Due to the limitations of the software I used to make my infographic I wasn’t able to specifically cite how I got each statistic I put into it. So I’ve decided to explain them all in detail here in this post. That way everybody can see how I got to the numbers I did.
270 Million civilian owned guns – this comes directly from the most recent Small Arms Survey which is conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and studies civilian ownership of guns throughout the world.
89 civilian owned guns per 100 residents – this also comes directly from the most recent Small Arms Survey.
The US is #1 in the world when it comes to gun ownership – this too comes directly from the most recent Small Arms Survey.
I should note that, given the incredible increase in gun purchases over the last four years, these numbers are likely lower than reality.
The US doesn’t even crack the top 25 in gun murder rate – this comes from information provided by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime and compiled by the Guardian.
You can read more about America’s gun ownership rate vs our gun murder rate and why it matters in this piece I wrote for CNS News.
77.3% of justifiable homicides committed by civilians involved a gun – this statistic comes from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that 201 of the 260 total justified homicides in 2011 involved a firearm.
99.2% of justifiable homicides committed by police involved a gun – this statistic also comes from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that 390 of the 393 total justified homicides in 2011 involved a firearm.
You can check out my CNS News piece on firearm use in justifiable homicides to read more about this and why it’s important.
2.5 Million incidents of defensive gun use per year in the US – This stat comes from the National Self-Defense Survey which was conducted by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz in 1995.
Rifles were involved in fewer homicides in 2011 than blunt objects, fists, and knives – This stat is taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 496 involving blunt objects, 728 involving fists, and 1694 involving knives.
1.5x as many homicides were committed with blunt objects than rifles – This stat is also taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 496 involving blunt objects.
2.2x as many homicides were committed with fists than rifles – This stat is also taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 728 involving fists.
5.2x as many homicides were committed with knives than rifles – This stat is also taken from the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 1694 involving knives.
2.6% of murders in 2011 involved rifles (including AR-15s) – This stat was also compiled using the FBI’s most recent unified crime report which states that there were 323 homicides involving rifles in 2011 while there were 12,664 total homicides that year.
17 thoughts on “Explained: Gun Facts You Need To Know”
Can you also include hand guns in your study? I am a life long member of the NRA, but your points are a little weak if you are just comparing rifles. Another topic that is debated is large magazine clips. I would be interested in how many murders happened when someone unloaded a 30 round clip, vs a 10 round clip, vs a single action like a bolt action or pump action.
As a NRA member, I see you use the term clip, which the media and those who don’t know anything about firearms use. No one makes a 30 round clip. If you are using clips, you have a WWII vintage weapon. Modern rifles use standard 30 round magazines.
I agree with Brian on these points being very weak toward the privilege to own a FIREARM. I emphasize the word firearm because an AR 15 is not a firearm; It’s a weapon designed with the intention to dispatch humans; that’s why they’re military issue and should stay within the military. There is no reason for ANYONE to own a weapon designed to kill humans, unless you’re in the armed forces.
In terms of self/home-defense, if you can’t defend yourself with a pistol, or shotgun then how the hell do you think you would be able to protect yourself with an assault rifle?
I’m an avid hunter, supporter of the NRA, and strong believer in the 2nd amendment. Though not everyone realizes the second amendment was written in response to the face the US had no formal military at the time and needed any able bodied man to carry a gun to protect our freedom. Also, these guns were FUCKING MUSKETS!! A lot different than what we have now, so of course it makes sense to adapt with the time.
Not every Tom, Dick, and Harry should own a gun. It’s a true privilege to own a firearm; a privilege that needs to earned, much like getting your driver’s license.
Good point, Steve, but you’re still not completely correct. Clips are used now as they always have been: to facilitate the loading of a magazine by holding several cartridges together. The vintage weapons you mention just didn’t have *detachable* magazines. I try to purchase my 5.56mm on what are now called “stripper clips” that allow me to more easily load AR mags by attaching the clip to the top and stripping the rounds (10 per clip) off the clip by applying downward pressure. Much of the current military bulk ammo comes in this configuration – on clips.
Thanks for this great infographic! Just wanted to correct one thing, though. For percentage of murders committed with rifles in 2011, you have misplaced the decimal point. 323/12,664 is 2.6%, NOT 0.026%.
Charlie you are completely wrong. A musket was designed with the same purpose as an assault rifle. That was the contemporary design of the time and a common in use firearm. An AR-15 meets that criteria exactly. It is a common in use contemporary FIREARM. Any attempt to portray otherwise will be factually incorrect. You also are the biggest enemy to the 2nd Amendment that could possibly exist. Your vitriol feeds the anti-gun crowd like wind to a wildfire. Any person willing to sacrifice their RIGHT to own an AR-15 or any other type of firearm is a fool that will cry the loudest when that right is lost forever. Your comment was nothing more than vitriol and fallacies.
@ Charlie, so by your rational then the internet, tv, and radio are not protected by the first amendment. since they were not invented when the constitution was written. it is apparent that everyone who posted here except steve is anti-2A. Just remember it is the second that defends the rest, think about that before you are so quick to give up your rights.
