1,024
2001: 1,014
2000: 1,068
1999: 1,082

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People (CDC)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),31 the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.2932 30
2009: 0.33
2008: 0.32
2007: 0.32
2006: 0.33
2005: 0.36
2004: 0.35
2003: 0.35
2002: 0.36
2001: 0.36
2000: 0.38
1999: 0.39

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),33 annual long gun homicides total

2012: 62526 30
2011: 694
2010: 733
2009: 774
2008: 822
2007: 910
2006: 928
2005: 967
2004: 910
2003: 846
2002: 974
2001: 897
2000: 896
1999: 931

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),34 the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.203 30
2011: 0.22
2010: 0.24
2009: 0.25
2008: 0.27
2007: 0.30
2006: 0.31
2005: 0.33
2004: 0.31
2003: 0.29
2002: 0.34
2001: 0.31
2000: 0.32
1999: 0.33

Long Gun Homicides (CDC)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),33 annual long gun homicides total

2010: 57635 30
2009: 640
2008: 664
2007: 682
2006: 768
2005: 765
2004: 714
2003: 687
2002: 744
2001: 758
2000: 694
1999: 693

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People (CDC)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),34 the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.1935 30
2009: 0.21
2008: 0.22
2007: 0.23
2006: 0.26
2005: 0.26
2004: 0.24
2003: 0.24
2002: 0.26
2001: 0.27
2000: 0.25
1999: 0.25

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),36 annual firearm homicides (Other) total

2012: 1,85926 30
2011: 1,708
2010: 2,026
2009: 1,924
2008: 1,906
2007: 1,821
2006: 1,461
2005: 1,626
2004: 1,189
2003: 1,068
2002: 1,260
2001: 1,062
2000: 987
1999: 891

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),37 the annual rate of firearm homicide (Other) per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.593 30
2011: 0.55
2010: 0.65
2009: 0.63
2008: 0.63
2007: 0.60
2006: 0.49
2005: 0.55
2004: 0.41
2003: 0.37
2002: 0.44
2001: 0.37
2000: 0.35
1999: 0.32

Gun Homicides (Other) (CDC)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),36 annual firearm homicides (Other) total

2010: 9,60338 30
2009: 9,840
2008: 10,554
2007: 10,974
2006: 11,026
2005: 10,513
2004: 9,899
2003: 10,222
2002: 10,061
2001: 9,576
2000: 9,039
1999: 9,053

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People (CDC)

ChartIn the United States, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),37 the annual rate of firearm homicide (Other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 3.1138 30
2009: 3.21
2008: 3.47
2007: 3.64
2006: 3.70
2005: 3.56
2004: 3.38
2003: 3.52
2002: 3.50
2001: 3.36
2000: 3.21
1999: 3.24

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn the United States, annual suicides by any means total

2011: 38,28518
2010: 38,36419
2009: 36,909
2008: 36,035
2007: 34,598
2006: 33,300
2005: 32,63719 39
2004: 32,43919
2003: 31,484
2002: 31,655
2001: 30,62219 40
2000: 29,35019
1999: 29,199

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2011: 12.318
2010: 12.4319
2009: 12.03
2008: 11.8519 39
2007: 11.4919
2006: 11.16
2005: 11.0419 39
2004: 11.0819
2003: 10.8519 41
2002: 11.0119
2001: 10.7519 40
2000: 10.4319
1999: 10.46
1993: 12.0642

Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United States, annual firearm suicides total

2011: 19,76618
2010: 19,39219
2009: 18,735
2008: 18,223
2007: 17,352
2006: 16,883
2005: 17,00219 43
2004: 16,75019
2003: 16,907
2002: 17,108
2001: 16,86919 40
2000: 16,58619
1999: 16,599

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2011: 6.318
2010: 6.2819
2009: 6.11
2008: 5.99
2007: 5.76
2006: 5.66
2005: 5.7519 3
2004: 5.7219
2003: 5.83
2002: 5.95
2001: 5.9219 40
2000: 5.8919
1999: 5.95
1993: 7.3544

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn the United States, annual handgun suicides total

2010: 4,60345
2009: 4,474
2008: 4,119
2007: 3,801
2006: 3,655
2005: 3,654
2004: 3,609
2003: 3,672
2002: 3,597
2001: 3,489
2000: 3,520
1999: 3,476

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 1.545
2009: 1.5
2008: 1.4
2007: 1.3
2006: 1.2
2005: 1.2
2004: 1.2
2003: 1.3
2002: 1.3
2001: 1.2
2000: 1.3
1999: 1.2

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn the United States, the number of long gun suicides is

