A gun store in Wenatchee, Washington, United States
A gun store in Prague, Czech Republic

In 2018, the Small Arms Survey reported that there are over one billion small arms distributed globally, of which 857 million (about 85 percent) are in civilian hands.[1][2] The survey stated that American civilians account for an estimated 393 million (about 46 percent) of the worldwide total of civilian held firearms,[2] or about 120.5 firearms for every 100 American residents.[2]

The world's armed forces control about 133 million (approximately 18 percent) of the global total of small arms, of which over 43 percent belong to two countries: Russia (30.3 million) and China (27.5 million).[1] Law enforcement agencies control about 23 million (about 2 percent) of the global total of small arms.[1] Gun ownership is a protected right in countries such as the United States, Mexico, Guatemala.[3]

Global distribution of civilian-held firearms

The following data comes from the Small Arms Survey. For more tables see: Estimated number of civilian guns per capita by country and Percent of households with guns by country.

World wide civilian firearms holdings, 2017[4][5]
Countries and territories Estimate of firearms in civilian possession Population 2017 Estimate of civilian firearms per 100 people
Afghanistan 4,270,000 34,169,000 12.5
Albania 350,000 2,911,000 12.0
Algeria 877,000 41,064,000 2.1
American Samoa (United States) 400 56,000 0.7
Andorra 10,000 69,000 14.1
Angola 2,982,000 26,656,000 11.2
Antigua and Barbuda 5,000 94,000 5.4
Argentina 3,256,000 44,272,000 7.4
Armenia 186,000 3,032,000 6.1
Aruba (Netherlands) 3,000 105,000 2.6
Australia 3,573,000 24,642,000 14.5
Austria 2,577,000 8,592,000 30.0
Azerbaijan 362,000 9,974,000 3.6
Bahamas 74,000 397,000 18.8
Bahrain 181,000 1,419,000 12.8
Bangladesh 659,000 164,828,000 0.4
Barbados 10,000 286,000 3.5
Belarus 581,000 9,459,000 6.1
Belgium 1,451,000 11,444,000 12.7
Belize 37,000 375,000 10.0
Benin 33,000 11,459,000 0.3
Bermuda (United Kingdom) 3,000 61,000 4.6
Bhutan 6,000 793,000 0.8
Bolivia 218,000 11,053,000 2.0
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,185,000 3,793,000 31.2
Botswana 97,000 2,344,000 4.1
Brazil 17,510,000 211,243,000 8.3
Brunei 6,000 434,000 1.4
Bulgaria 590,000 7,045,000 8.4
Burkina Faso 175,000 19,173,000 0.9
Burundi 238,000 11,936,000 2.0
Cambodia 717,000 16,076,000 4.5
Cameroon 510,000 24,514,000 2.1
Canada 12,708,000 36,626,000 34.7
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) 31,000 533,000 5.7
Cayman Islands (United Kingdom) 6,000 62,000 9.2
Central African Republic 94,000 5,099,000 1.8
Chad 151,000 14,965,000 1.0
Channel Islands 23,000 165,000 14.0
Chile 2,220,000 18,313,000 12.1
China 49,735,000 1,388,233,000 3.6
Christmas Island 0 2,000 0.0
Colombia 4,971,000 49,068,000 10.1
Comoros 12,000 826,000 1.5
Costa Rica 493,000 4,906,000 10.0
Croatia 576,000 4,210,000 13.7
Cuba 234,000 11,390,000 2.1
Curaçao 4,000 160,000 2.6
Cyprus 285,000 839,000 34.0
Czech Republic 1,323,000 10,555,000 12.5
