Firearms play a big role in the United States of America throughout the country’s history.
Despite the reality that around 30% of Americans own guns, their access to gun ownership remains under federal gun control legislation.
Our team will dig deeper to know more about firearms ownership and find out which are the states with the most guns, so read on.
Table of Contents
- 1 20 Most Heavily-Armed States in the US
- 1.1 1. Montana
- 1.2 2. Wyoming
- 1.3 3. Wisconsin
- 1.4 4. Washington
- 1.5 5. District of Columbia
- 1.6 6. Arkansas
- 1.7 7. New Mexico
- 1.8 8. Virginia
- 1.9 9. Idaho
- 1.10 10. Alabama
- 1.11 11. Nevada
- 1.12 12. Alaska
- 1.13 13. Louisiana
- 1.14 14. West Virginia
- 1.15 15. Mississippi
- 1.16 16. North Dakota
- 1.17 17. South Dakota
- 1.18 18. Ohio
- 1.19 19. Illinois
- 1.20 20. California
- 2 State With The Most Guns Per Capita
- 3 State With The Most Unregistered Guns
- 4 What States Are Not Gun Friendly?
- 5 FAQS
- 6 In Summary
20 Most Heavily-Armed States in the US
Montana is one of the most heavily armed states in the US, wherein 66.3% of adults own guns. There are an estimated 156,557 gun sales in the state from the last quarter of 2021, and the state has a per capita gun ownership of 25.70 %.
Montana does not require a license when it comes to gun purchases and does not have a waiting period when buying a gun . With this, in every 1,000 residents of the state, there are 11.3 guns, which means there are 11,461 registered firearms among 1,015,165 people.
Wyoming is one of the states with the highest number of registered guns in America; wherein there are 195.7 guns for every 1,000 residents among 582,658 people. In addition, there are almost 66.2% of gun owners in the state. That is an estimated 140,000 registered guns as of the last quarter of 2021.
With that data being said, there is no wonder that gun deaths are continuing to rise in the state, with 25.9% firearm mortality per 100,000 population . In addition, the state has the highest gun per capita, of 240.
Wisconsin has a population of 5,742,713, and for every 1,000 residents, there are 7.8 guns and 44,705 registered firearms.
The state has 27.75 % per capita and has recorded gun sales of 79,639 from the last census of firearm ownership.
Wisconsin does not require firearm dealers to possess state permits or licenses to sell guns; however, they must register each gun store for unique dealer identification in the Department of Justice.
Washington is one of the states with the most registered weapons last 2019, with 119,829 firearms registered and 44.8% per capita. In the 6,971,406 people of Washington, an estimated 42.1% of state residents are gun owners.
Per 1,000 residents, there are 8.6 guns or 60,009 registered weapons from gun owners.
5. District of Columbia
The District of Columbia is second place when it comes to heavily armed states with 42,897 registered firearms among its population of 646,449. There are 66.4 guns registered per 1,000 residents of the District of Columbia.
While there are restrictions in the state when it comes to gun ownership, gun violence is relatively high, and 9% belong to gun-related suicides.
Arkansas is another state with the most registered guns, with 123,130 registered firearms among its population of 2,959,373.
Gun ownership and gun purchases in Arkansas are easy, and because of this, out of its population, 57.2% of Arkansans own a gun.
In every 1,000 residents of the states, there are 41.6 guns registered, and by this, it is no surprise that the state has 22.6% gun deaths per 100,000 population.
7. New Mexico
New Mexico has easier restrictions when it comes to gun control, and because of this, there are 84,471 registered guns among 2,085,287 people. Based on statistics, in every 1,000 residents, there are 40.5 guns registered and 46.2% gun ownership in the state.
Gun sales in New Mexico have been recorded to be 105,836 in 2019, and since the right to bear arms (second amendment) is implemented, it is one of the states with registered firearms.
Virginia has a population of almost 1,854,304, and for every 1,000 residents, there are 9.4 guns or 17,429 registered firearms. Considering that the state has a lower population than other regions, Virginia has a large number of gun crimes because around 44.6% of adults own a gun.
In 2019, Idaho was recorded to have 58,797 registered weapons due to its least restriction when it comes to gun ownership (acquisition from Federal Licensed Dealers and Private Sales).
Also, in a study on the given year, 60.1% of Idaho adults have guns at home.
It means there are 39,019 registered firearms among its population of 1,612,136.
Alabama is one of the Southern states with approximately 168,300 registered firearms among its 4.9 million population. Most gun owners in Alabama have a gun for home defense, and with its easy restrictions, there is an estimated 55.5% of Alabama adults who own one.
Unfortunately, due to its ease of gun laws, it is one of the states with high gun deaths. In every 100,000 population, there are 23.6% or 1,141 gun-related deaths that happened in just the year 2020.
Even in times of global pandemic, Gun sales in Nevada relatively increased last 2020 with over 57% greater than gun sales last 2019. Background checks are necessary when getting a gun in Nevada, but an estimated 47.3 % of Nevada adults still own a gun.
Nevada had almost 97,000 registered firearms among its population of 2,790,136 in 2019. Unfortunately, there has been a record of mass shootings in the state, and the latest one happened last February 26, 2022.