2010: 2,95746
2009: 2,924
2008: 2,952
2007: 2,758
2006: 2,758
2005: 2,915
2004: 2,798
2003: 2,668
2002: 2,908
2001: 2,814
2000: 2,684
1999: 2,776

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2010: 1.046
2009: 1.0
2008: 1.0
2007: 0.9
2006: 0.9
2005: 1.0
2004: 1.0
2003: 0.9
2002: 1.0
2001: 1.0
2000: 1.0
1999: 1.0

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn the United States, annual gun suicides (other) total

2010: 11,83247
2009: 11,337
2008: 11,152
2007: 10,793
2006: 10,470
2005: 10,433
2004: 10,343
2003: 10,567
2002: 10,603
2001: 10,566
2000: 10,382
1999: 10,347

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 3.847
2009: 3.7
2008: 3.7
2007: 3.6
2006: 3.5
2005: 3.5
2004: 3.5
2003: 3.6
2002: 3.7
2001: 3.7
2000: 3.7
1999: 3.7

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United States, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2011: 85118
2010: 60619
2009: 554
2008: 592
2007: 613
2006: 642
2005: 78919 43
2004: 64919
2003: 730
2002: 762
2001: 80219 40
2000: 77619
1999: 824

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.318
2010: 0.2019
2009: 0.18
2008: 0.19
2007: 0.20
2006: 0.22
2005: 0.2719 3
2004: 0.2219
2003: 0.25
2002: 0.26
2001: 0.2819 40
2000: 0.2819
1999: 0.30
1993: 0.5948

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn the United States, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2010: 9149
2009: 81
2008: 89
2007: 90
2006: 107
2005: 107
2004: 93
2003: 83
2002: 108
2001: 108
2000: 120
1999: 130

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.049
2009: 0.0
2008: 0.0
2007: 0.0
2006: 0.0
2005: 0.0
2004: 0.0
2003: 0.0
2002: 0.0
2001: 0.0
2000: 0.0
1999: 0.0

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn the United States, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2010: 8350
2009: 98
2008: 101
2007: 92
2006: 73
2005: 104
2004: 95
2003: 105
2002: 119
2001: 148
2000: 131
1999: 112

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.050
2009: 0.0
2008: 0.0
2007: 0.0
2006: 0.0
2005: 0.0
2004: 0.0
2003: 0.0
2002: 0.0
2001: 0.1
2000: 0.0
1999: 0.0

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn the United States, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2010: 43251
2009: 375
2008: 402
2007: 431
2006: 462
2005: 578
2004: 461
2003: 542
2002: 535
2001: 546
2000: 525
1999: 582

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.151
2009: 0.1
2008: 0.1
2007: 0.1
2006: 0.2
2005: 0.2
2004: 0.2
2003: 0.2
2002: 0.2
2001: 0.2
2000: 0.2
1999: 0.2

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United States, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2011: 22218
2010: 25219
2009: 232
2008: 273
2007: 276
2006: 220
2005: 221
2004: 235
2003: 232
2002: 243
2001: 23119 40
2000: 23019
1999: 324

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2011: 0.118
2010: 0.0819
2009: 0.08
2008: 0.09
2007: 0.09
2006: 0.07
2005: 0.07
2004: 0.08
2003: 0.0819 41
2002: 0.0819
2001: 0.0819 40
2000: 0.0819
1999: 0.12
1993: 0.2252

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United States, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 3753
2009: 29
2008: 32
2007: 39
2006: 26
2005: 27
2004: 31
2003: 47
2002: 33
2001: 36
2000: 40
1999: 70

Rate of Handgun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.053
2009: 0.0
2008: 0.0
2007: 0.0
2006: 0.0
2005: 0.0
2004: 0.0
2003: 0.0
2002: 0.0
2001: 0.0
2000: 0.0
1999: 0.0

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United States, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 2354
2009: 24
2008: 31
2007: 24
2006: 23
2005: 31
2004: 21
2003: 26
2002: 27
2001: 21
2000: 24
1999: 33

Rate of Long Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.054
2009: 0.0
2008: 0.0
2007: 0.0
2006: 0.0
2005: 0.0
2004: 0.0
2003: 0.0
2002: 0.0
2001: 0.0
2000: 0.0
1999: 0.0

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn the United States, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2010: 19255
2009: 179
2008: 210
2007: 213
2006: 171
2005: 163
2004: 183
2003: 159
2002: 183
2001: 174
2000: 166
1999: 221

Rate of Gun Death (Other) from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (Other) per 100,000 population is

2010: 0.155
2009: 0.1
2008: 0.1
2007: 0.1
2006: 0.1
2005: 0.1
2004: 0.1
2003: 0.1
2002: 0.1
2001: 0.1
2000: 0.1
1999: 0.1

