America about to morph

There's no doubt that the United States loves its guns. To try to understand the depths of this statement, this webpage explores:

Gun ownership throught the world

According to the most recent comprehensive survey of gun ownership worldwide performed in 2017 by the Small Arms Survey , about 46% of all civilian owned guns in the world are in the United States. The median country has 5.4 guns per 100 people; in the US, that number is 120.5 making US the only country in the world with more guns than people.

These visualizations illustrate that data, as obtained in CSV format from World Population Review . The data is also available on Wikipedia .

You can view the data on a map, as a bar plot, or in a sortable table.

US Gun Purchases

It's not particularly easy to get data on gun sales - due, I suppose, to the Dickey Amendment. The FBI, though, maintains data on background checks and these are widely considered to be the best available proxy for gun purchases in the US. The bar plot below shows those gun purchases by month.

There are several pretty clear trends:

Gun violence

One prominent byproduct of so many guns is gun violence.

Mass shootings in the US

Gun violence in North Carolina

As dramatic as mass shootings are, they only count for a fraction of killings by gun in the US. In 2022, for example, Mother Jones' data indicates there were 12 mass shootings in the US with 74 fatalities. We can consult the Gun Violence Archive to broaden the scope to account for all known instances of gun violence. We then find that in that year in North Carolina alone

The map below is a density map shaded by number of people injured or killed by guns in North Carolina during that calendar year 2022.

Guns and gun deaths

The sad part is that we know how to reduce gun deaths - simply reduce the number of guns. One of the first and still most important publications in this regard is "Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home". Unfortunately, there's not been much serious scholarship since, due to the Dickey Amendment, which was passed specifically to curtail this type of research.

It's not hard, though, to explore the relationship between the number guns and the occurence of gun violence by using publically available data. The visualization below explores the relationship between the percentage of households in a state with a gun (as estimated by RAND) and the number of people per 100,000 killed by guns in that state (as tabulated by the CDC).