Democratic Republic of Congo 946,000 82,243,000 1.2
Denmark 567,000 5,712,000 9.9
Djibouti 28,000 911,000 3.1
Dominica 5,000 73,000 6.2
Dominican Republic 795,000 10,767,000 7.4
Ecuador 402,000 16,626,000 2.4
Egypt 3,931,000 95,215,000 4.1
El Salvador 737,000 6,167,000 12.0
England and Wales 2,731,000 58,877,000 4.6
Equatorial Guinea 112,000 894,000 12.5
Eritrea 23,000 5,482,000 0.4
Estonia 65,000 1,306,000 5.0
Ethiopia 377,000 104,345,000 0.4
Falkland Islands (United Kingdom) 2,000 3,000 66.7
Faroe Islands (Denmark) 5,000 49,000 9.9
Fiji 5,000 903,000 0.5
Finland 1,793,000 5,541,000 32.4
France 12,732,000 64,939,000 19.6
French Guiana (France) 55,000 283,000 19.6
French Polynesia (France) 7,000 289,000 2.5
Gabon 61,000 1,801,000 3.4
Gambia 137,000 2,120,000 6.5
Georgia 402,000 3,973,000 10.1
Germany 15,822,000 80,636,000 19.6
Ghana 2,280,000 28,657,000 8.0
Gibraltar (United Kingdom) 1,000 32,000 4.1
Greece 1,920,000 10,893,000 17.6
Greenland (Denmark) 13,000 56,000 22.3
Grenada 5,000 108,000 4.6
Guadeloupe (France) 40,000 472,000 8.5
Guam (United States) 20,000 174,000 11.5
Guatemala 2,062,000 17,005,000 12.1
Guinea 130,000 13,291,000 1.0
Guinea-Bissau 29,000 1,933,000 1.5
Guyana 122,000 774,000 15.8
Haiti 291,000 10,983,000 2.6
Holy See 0 1,000 0.0
Honduras 1,171,000 8,305,000 14.1
Hong Kong (China) 265,000 7,402,000 3.6
Hungary 1,023,000 9,788,000 10.5
Iceland 106,000 334,000 31.7
India 71,101,000 1,342,513,000 5.3
Indonesia 82,000 263,510,000 0.03
Iran 5,890,000 80,946,000 7.3
Iraq 7,588,000 38,654,000 19.6
Ireland 342,000 4,749,000 7.2
Israel 557,000 8,323,000 6.7
Italy 8,609,000 59,798,000 14.4
Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) 1,049,000 23,816,000 4.4
Jamaica 246,000 2,813,000 8.8
Japan 377,000 126,045,000 0.3
Jordan 1,473,000 7,877,000 18.7
Kazakhstan 504,000 18,064,000 2.8
Kenya 750,000 48,467,000 1.5
Kiribati 900 116,000 0.8
Kosovo 436,000 1,831,000 23.8
Kuwait 685,000 4,100,000 16.7
Kyrgyzstan 171,000 6,125,000 2.8
Laos 215,000 7,038,000 3.0
Latvia 205,000 1,945,000 10.5
Lebanon 1,927,000 6,039,000 31.9
Lesotho 105,000 2,185,000 4.8
Liberia 97,000 4,730,000 2.1
Libya 851,000 6,409,000 13.3
Liechtenstein 11,000 38,000 28.8
Lithuania 385,000 2,831,000 13.6
Luxembourg 110,000 584,000 18.9
Macao (China) 22,000 606,000 3.6
Madagascar 168,000 25,613,000 0.7
Malawi 47,000 18,299,000 0.3
Malaysia 217,000 31,164,000 0.7
Maldives 23,000 376,000 6.2
Mali 206,000 18,690,000 1.1
Malta 119,000 421,000 28.3
Marshall Islands 300 53,000 0.5
Martinique (France) 34,000 396,000 8.5
Mauritania 120,000 4,266,000 2.8
Mauritius 106,000 1,281,000 8.3
Mexico 16,809,000 130,223,000 12.9
Micronesia 700 106,000 0.7
Moldova 121,000 4,055,000 3.0
Monaco 7,000 38,000 18.4
Mongolia 242,000 3,052,000 7.9
Montenegro 245,000 626,000 39.1
Montserrat (United Kingdom) 300 5,000 5.4
Morocco 1,690,000 35,241,000 4.8
Mozambique 1,337,000 29,538,000 4.5
Myanmar 877,000 54,836,000 1.6
Namibia 396,000 2,569,000 15.4
Nauru 0 10,000 0.0
Nepal 444,000 29,187,000 1.5
Netherlands 442,000 17,033,000 2.6
