The Slatest

New Study Finds Half of All the Guns in America Are Owned by Just 3 Percent of Population

Very few Americans have a lot of the guns.

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Here’s a term you likely haven’t heard before—“gun super-owner.” The chilling descriptor comes courtesy of the Guardian and its coverage of the new, as of yet unpublished Harvard/Northeastern survey on gun ownership. The 2015 study, conducted by public health researchers, found that the majority of guns in America are concentrated in the hands of a very, very few. In fact, roughly 50 percent of the estimated 265 million guns in the U.S. are owned by just 3 percent of the adult population.


More specifically, the survey showed that the 3 percent owned 133 million guns. Each of these 7.7 million “super-owners” possess between 8 and 140 firearms for an average of 17 guns per person. For some context, most of America’s estimated 55 million gun owners own, on average, three guns and nearly half have one or two, according to the survey.

Deborah Azrael, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, despite the numbers, there was no research on “whether owning a large number of guns is a greater risk factor than owning a few guns.” We should probably look into that.