U.S.: Gun Ownership Rates, by year
YearSurveyed U.S. citizens,
in %
202342
202245
202142
202042
201937
201843
201742
201639
201541
201442
201337
201243
201145
201039
200940
200842
200742
200643
200540
200438
200343
200241
200140
200039
199644
199047
198544
198045
197544
197243
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 2000 to 2022
  • Published: Nov 2022

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 15, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Decade-long Stability in Gun Ownership

Gun ownership rates among surveyed U.S. citizens have shown remarkable stability over the last decade, with annual percentages frequently hovering around the 42% mark. Notable years include 2023, 2021, 2020, and 2014, all reporting identical ownership rates.

Peak and Trough in Recent Years

The highest reported gun ownership rate in the last decade was 45% in 2022 and 2011, while the lowest was 37% in 2019 and 2013, indicating a fluctuating but resilient gun culture within the United States.

Long-term Trends Show Minor Decline

Considering a broader timeframe, a slight decline in gun ownership is observable when comparing the peak of 47% in 1990 to the most recent figure of 42% in 2023. This minor shift suggests evolving attitudes or demographics over several decades.

Early 2000s Stability

The early 2000s demonstrated consistent gun ownership rates, with years like 2003, 2006, and 2012 all reporting a 43% rate. This period marks a phase of relative steadiness before the fluctuations of the subsequent years.

Comparison with the Late 20th Century

When comparing recent data with that of the late 20th century, there is a notable consistency in gun ownership rates. For instance, the 43% rate in 1972 closely mirrors the 42% rate observed in 2023, underscoring the enduring nature of gun ownership in American society.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the trend in U.S. gun ownership between 1972 and 2023?

Between 1972 and 2023, U.S. gun ownership fluctuates, spanning between 37% and 47%, hinting at changing societal attitudes toward gun ownership throughout distinct periods of time.

What were the peak and trough of gun ownership in recent years?

In the last decade, gun ownership peaked at 45% in both 2011 and 2022, while the lowest recorded gun ownership was at 37% in 2019.

What long-term trend can be observed over the span of 50 years for gun ownership?

Over the span of fifty years, gun ownership rates range between 37%, the trough noted in 2019, and 47%, the peak observed in 1990. This suggests a core level of societal commitment to gun ownership along with periods of increased skepticism or regulatory influences.

Terms and Definitions

Gun ownership refers to the act of possessing and controlling a firearm. The ownership may be legal or illegal depending on the laws and regulations of the specific country, with different jurisdictions having different restrictions and conditions for gun possession.

The Second Amendment is part of the United States Constitution which guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms. It is a point of contention in public debate because of the ambiguity in its interpretation - whether it provides the right for individuals to own guns or for states to maintain militias.

A firearm is a device that fires ammunition due to the gases produced by rapid, confined combustion. Examples include guns, rifles, and pistols. It's the general term for all types of guns.

Ammunition is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon or firearm. It represents any type of material that can be used with intent to inflict damage or harm.

Gun regulations refer to the laws and policies that govern the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, and use of firearms by civilians. They vary widely among the 50 states in the U.S.

Gun control refers to the laws or policies made to control the production, sale, purchase, and use of firearms by civilians. It often refers to restrictions imposed on certain types of firearms, or to restrictions on the possession of firearms by certain types of people.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is a United States system for determining if prospective firearms or explosives buyers' name and birth year match those of a person who is not eligible to buy. It was mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

Lobbying in the U.S. is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, typically legislators or members of regulatory agencies. In the context of gun ownership, this may refer to activities conducted by gun control advocates or gun rights activists.

The National Rifle Association is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights. It is involved in the political sphere, training in the use of firearms, and promotion of shooting sports and self-defense within the United States.
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