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Gun Ownership By State

Gun Ownership By State
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Gun Ownership Across The States

The United States leads the world in gun ownership, with estimates indicating a range of over 200 million to more than 350 million guns in circulation across the country. Varying regulations and individual factors make it challenging to ascertain exact numbers nationwide, and such variances extend to the states. The Pew Research Center, however, has worked assiduously to construct a credible database of gun ownership statistics, which forms the basis for the data discussed in this piece. This analysis focuses on gun ownership as a percentage of the adult population in each state.

Predominantly rural areas indicate higher percentages of gun owners, corroborating historical links between rural life and gun ownership. Moreover, high gun ownership rates are noted predominantly in the Midwest and West regions of the United States, substantiating the Pew Research Center's report which attributes over 30% gun ownership levels to these areas.

Key findings from the data include:

  • The states with the highest gun ownership rates include Montana (66.3%), Wyoming (66.2%), and Alaska (64.5%). These states are primarily rural with widespread hunting and shooting activities contributing to high gun ownership percentages.
  • In contrast, states with the strictest gun laws, such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, report the lowest gun ownership rates at 14.7%. Other states with low gun ownership rates include Rhode Island (14.8%) and Hawaii (14.9%).
  • Some states, despite significant populations, reflect high percentages of gun ownership. These include Idaho (60.1%) and West Virginia (58.5%).
  • From a regional perspective, southern states such as South Carolina (49.4%), Georgia (49.2%) and Alabama (55.5%), align with the Pew Research Center's findings of the South housing the highest number of gun owners across all U.S regions.

States with the Most Gun Ownership

The state with the highest percentage of gun ownership according to Pew Research Center's data is Montana, with a significant 66.3% of the adult population owning a firearm. Showcasing only a marginal difference, the second highest rate of gun ownership goes to Wyoming, with 66.2% of adults self-reporting as gun owners. Not far behind, Alaska ranks third with a gun ownership rate of 64.5%.

Idaho is the fourth highest state for gun ownership showing 60.1% of adults as reported gun owners. Next in line is West Virginia, which records a 58.5% gun ownership rate. In sixth and seventh place respectively, Arkansas and Mississippi show slightly lower percentages, with 57.2% and 55.8% of adults claiming gun ownership. Meanwhile, Alabama comes in at eighth place with a gun ownership rate of 55.5%. Finally, rounding out the list at ninth and tenth are South Dakota and North Dakota with respective rates of 55.3% and 55.1% of adults being gun owners.

States with the Most Gun Ownership

  1. Montana - 66.3%
  2. Wyoming - 66.2%
  3. Alaska - 64.5%
  4. Idaho - 60.1%
  5. West Virginia - 58.5%
  6. Arkansas - 57.2%
  7. Mississippi - 55.8%
  8. Alabama - 55.5%
  9. South Dakota - 55.3%
  10. North Dakota - 55.1%

States with the Least Gun Ownership

Sharing the lowest gun ownership rate in the country are New Jersey and Massachusetts, both at 14.7%. Despite being relatively small in terms of land size, these states maintain some of the most thorough and strict gun laws.

Placed third from the bottom, we find Rhode Island with a 14.8% gun ownership rate. Like the two states before, it is situated in the Northeast region of the U.S., where gun ownership is generally lower than other regions. A mere fraction away, Hawaii shows a gun ownership rate of 14.9%. As the only state comprised entirely of islands, its remoteness and unique culture and laws likely play a significant role in its gun ownership status.

New York, with its densely populated city layout, sees a gun ownership rate of 19.9% placing it next in the list. Likewise, Connecticut features a 23.6% gun ownership rate, maintaining the trend of Northeastern states with low gun ownership figures.

Breaking the northeastern concentration, Illinois and California show gun ownership rates of 27.8% and 28.3% respectively. These two populous states, despite their geographical dispersity, share common factors such as large urban populations and strict state-level gun laws that may contribute towards these numbers.

Rounding out our list, Maryland and Delaware, located in the Mid-Atlantic region, show gun ownership rates of 30.2% and 34.4% respectively.

States with the Lowest Gun Ownership:

  1. New Jersey - 14.7%
  2. Massachusetts - 14.7%
  3. Rhode Island - 14.8%
  4. Hawaii - 14.9%
  5. New York - 19.9%
  6. Connecticut - 23.6%
  7. Illinois - 27.8%
  8. California - 28.3%
  9. Maryland - 30.2%
  10. Delaware - 34.4%

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