Justifiable Gun Homicides

ChartIn the United States, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2010: 61756 57
2009: 629
2008: 592
2007: 597
2006: 578
2005: 53558
2004: 587
2003: 616
2002: 574
2001: 599
2000: 473
1999: 500
1998: 563
1997: 646
1996: 617
1995: 657

Non-fatal Gun Injuries

ChartIn the United States, the reported, or estimated annual number of non-fatal firearm injuries59 is

2012: 81,39660
2011: 73,88360 61
2010: 73,50560 62 61
2009: 66,76960 63 61
2008: 78,62260 61
2007: 69,863
2006: 71,417
2005: 69,825
2004: 64,389
2003: 65,834
2002: 58,841
2001: 63,012

Rate of Non-fatal Gun Injury per 100,000 People

ChartIn the United States, the reported, or estimated annual rate or proportion of non-fatal firearm injury59 is

2012: 25.9360
2011: 23.7160
2010: 23.8160 3
2009: 21.76
2008: 25.8560
2007: 23.19
2006: 23.93
2005: 23.63
2004: 21.99
2003: 22.69
2002: 20.46
2001: 22.11

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In the United States, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence64 65 66 67 68

Number of Small Arms Manufactured

ChartThe reported annual number of small arms manufactured in the United States is

2010: 5,459,24069 70
2009: 5,555,81869 71 70
2008: 4,498,94469 70
2007: 3,922,61369 71 70
2006: 3,653,32469 70
2005: 3,241,494
2004: 3,099,025
2003: 3,308,404
2002: 3,366,895
2001: 2,932,65569 71 70
2000: 3,793,54169 70
1999: 4,047,747
1998: 3,713,590
1997: 3,593,504
1996: 3,854,439
1995: 4,316,342
1994: 5,173,217
1993: 5,055,637
1992: 4,175,836
1991: 3,563,106
1990: 3,959,968
1989: 4,418,393
1988: 3,963,877
1987: 3,559,663
1986: 3,040,934

Small Arms Manufacture - World Ranking

In a classification of the world's small, medium and major firearm manufacturers, the United States is ranked 'major'72 73

Home-made Guns

In the United States the prevalence of illicit craft, or 'home-made' firearm manufacture is reported to be low74

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In the United States, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law75 76

Firearm Exports (Number) - Manufacturers

ChartThe annual number of firearms exported from the United States is reported by manufacturers to be

2010: 241,97777
2009: 194,744
2008: 228,488
2007: 204,782
2006: 367,521
2005: 194,682
2004: 139,920
2003: 141,912
2002: 150,756
2001: 172,611
2000: 172,627
1999: 220,318
1998: 203,344
1997: 275,081
1996: 331,997
1995: 424,221
1994: 404,473
1993: 431,204
1992: 403,791
1991: 401,165
1990: 361,625
1989: 261,282
1988: 257,182
1987: 288,045
1986: 217,448

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from the United States is reported by Customs to be US$844,462,43578 (2011)79 80

Small Arms Exports - World Ranking

In a comparison of the world's major/mid-level/minor/unknown small arms exporters, the United States is categorized as 'major'81 82

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In the United States, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law75 76 66 65 83

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to the United States is reported by Customs to be US$1,390,792,76178 (2011)84 85

Firearm Imports (Number) - Customs

ChartThe annual number of firearms imported to the United States is reported to be

2011: 3,252,40486
2010: 2,839,947
2009: 3,607,10686 71
2008: 2,606,38686
2007: 2,743,99386 71
2006: 2,432,52286
2005: 2,106,675
2004: 1,910,859
2003: 1,466,502
2002: 1,629,237
2001: 1,366,89686 71
2000: 1,096,78286
1999: 891,799
1998: 999,810
1997: 939,415
1996: 881,578
1995: 1,103,404
1994: 1,880,902
1993: 3,043,321
1992: 2,846,710
1991: 720,657
1990: 843,809
1989: 1,007,781
1988: 1,276,268
1987: 1,063,513
1986: 701,000

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in the United States is low87 88 89 90

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In the United States, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law91 76

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in the United States include92 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

Transparency of Small Arms Transfers

In the most recent survey of state transparency in declaring firearm and ammunition exports among major small arms exporting nations, the United States was ranked at No. 1393

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in the United States is categorised as permissive94

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in the United States includes the National Firearms Act of 1934,95 the Gun Control Act 196896 as amended95 and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act 199367 95 (this is Federal legislation only: each US state and territory enacts its own gun law)97

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in the United States are regulated by the federal, state, and local authorities96

Right to Possess Firearms

In the United States, the right to private gun ownership is conditionally guaranteed by the US Constitution,98 as limited by federal law.99 100 For similar local rights, see each state.

