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Americans Own 300 Million Guns -- Where Can They Carry Them?

A study reported in the journal Injury Prevention last year estimated 300 million Americans owned guns in 2013. According to the data, the highest concentration of these was in the Plains states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, along with Arkansas and West Virginia.

Based on a study by 24/7 Wall St., where those guns can be carried is another matter.

In States Where Anyone Can Carry a Concealed Weapon we pointed out:

At the moment, gun control laws are primarily determined at the state level. While some states, such as California and New York, have moved to strengthen regulations, others allow practically any adult to obtain a firearm with little trouble. Perhaps just as contentious, eight states currently allow most adults to carry a concealed weapon in public, including Maine and Kansas, which passed laws permitting concealed carry in 2015.


To identify the states where anyone might have a gun, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed states where permits to carry concealed weapons are not required. All data on state gun policy, including concealed carry regulations, came from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. We also reviewed 24/7 Wall St. also examined 2014 firearm-related deaths data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gun ownership rates for each state as of 2013 were obtained from a study published in 2015 from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. The number of licensed gun sellers per 1,000 business establishments for each state are as of 2015 and came from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The states are:

1. Alaska
> Concealed carry permit required: No
> Gun ownership rate: 61.7% (the highest)
> Firearm-related death rate: 19.7 per 100,000 (the highest)

Few states have more relaxed gun policy than Alaska. The state allows residents to carry a concealed weapon, and requires no background check, waiting period, or license to own a gun. It also does not require firearm dealers to obtain a license, and does not prohibit domestic abusers from buying or owning a gun. Given the state’s very relaxed gun laws, it is no surprise that a nation-leading 61.7% of Alaskans own firearms, more than double the national gun ownership rate of 29.1%.

Higher gun ownership rates tend to coincide with more gun-related violence. This is certainly the case in Alaska, which has the worst annual firearm death rate in the country at 19.7 for every 100,000 residents, nearly double the national rate of 10.3 gun deaths per 100,000 Americans.

2. Arizona
> Concealed carry permit required: No
> Gun ownership rate: 32.3% (25th highest)
> Firearm-related death rate: 13.8 per 100,000 (17th highest)

Arizona prohibits some individuals from owning a gun, including convicted felons, those convicted of domestic violence, and those found by a court to be a danger to themselves or society. However, for those outside those groups, the state is one of the most permissive in the country when it comes to gun laws. In addition to allowing residents to carry a concealed weapon in public, the state requires no background check, waiting period, or license to buy a gun. It does not prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, .50 caliber weapons, or large capacity magazines.

Like many of the states with the least restrictive gun policies, Arizona has a higher than average firearm-related death rate. Also like many of these states, Arizona is a major source of guns used illegally in other states, ranking as the 15th largest exporter of crime guns to other states.

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