Special Report

Which Americans Own the Most Guns: All 50 States Ranked

AFP Contributor / AFP via Getty Images

To much of the world, the United States is a country defined, at least in part, by its gun culture. And with good reason. The U.S., along with Guatemala and Mexico, is one of only three countries in which gun ownership is a constitutional right. Even more telling, according to a 2020 study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the U.S. is home to an estimated 433.9 million civilian-owned firearms, equal to about 1.3 guns for every American. No other country comes close to having that many guns, let alone more guns than people. 

However, not all Americans are gun owners. Far from it, in fact. According to a 2020 study published by the RAND Corporation, a research and public policy advocacy group, only about 32% of American households own a firearm. Therefore, based on the total number of guns in the U.S. many gun-owning households likely own far more than one. 

At the state level, gun ownership rates vary considerably. In some parts of the country, fewer than one in every 10 households own at least one firearm. In others, meanwhile, well over half of all households do. 

Using data from the RAND Corporation, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the highest gun ownership rates. States are ranked by the estimated share of households that own at least one firearm. 

Firearm regulations at the state level are closely linked with gun ownership rates. Gun control advocacy group Giffords Law Center grades states based on the strength of their gun control laws on an A to F scale, with A representing the strongest gun control policies, and F representing the weakest. Each of the 10 states with the highest gun-ownership rates received an F from the Giffords score card, while nine of the 10 states with the lowest gun-ownership rates received a B+ or higher. 

Common gun control policies – which are largely absent in the states with the highest firearm ownership rates – include, but are not limited to, mandatory waiting periods, licensing requirements, public carry restrictions, and stricter background check standards. These laws are designed to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and reduce the likelihood of gun violence, accidental or otherwise. (Here is a look at the states with the strictest gun control policies.)

With a greater prevalence of firearms, and often a more lax approach to gun control, gun violence tends to be more common in the parts of the country with higher ownership rates. For example, in Massachusetts, where only 9% of households own a firearm, there were 3.4 firearm-related deaths for every 100,000 people in 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By contrast, the firearm death rate stands at 33.9 per 100,000 in Mississippi, a state where over half of all households own a firearm. (Here is a look at the states where gun-related crimes are surging.)

Click here to see gun ownership by state.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

50. New Jersey
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 8.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $103 per capita – 4th lowest of 50 states ($958.9 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 5.2 per 100,000 people – 3rd lowest of 50 states (475 total)

[in-text-ad]

49. Massachusetts
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 9.0% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $189 per capita – 19th lowest of 50 states ($1.3 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 3.4 per 100,000 people – the lowest of 50 states (247 total)

48. Hawaii
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 9.1% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $54 per capita – the lowest of 50 states ($78.4 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 4.8 per 100,000 people – 2nd lowest of 50 states (71 total)

47. Rhode Island
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 13.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $292 per capita – 17th highest of 50 states ($320.2 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 5.6 per 100,000 people – 5th lowest of 50 states (64 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

46. New York
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 14.5% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $161 per capita – 11th lowest of 50 states ($3.2 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 5.4 per 100,000 people – 4th lowest of 50 states (1,078 total)

45. California
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 16.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $153 per capita – 9th lowest of 50 states ($6.0 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 9.0 per 100,000 people – 8th lowest of 50 states (3,576 total)

[in-text-ad]

44. Maryland
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 16.7% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $162 per capita – 12th lowest of 50 states ($997.5 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 15.2 per 100,000 people – 22nd lowest of 50 states (915 total)

43. Connecticut
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 18.8% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $412 per capita – 11th highest of 50 states ($1.5 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 6.7 per 100,000 people – 6th lowest of 50 states (248 total)

42. Illinois
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 22.6% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): A-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $291 per capita – 18th highest of 50 states ($3.7 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 16.1 per 100,000 people – 25th lowest of 50 states (1,995 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

41. Florida
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 28.8% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $174 per capita – 15th lowest of 50 states ($3.8 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 14.1 per 100,000 people – 17th lowest of 50 states (3,142 total)