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In the United States, civilians are not allowed to possess machine-guns, sawn-off shotguns and rifles, silencers, and armour-piercing ammunition without appropriate registration101 102 103

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In the United States, private possession of fully automatic weapons is permitted subject to federal licensing and registration102 103

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In the United States, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is permitted without a licence in almost all jurisdictions104

Regulation of Handguns

In the United States, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is permitted without a licence in almost all jurisdictions102 67

Gun Ownership and Possession

In the United States, non-prohibited persons of minimum age105 106 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition without a licence

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in the United States is regulated by state or local authorities according to weapon type, but is 18 years to purchase shotguns and rifles and 21 years to purchase all other firearms, according to Federal law107 108 109

Gun Licence Background Checks

A non-disqualified individual wishing to possess a firearm in the United States must pass background checks which consider criminal, health105 110 111 106 and mental112 110 111 113 106 114 115 116 records, only if the supplier is a licensed firearm dealer

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in the United States stipulates117 113 106 that firearm possession should be denied or guns seized

Licensing Records

In the United States, authorities do not maintain a record118 of individual civilians permitted to acquire, possess, carry, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In the United States, the law does not require119 118 83 120 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In the United States, licensed firearm dealers are required121 122 83 120 123 76 124 65 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In the United States, licensed gun makers are required121 83 120 76 124 65 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In the United States, State agencies are required125 126 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm in a private sale in the United States is not obliged127 128 129 106 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Background Checks on Dealer Gun Sales

The buyer of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer in the United States is obliged130 131 132 133 65 106 67 68 116 to pass official background checks before taking possession

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In the United States, the private sale and transfer of firearms is permitted127 64 106

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In the United States, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful64 65 106

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

ChartThe number of licensed firearm dealers in the United States is reported to be

2011: 123,587134
2010: 118,487
2009: 115,395
2008: 112,943
2007: 108,933
2006: 107,316
2005: 106,432
2004: 106,214
2003: 104,105
2002: 103,411
2001: 102,913
2000: 103,157
1999: 103,942
1998: 105,536
1997: 107,554
1996: 135,794
1995: 191,495
1994: 250,833
1993: 283,925
1992: 284,117
1991: 276,116
1990: 269,079
1989: 264,063
1988: 272,953
1987: 262,022
1986: 267,166
1985: 248,794
1984: 222,443
1983: 230,613
1982: 211,918
1981: 190,296
1980: 174,619
1979: 171,216
1978: 169,052
1977: 173,484
1976: 165,697
1975: 161,927

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In the United States, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined130 68

Regulation of Gun Shows

In the United States, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are regulated135 136 129 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in the United States include137 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by non-disqualified individuals

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in the United States include126 138 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in the United States include139 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In the United States, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law66 124 125 140

Firearm Tracing

In the United States, state authorities carry out124 125 141 88 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In the United States, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed with or without a permit depending on the jurisdiction, and prohibited in others96

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In the United States, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed with or without a permit depending on the jurisdiction, and prohibited in others96

Exempting Hidden Handgun Permit Holders from Background Checks

Although under US federal law, gun owners with a valid permit to carry a hidden handgun are exempt from background checks when buying from a licensed gun dealer,142 143 many state laws are more restrictive

Gun Free Zones

In the United States, private guns are prohibited in federal facilities,144 schools145 and National Parks (unless otherwise specifically permitted)146

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In the United States, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm147 is 10 years prison148

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in the United States are known to have149 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Small Arms Destroyed

In the United States, the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 830,000149 (1993-1996)

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In the United States, it is state policy150 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

Organization of American States

On 14 November 1997, as a member of the Organisation of American States (OAS), the United States adopted the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), a legally binding multilateral treaty of which the OAS is depository. The CIFTA Convention has since been signed, but not yet ratified151 152 by the United States

United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

At the resumption of the most recent session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (UNCCPCJ), a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council mandated to promote action to prevent national and transnational crime, the United States were listed as an elected member for a three-year term of office153

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was not signed154 by the United States.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed, but not yet ratified155 by the United States

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed156 by the United States

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, the United States committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects157

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored the United States against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 28158 159 160 161 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, the United States have submitted one or more national reports162 163 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In the United States, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated164 163

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In the United States, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated164 163

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of the United States submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent163

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated163 by the United States to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, the United States have not declared165 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, the United States have been a Member State of the United Nations since 1945166

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists167 the United States as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Conflict Profile

For a profile of conflict in the United States, select the Link icon to open an external web page from the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia at Uppsala University

Global Peace Index

To see where the United States ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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