New Caledonia (France) 115,000 270,000 42.5
New Zealand 1,212,000 4,605,000 26.3
Nicaragua 323,000 6,218,000 5.2
Niger 117,000 21,564,000 0.5
Nigeria 6,154,000 191,836,000 3.2
Northern Ireland 206,000 1,873,000 11.0
Northern Mariana Islands (United States) 1,000 56,000 2.6
North Korea 76,000 25,405,000 0.3
Norway 1,537,000 5,331,000 28.8
Oman 792,000 4,741,000 16.7
Pakistan 43,917,000 196,744,000 22.3
Palau 100 22,000 0.5
Palestinian Territories 56,000 4,952,000 1.1
Panama 436,000 4,051,000 10.8
Papua New Guinea 79,000 7,934,000 1.0
Paraguay 1,140,000 6,812,000 16.7
Peru 633,000 32,166,000 2.0
Philippines 3,776,000 103,797,000 3.6
Poland 968,000 38,564,000 2.5
Portugal 2,186,000 10,265,000 21.3
Puerto Rico (United States) 422,000 3,679,000 11.5
Puntland 246,000 1,995,000 12.3
Qatar 390,000 2,338,000 16.7
Republic of Congo 119,000 4,866,000 2.4
Réunion (France) 171,000 873,000 19.6
Romania 506,000 19,238,000 2.6
Russian Federation 17,620,000 143,375,000 12.3
Rwanda 66,000 12,160,000 0.5
Saint Kitts and Nevis 2,000 57,000 3.4
Saint Lucia 6,000 188,000 3.4
Saint Martin (France) 3,000 32,000 8.5
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4,000 110,000 3.4
Samoa 20,000 196,000 10.1
San Marino 5,000 32,000 15.6
São Tomé and Principe 7,000 198,000 3.4
Saudi Arabia 12,564,000 32,743,000 53.7
Scotland 305,000 5,436,000 5.6
Senegal 323,000 16,054,000 2.0
Serbia 2,719,000 6,946,000 39.1
Seychelles 4,000 98,000 4.1
Sierra Leone 35,000 6,733,000 0.5
Singapore 20,000 5,785,000 0.3
Sint Maarten (Netherlands) 2,000 40,000 4.2
Slovakia 355,000 5,432,000 6.5
Slovenia 324,000 2,071,000 15.6
Solomon Islands 1,000 606,000 0.2
Somalia 1,145,000 9,225,000 12.4
Somaliland 456,000 3,823,000 11.9
South Africa 5,351,000 55,436,000 9.7
South Korea 79,000 50,705,000 0.2
South Sudan 1,255,000 13,096,000 9.6
Spain 3,464,000 46,070,000 7.5
Sri Lanka 494,000 20,905,000 2.4
Sudan 2,768,000 42,166,000 6.6
Suriname 88,000 552,000 15.9
Swaziland 64,000 1,320,000 4.8
Sweden 2,296,000 9,921,000 23.1
Switzerland 2,332,000 8,454,000 27.6
Syrian Arab Republic 1,547,000 18,907,000 8.2
Taiwan 10,000 23,405,000 0.04
Tajikistan 37,000 8,858,000 0.4
Tanzania 427,000 56,878,000 0.8
Thailand 10,342,000 68,298,000 15.1
Timor-Leste (East Timor) 3,000 1,237,000 0.3
Togo 58,000 7,692,000 0.8
Tonga 9,000 108,000 8.0
Trinidad and Tobago 43,000 1,369,000 3.2
Tunisia 123,000 11,495,000 1.1
Turkey 13,249,000 80,418,000 16.5
Turkmenistan 23,000 5,503,000 0.4
Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom) 1,000 35,000 3.3
Tuvalu 100 10,000 1.2
Uganda 331,000 41,653,000 0.8
Ukraine 4,396,000 44,405,000 9.9
United Arab Emirates 1,569,000 9,398,000 16.7
United States 393,347,000 326,474,000 120.5
Uruguay 1,198,000 3,457,000 34.7
Uzbekistan 127,000 30,691,000 0.4
Vanuatu 11,000 276,000 3.9
Venezuela 5,895,000 31,926,000 18.5
Vietnam 1,562,000 95,415,000 1.6
Virgin Islands (United Kingdom) 300 31,000 0.8
Virgin Islands (United States) 18,000 107,000 16.6
Yemen 14,859,000 28,120,000 52.8
Zambia 158,000 17,238,000 0.9
Zimbabwe 455,000 16,338,000 2.8

