In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest in American history, the debate over gun control has ratcheted up to a fever pitch. One fact is not in dispute: Americans have a lot of guns.
This article ranks all fifty states according to how heavily armed they are, on a per-capita basis. The data was collected from the ATF’s National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as well as the 2013 U.S. Census.
The data is an incomplete set, as it only includes firearm categories regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. Many guns don’t fall within those guidelines, and unregistered firearms obviously aren’t tallied either.
We have also included information about state laws regarding concealed and open carry of firearms (we are not an authority here and if you are a gun owner, please refer to your local laws for details about the legality of firearm ownership and public carrying).
51. New York
New York boasts the title of least-heavily-armed state in the nation. It averages only 3.3 guns per thousand residents.
The actual numbers are 64,353 registered guns owned by 19,651,127 people. Keep in mind that these figures are incomplete.
Conspicuously and importantly absent from the data are registered pistols. Pistols constitute a very large percentage of the total firearms owned by Americans.
50. Rhode Island
Rhode Island averages 3.8 guns per thousand residents. There are 3,973 registered firearms owned by 1,051,511 Rhode Islanders.
Concealed carry is legal in Rhode Island, but the path to licensing is a complicated one. Rhode Island is both a “shall issue” and a “may issue” state – “shall issue” meaning that any legally qualified applicant is entitled to a permit when applying to local authorities and “may issue” meaning the permit may be denied if applying for one through the state’s attorney general’s office, as per their judgement.
Open carry of long guns is not prohibited by state law. Open carry of handguns is legal or illegal depending on who issued the carry permit. Permits issued by local authorities do not cover open carry, while permits issued by the attorney general’s office do.