10 Insane Facts About Guns And Gun Violence In America

On August 26, 2015, a mentally disturbed man shot and killed two journalists who were on the air live in Virginia. His awful actions immediately sparked a familiar debate about gun control in America. On one side were those calling for immediate reform. On the other were those fighting against any restrictions on firearms.

It’s a debate we’ve covered before, once from the pro–gun control side and once from the anti–gun control side. But this seems as good a time as any to revisit the facts surrounding guns in the US. After shunting aside the propaganda, there are some indisputable points to be made about guns and gun violence in America.

10. America Owns Nearly Half The World’s Civilian Guns


Although it’s the third most populous nation on Earth, the US has less than 5 percent of the global population living within its borders, compared to nearly 20 percent of the world’s population living in China. But if you look at gun statistics, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the US must be the biggest country on Earth. Nearly half of the world’s civilian-owned firearms are in America.

This means that the US has more civilian guns than literally any other country on Earth, with an estimated 270 million in circulation. India, which has the second highest, has about a sixth of that number. The US also has the highest per capita gun ownership, with 88.8 guns for every 100 citizens. That’s nearly double America’s closest OECD rival, Switzerland, which comes in third, toting a mere 45.7 guns per 100 citizens. Yemen is second with 54.8. Yet even these are stratospherically high ratios. France, Germany, and Austria each have around 30 guns per 100 citizens, while England and Wales have an unbelievably tiny 6.2.