Association with rates of violence in times of peace

Multiple studies show that where people have easy access to firearms, gun-related deaths tend to be more frequent, including by suicide, homicide and unintentional injuries.[6]
Gun-related death rates are positively correlated with household gun ownership rates.[7]
U.S. gun sales have risen steadily in the 21st century, peaking in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.[8] "NICS" is the FBI's National Instant Background Check System.[better source needed]

Some studies suggest that higher rates of gun ownership are associated with higher homicide rates,[9][10][11] although Gary Kleck argues that the highest-quality studies show that gun ownership does not increase homicide rates.[12] Higher rates of gun ownership are also associated with higher suicide rates[13][14] and higher accidental gun death rates.[15][16][17] The availability of illegal guns, but not that of legal guns, is associated with higher rates of violent crime.[18]

An international study by UNICRI researchers from 2001 examined the link between household gun ownership and overall homicide, overall suicide, as well as gun homicide and gun suicide rates amongst 21 countries. Significant correlations between household gun ownership and rates of gun suicides for both genders, and gun homicide rates involving female victims were found. There were no significant correlations detected for total homicide and suicide rates, as well as gun homicide rates involving male victims.[19] This study has been criticized for combining high-income countries (like the United States) with middle-income countries (like Estonia); if middle-income countries are excluded from the analysis, a strong relationship emerges between gun ownership and homicide.[20] However the Hemenway study has been criticized in response as well. When removing the United States as an outlier and using the superior proxy of gun ownership in the study (percentage of firearm suicides over all suicides), the relationship ceases to be significant. The association between gun ownership and homicide rates across nations is dependent on the inclusion of the U.S.[21] Studies in Canada that examined the levels of gun ownership by province have found no correlations with provincial overall suicide rates.[22] A 2011 study conducted looking at the effects of gun control legislation passed in Canada and the associated effects in homicide rates found no significant reductions in homicide rates as a result of legislation.[23] A case-control study conducted in New Zealand looking at household gun ownership and the risk of suicides found no significant associations.[24]

Maps

Map of countries by estimated civilian firearms per capita
Estimated Household Firearm Ownership Rate by U.S. state in 2016

Gallery

3 pistols and a silencer in a glass case
A gun store in Lisbon, Portugal
Person at a shooting range