Thanks for pointing out the typo. I’ve fixed it.
}}}} It’s a weapon designed with the intention to dispatch humans; that’s why they’re military issue and should stay within the military. There is no reason for ANYONE to own a weapon designed to kill humans, unless you’re in the armed forces.
First off, I have great news for you: NO military in its right mind would equip its soldiers with AR-15 semi-auto rifles. No military would equip its soldiers with semi-auto rifles, period. The difference between an “assault” weapon and a “non-assault” weapon, if you’re not an ignorant anti-gun zealot, is auto vs. semi-auto. Even the PARA-military — the police — generally equip full auto on their SWAT teams.
Second off, you are absolutely WRONG about the need for citizens to have weapons designed to kill humans. The ENTIRE point of the 2nd Amendment is to make sure that the government NEVER feels secure in abrogating the other rights that the Constitution grants — never believes that, if “push comes to shove” — that they can win a stand-up fight with citizens. This requires that citizens not be armed EQUAL to the military (who may not be interested in fighting the citizens, and may even side with them in many cases), but sufficiently powerfully enough that the citizens can win based on numbers. More critically, the notion is not to FIGHT and WIN such a battle, but to make certain that the POLITICIANS never ever even think — for a moment — that they MIGHT win such a test of will.
}}} I’m an avid hunter, supporter of the NRA, and strong believer in the 2nd amendment. Though not everyone realizes the second amendment was written in response to the face the US had no formal military at the time and needed any able bodied man to carry a gun to protect our freedom.
Charlie, I have news for you: EVERYONE who is an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment knows the circumstances under which the 2nd A was placed in the Constitution. And it’s got nothing to do with “needing a militia” in place of a standing army. Try reading the Federalist Papers — specifically #46 — written by James Madison, no less — which details the EXACT reason — to those who were going to VOTE for the Constitution — for having that Amendment there. It is specifically stated that the militia — “no less than every able-bodied citizen of the whole United States” — stands between the people and any possible tyranny which might arise in the Federal government.
}}} Also, these guns were FUCKING MUSKETS!! A lot different than what we have now, so of course it makes sense to adapt with the time.
Now we see that you’re a typical gun-controlling liberal, regardless of your claims that you support the NRA and hunt, probably garbage, but I’m sure there are a few such who fail to grasp things.
As noted, as long as the purpose of the 2A is to make the Federal government think twice about any possible effort to impose tyranny on the citizenry, it’s clear that “fucking muskets” is irrelevant. The weaponry of the citizenry is supposed to be the weaponry of the infantry — and since that’s technically FULL AUTO weapons, which we’re not even arguing for, it’s rather clear — those who understand WHY there is a 2A have yielded ENOUGH limits already on what they can have, when they don’t have full auto weapons. Reduced magazine sizes and reduced capacity arms beyond semi-auto are inappropriate and will be resisted — WITH FORCE IF NEED BE.
}}} It’s a true privilege to own a firearm
No, Charlie — IT’S A MOTHER FUCKING ***right**. That’s what you gun-grabbers don’t get. Rosa Parks did not NEED to sit in front of the bus. She had the RIGHT to do so. She didn’t need a REASON to sit there and not somewhere else. It was her **RIGHT**.
Got that? Probably not, is my guess.
You forgot to include the statistic about how many mass murders were committed by blunt objects or fists vs rifles and pistols.
Same old, Steve. Still twisting the facts to serve your point, and being too myopic to consider counter arguments, as demonstrated above when you focused on the one commenter’s mention of “clip” (which you were still wrong) and didn’t address the larger issue of the massive blind spot in your facts.
Bet you don’t let this be published either.
What are you even talking about? I’m pretty sure you’re mistaking somebody else’s comment for mine. Good job.
I made a minor change in the language of the ifographic. When comparing homicides involving rifles to homicides involving other weapons I changed the language from “more” to “as many” because an emailer thought it was clearer.
}}} The Man Says:
… pretty much nothing but unspecified and unbacked claims.
Typical liberal response. Devoid of any kind of valid rhetorical argument of any kind.
}}} You forgot to include the statistic about how many mass murders were committed by blunt objects or fists vs rifles and pistols.
Your most valid comment, but still pretty worthless and easily dispatched —
Which is relevant HOW? All the laws being proposed say nothing about pistols, pretty much. They almost exclusively target rifles, and some shotguns. So why are these being focused on? A few assholes use them in high profile crimes, this means we have to pass laws affecting 100 million people — almost all of them law abiding — for each one of the three? That’s so retarded it’s not even funny.
As a blurb making the rounds notes, all these laws talk about taking guns from law abiding citizens, and nary a word about taking them from actual criminals. And that’s if we ignore the blatant unConstitutionality of them as laws in the first place. If you want to change things, change the Constitution. Except you know you can’t do that. So you try and pass laws which violate the Constitution on the presumption that that MIGHT not get fought against as hard.