40. Washington
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 32.1% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $253 per capita – 20th highest of 50 states ($2.0 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 11.2 per 100,000 people – 11th lowest of 50 states (896 total)

[in-text-ad]

39. Nevada
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 32.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $255 per capita – 19th highest of 50 states ($802.3 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 19.8 per 100,000 people – 15th highest of 50 states (633 total)

38. Virginia
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 35.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $175 per capita – 16th lowest of 50 states ($1.5 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 14.3 per 100,000 people – 18th lowest of 50 states (1,248 total)

37. Texas
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 35.5% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $199 per capita – 21st lowest of 50 states ($5.9 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 15.6 per 100,000 people – 24th lowest of 50 states (4,613 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

36. New Mexico
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 35.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $91 per capita – 3rd lowest of 50 states ($191.8 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 27.8 per 100,000 people – 3rd highest of 50 states (578 total)

35. Arizona
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 36.0% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $333 per capita – 15th highest of 50 states ($2.4 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 18.3 per 100,000 people – 17th highest of 50 states (1,365 total)

[in-text-ad]

34. North Carolina
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 37.1% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $252 per capita – 21st highest of 50 states ($2.7 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 17.3 per 100,000 people – 21st highest of 50 states (1,839 total)

33. Georgia
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 37.7% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $224 per capita – 25th highest of 50 states ($2.4 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 20.3 per 100,000 people – 14th highest of 50 states (2,200 total)

32. Colorado
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 37.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $196 per capita – 20th lowest of 50 states ($1.1 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 17.8 per 100,000 people – 18th highest of 50 states (1,064 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

31. Iowa
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 38.5% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $181 per capita – 17th lowest of 50 states ($577.6 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 11.2 per 100,000 people – 12th lowest of 50 states (364 total)

30. Delaware
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 38.7% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $78 per capita – 2nd lowest of 50 states ($78.7 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 16.6 per 100,000 people – 23rd highest of 50 states (158 total)

[in-text-ad]

29. Michigan
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 38.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $212 per capita – 22nd lowest of 50 states ($2.1 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 15.4 per 100,000 people – 23rd lowest of 50 states (1,544 total)

28. Minnesota
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 39.1% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $640 per capita – 5th highest of 50 states ($3.7 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 10.0 per 100,000 people – 9th lowest of 50 states (573 total)

27. Nebraska
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 39.2% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $432 per capita – 9th highest of 50 states ($849.1 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 10.3 per 100,000 people – 10th lowest of 50 states (200 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

26. Utah
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 39.7% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $431 per capita – 10th highest of 50 states ($1.4 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 13.9 per 100,000 people – 16th lowest of 50 states (450 total)

25. Pennsylvania
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 40.2% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $239 per capita – 23rd highest of 50 states ($3.1 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 14.8 per 100,000 people – 20th lowest of 50 states (1,905 total)

[in-text-ad]

24. Oregon
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 41.4% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): B+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $391 per capita – 13th highest of 50 states ($1.7 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 14.9 per 100,000 people – 21st lowest of 50 states (670 total)

23. Ohio
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 41.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $215 per capita – 23rd lowest of 50 states ($2.5 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 16.5 per 100,000 people – 24th highest of 50 states (1,911 total)

22. Kansas
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 42.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $171 per capita – 13th lowest of 50 states ($503.1 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 17.3 per 100,000 people – 20th highest of 50 states (503 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

21. Indiana
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 42.4% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $187 per capita – 18th lowest of 50 states ($1.3 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 18.4 per 100,000 people – 16th highest of 50 states (1,251 total)

20. South Carolina
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 45.0% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $228 per capita – 24th highest of 50 states ($1.2 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 22.4 per 100,000 people – 11th highest of 50 states (1,136 total)

[in-text-ad]

19. New Hampshire
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 46.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $2,190 per capita – the highest of 50 states ($3.0 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 8.3 per 100,000 people – 7th lowest of 50 states (123 total)