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c smallarmssurvey.org Small Arms Survey reveals: More than one billion firearms in the world
  2. ^ a b c smallarmssurvey.org Estimating Global CivilianHELD Firearms Numbers. Aaron Karp. June 2018
  3. ^ Haroun, Brennan Weiss, James Pasley, Azmi. "Only 3 countries in the world protect the right to bear arms in their constitutions: the US, Mexico, and Guatemala". Business Insider. Retrieved 2023-04-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ smallarmssurvey.org June 2018, Estimating Global Civilian Held Firearms Numbers by Aaron Karp
  5. ^ Civilian Firearms Holdings, 2017. smallarmssurvey.org. Archived on 29 June 2018.
  6. ^ Fox, Kara; Shveda, Krystina; Croker, Natalie; Chacon, Marco (November 26, 2021). "How US gun culture stacks up with the world". CNN. Archived from the original on November 26, 2021. CNN's attribution: Developed countries are defined based on the UN classification, which includes 36 countries. Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (Global Burden of Disease 2019), Small Arms Survey (Civilian Firearm Holdings 2017)
  7. ^ Mortality data from "Firearm Mortality by State". cdc.gov. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. 2022. Archived from the original on June 3, 2023. The number of deaths per 100,000 total population. Source: wonder.cdc.gov ● Household firearm ownership data from Schell, Terry L.; Peterson, Samuel; Vegetabile, Brian G.; Scherling, Adam; Smart, Rosanna; Morral, Andrew R. (April 22, 2020). "State-Level Estimates of Household Firearm Ownership". rand.org. RAND Corporation. p. 21. Archived from the original on May 5, 2023. Fig. 2. PDF file (download link)
  8. ^ ● Gun sale data from Brownlee, Chip (December 31, 2023). "Gun Violence by the Numbers in 2023". The Trace. Archived from the original on January 28, 2024.
    ● NICS firearm check data downloaded via link at "NICS Firearm Background Checks: Month/Year" (PDF). FBI.gov. Federal Bureau of Investigation. January 2024. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 29, 2024.
  9. ^ Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David (December 2002). "Rates of Household Firearm Ownership and Homicide Across US Regions and States, 1988–1997". American Journal of Public Health. 92 (12): 1988–1993. doi:10.2105/AJPH.92.12.1988. PMC 1447364. PMID 12453821.
  10. ^ Hoskin, Anthony W. (September 2001). "Armed Americans: The impact of firearm availability on national homicide rates". Justice Quarterly. 18 (3): 569–592. doi:10.1080/07418820100095021. S2CID 143203446.
  11. ^ Miller, Matthew; Hemenway, David; Azrael, Deborah (February 2007). "State-level homicide victimization rates in the US in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001–2003". Social Science & Medicine. 64 (3): 656–664. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.09.024. PMID 17070975.
  12. ^ Kleck, Gary (January 2015). "The Impact of Gun Ownership Rates on Crime Rates: A Methodological Review of the Evidence". Journal of Criminal Justice. 43 (1): 40–48. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2014.12.002.
  13. ^ Anestis, MD; Houtsma, C (13 March 2017). "The Association Between Gun Ownership and Statewide Overall Suicide Rates". Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 48 (2): 204–217. doi:10.1111/sltb.12346. PMID 28294383. S2CID 4756779.
  14. ^ Westefeld, John S.; Gann, Lianne C.; Lustgarten, Samuel D.; Yeates, Kevin J. (2016). "Relationships between firearm availability and suicide: The role of psychology". Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 47 (4): 271–277. doi:10.1037/pro0000089.
  15. ^ Miller, M; Azrael, D; Hemenway, D (February 2002). "Firearm availability and unintentional firearm deaths, suicide, and homicide among 5-14 year olds". The Journal of Trauma. 52 (2): 267–74, discussion 274–5. doi:10.1097/00005373-200202000-00011. PMID 11834986.
  16. ^ Miller, M. (1 March 2002). "Firearm Availability and Suicide, Homicide, and Unintentional Firearm Deaths Among Women". Journal of Urban Health. 79 (1): 26–38. doi:10.1093/jurban/79.1.26. PMC 3456383. PMID 11937613.
  17. ^ Miller, Mathew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David (July 2001). "Firearm availability and unintentional firearm deaths". Accident Analysis & Prevention. 33 (4): 477–484. doi:10.1016/S0001-4575(00)00061-0. PMID 11426678.
  18. ^ Stolzenberg, L.; D'Alessio, S. J. (1 June 2000). "Gun Availability and Violent Crime: New Evidence from the National Incident-Based Reporting System". Social Forces. 78 (4): 1461–1482. doi:10.1093/sf/78.4.1461.
  19. ^ https://pure.uvt.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/5263789/GunsKilliasvKesteren.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ Hemenway, David (June 2009). "Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser. "Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence" Harvard Journal of Law and Policy" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  21. ^ Kleck, Gary (2004). "Measures of Gun Ownership Levels for Macro-Level Crime and Violence Research". Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 41: 3–36. doi:10.1177/0022427803256229. S2CID 145245290.
  22. ^ "Firearms, Accidental Deaths, Suicides and Violent Crime: An Updated Review of the Literature with Special Reference to the Canadian Situation". 10 March 1999.
  23. ^ Langmann, Caillin (2012). "Canadian Firearms Legislation and Effects on Homicide 1974 to 2008". Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 27 (12): 2303–2321. doi:10.1177/0886260511433515. PMID 22328660. S2CID 42273865.
  24. ^ Beautrais, Annette L.; Joyce, Peter R.; Mulder, Roger T. (1996). "Access to Firearms and the Risk of Suicide: A Case Control Study". Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 30 (6): 741–748. doi:10.3109/00048679609065040. PMID 9034462. S2CID 9805679.

Further reading