Alaska has a population of almost 735, 132, and for every 1,000 residents, there are 15.2 guns registered.
You can legally own machine guns in Alaska as long as it is legally registered and compliant with federal law.
In addition to this, there are 11,167 registered firearms in the state, and 64.50 % of adults own a gun.
Louisiana is one of the states with high guns sales that reached 116,398 in 2019. The state has almost 4,625,470 people, and it has an estimated 53.1% gun owners with 70,000 registered firearms.
In addition, Louisiana is a shall-issue state, so they do not require background checks, permits, and registrations in buying guns from private individuals.
14. West Virginia
West Virginia is one of the states with the highest percentage of gun owners concerning their population. As mentioned earlier, the state has almost 58.5 % of West Virginian adults owning guns at home.
Moreover, there are roughly 17,500 registered guns dispersed over 1,854,304 people. There are 9.4 guns recorded for every 1,000 residents in West Virginia, and it is no wonder that there are records of aggravated assaults in the state.
Mississippi is a shall-issue state, so background checks, registration, and a permit are not required in the state.
With this, 55.8% out of 2,991,207 or almost 1,669,093 owns a gun at home in 2019.
In the same period, there were 52,346 registered guns and destructive devices from the FBI Data.
16. North Dakota
In North Dakota, almost half of the state’s population, or 397,866, owns a gun based on the recent data of the state. For every 1,000 residents in the state, there are 9.5 handguns registered and are actively used for sports, home defense, and hunting.
Based on data, it is recorded that in 2019, there were 19,720 gun sales from the state. Since it is easy to buy a handgun in North Dakota, it is no wonder that the sales and number of guns will continue to increase.
17. South Dakota
Based on records, almost 55% of the 844,877 adults of South Dakota have guns in their homes. In 2019, there are 31,134 registered firearms and 42.37 firearms per capita on the state level. Moreso, there are 9,677 registered guns dispersed among the state’s whole population.
In addition, it is allowed for residents in South Dakota to carry a handgun in a vehicle without a permit as long as they are 18 years old and above.
In every 1,000 residents of Ohio, there are 11.4 guns registered or 131,990 registered firearms in the state.
With this, it is no surprise that the state has major issues related to gun suicides and has substantially high gun crime rates.
In a report last 2019, Ohio had 175,819 gun sales (handgun and long gun) and 16.04 guns per capita in the given year.
Illinois is one of the states with the lowest percentage of firearm owners with 27.80% gun ownership on the data last 2020. It has 12,882,135 people, and almost 3 million adults own a firearm.
Unlike other states like Texas, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, North Carolina, and South Carolina, Illinois requires Firearms Owners Identification Card in owning firearms. With this, the consumers usually deal with federally licensed dealers to save the hassle and ensure gun laws are strictly followed.
In 2020, California, together with Florida and Pennsylvania, had the least gun sales, but in 2019, the gun sales reached 376,666. Almost 28% of the people in California own a firearm, and in every 1,000 residents, there are at least 7.6 guns. That being said, there are almost 400,000 registered firearms dispersed from 38 million people in California.
State With The Most Guns Per Capita
Based on the Small Arms Survey last 2017, the US has a population size of approximately 326,474,000, and there are about 393 million firearms in the state.
Each state has its gun per capita and the lowest per 1,000 people in Rhode Island and New York.
However, it has been recorded that Wyoming has the highest number of guns per capita, of 240. There are 582,658 people in Wyoming, and there are 140,000 registered firearms in the state.
State With The Most Unregistered Guns
California is one of the states with the most unregistered guns because it is one in the country that does not require gun registration unless buying a new one. Actually, many states do not require a gun registry that it becomes a 2nd amendment sanctuary state like California.
In 2020, gun sales in California increased by over 50%; the FBI’s NIC Background check system also processed over 39.7 million, which is a key indicator of gun sales. However, there are only 344,622 registered firearms in the state.
What States Are Not Gun Friendly?
New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and California are just some of the not gun-friendly states. These states enforced additional gun laws making them more restricted than other states. In fact, their firearm restrictions include banning assault weapons and high-end magazines.
In addition, they strictly impose complete background checks before buying any firearm in the state to ensure the eligibility to bear arms. The states required purchasing new guns in FFL dealers wherein they will process the requirements in complying with gun laws.
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Idaho are some states where you can buy guns easily. The state does not require registration, permit, or license to buy a gun. However, Federal Law may require you to undergo background checks to ensure your eligibility.
The best state to buy guns is in the state you live in. It would be easier and more convenient for you to buy guns in your state where you can do a background check, get a carry permit and purchase a gun legally. In addition, you will not need to ask for a transfer if you buy it in the same state.
Alaska is the state with the loosest gun law because it is a shall-issue and permitless carry state. Firearms registration, permit to purchase, and background check is not required in owning guns acquired from private individuals. In addition, it is legal to open carry in Alaska as long as you are legally allowed to own a gun.
There are only three countries with the constitutional right to bear arms: Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. Many of us may wonder how many guns a state in the US has because we often see it as a security blanket for personal and political use.
However, being a heavily armed state does have its equal share of negativity because more guns mean increased gun violence and, worst, death. While gun laws are implemented in every state, it is important that everybody should be responsible for their given rights.