18. Tennessee
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 46.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $469 per capita – 6th highest of 50 states ($3.3 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 22.8 per 100,000 people – 10th highest of 50 states (1,569 total)

17. Wisconsin
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 47.1% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): D+
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $301 per capita – 16th highest of 50 states ($1.8 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 13.5 per 100,000 people – 15th lowest of 50 states (793 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

16. Maine
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 47.7% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $445 per capita – 8th highest of 50 states ($611.3 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 12.6 per 100,000 people – 14th lowest of 50 states (178 total)

15. Vermont
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 50.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): C-
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $220 per capita – 25th lowest of 50 states ($142.1 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 11.9 per 100,000 people – 13th lowest of 50 states (83 total)

[in-text-ad]

14. Arkansas
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 51.8% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $702 per capita – 4th highest of 50 states ($2.1 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 23.3 per 100,000 people – 8th highest of 50 states (698 total)

13. Louisiana
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 52.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $150 per capita – 8th lowest of 50 states ($693.2 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 29.1 per 100,000 people – 2nd highest of 50 states (1,314 total)

12. Kentucky
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 52.5% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $216 per capita – 24th lowest of 50 states ($972.1 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 21.1 per 100,000 people – 13th highest of 50 states (947 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

11. Missouri
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 52.8% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $249 per capita – 22nd highest of 50 states ($1.5 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 23.2 per 100,000 people – 9th highest of 50 states (1,414 total)

10. Alabama
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 52.8% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $174 per capita – 14th lowest of 50 states ($875.7 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 26.4 per 100,000 people – 4th highest of 50 states (1,315 total)

[in-text-ad]

9. North Dakota
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 53.3% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $126 per capita – 6th lowest of 50 states ($98.0 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 16.8 per 100,000 people – 22nd highest of 50 states (128 total)

8. Mississippi
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 54.1% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $405 per capita – 12th highest of 50 states ($1.2 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 33.9 per 100,000 people – the highest of 50 states (962 total)

7. Oklahoma
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 54.9% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $116 per capita – 5th lowest of 50 states ($461.5 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 21.2 per 100,000 people – 12th highest of 50 states (836 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

6. South Dakota
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 55.0% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $447 per capita – 7th highest of 50 states ($400.4 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 14.3 per 100,000 people – 19th lowest of 50 states (128 total)

5. Alaska
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 57.2% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $161 per capita – 10th lowest of 50 states ($117.6 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 25.2 per 100,000 people – 6th highest of 50 states (182 total)

[in-text-ad]

4. Idaho
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 57.8% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $1,223 per capita – 2nd highest of 50 states ($2.3 billion total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 16.3 per 100,000 people – 25th highest of 50 states (309 total)

3. West Virginia
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 60.0% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $143 per capita – 7th lowest of 50 states ($254.8 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 17.3 per 100,000 people – 19th highest of 50 states (319 total)

2. Wyoming
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 60.7% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $1,066 per capita – 3rd highest of 50 states ($617.0 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 26.1 per 100,000 people – 5th highest of 50 states (155 total)

[in-text-ad-2]

1. Montana
> Est. firearm ownership rate: 65.0% of households
> Gun control laws grade; A (strongest) to F (weakest): F
> Annual economic output of firearm industry: $352 per capita – 14th highest of 50 states ($389.3 million total)
> Gun deaths in 2021: 25.1 per 100,000 people – 7th highest of 50 states (280 total)

Methodology

To identify the gun ownership rate in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from a 2020 study published by the RAND Corporation, a research and public policy advocacy group. States are ranked by the estimated share of households that owned at least one firearm in 2016, the most recent year of available data. 

Supplemental data on the strength of each state’s gun control laws came from the Annual Gun Law Scorecard, published by the Giffords Law Center, a gun control advocacy group. States are graded on a letter grade scale of A to F, with A representing the strongest gun control laws and F the weakest. 

Additional data on the economic impact of the firearm industry, including all supporting industries, is from the latest Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry advocacy group. Economic output is current as of 2022. To calculate economic output per capita at the state level, we used population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

We also reviewed 2021 firearm mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.