U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms, according to the Small Arms Survey 2007 by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies.
About 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States.
“There is roughly one firearm for every seven people worldwide. Without the United States, though, this drops to about one firearm per 10 people,” it said.
India had the world’s second-largest civilian gun arsenal, with an estimated 46 million firearms outside law enforcement and the military, though this represented just four guns per 100 people there. China, ranked third with 40 million privately held guns, had 3 firearms per 100 people.
Germany, France, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil and Russia were next in the ranking of country’s overall civilian gun arsenals.
Handguns are displayed in a Little Rock gun shop in an undated file photo. The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said. REUTERS/Jeff Mitchell
On a per-capita basis, Yemen had the second most heavily armed citizenry behind the United States, with 61 guns per 100 people, followed by Finland with 56, Switzerland with 46, Iraq with 39 and Serbia with 38.
France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany were next, each with about 30 guns per 100 people, while many poorer countries often associated with violence ranked much lower. Nigeria, for instance, had just one gun per 100 people.
“Firearms are very unevenly distributed around the world. The image we have of certain regions such as Africa or Latin America being awash with weapons — these images are certainly misleading,” Small Arms Survey director Keith Krause said.
“Weapons ownership may be correlated with rising levels of wealth, and that means we need to think about future demand in parts of the world where economic growth is giving people larger disposable income,” he told a Geneva news conference.
The report, which relied on government data, surveys and media reports to estimate the size of world arsenals, estimated there were 650 million civilian firearms worldwide, and 225 million held by law enforcement and military forces.
Five years ago, the Small Arms Survey had estimated there were a total of just 640 million firearms globally.
Estimated number of guns per capita
|1||United States||101||According to the Congressional Research Service, as of 2009 there were roughly twice as many guns per capita in the United States as there were in 1968: more than 300 million guns in all.|
|11||Austria||30.4||The source for this number is a WFSA white paper from 2000, which in turn cites “Personal communication from the head of Austrian Arms Traders Assoziation”, actual number may vary significantly.|
|14||Finland||27.2||1.5 million guns in 2016 in the official registry |
|18||Switzerland||24.45||figures from 2016|
|19||Republic of Macedonia||24.1|
|20||Australia||24.1||The state of Tasmania has the highest gun ownership in Australia with 28 legal firearms for every 100 people.|
|24||United Arab Emirates||22.1|
|27||Sweden||21||According to the Swedish National Police Agency in 2006, there were a total of 656,000 individuals who had a license for one or more guns; 6.5% of the population. There were 2,032,000 guns or 21 guns per 100 residents. Of the 2,032,000 guns, 959,000 were rifles, 726,000 shotguns, 122,000 combination rifles, 88,000 pistols, 55,000 revolvers, 3,000 automatic guns and 78,000 weapons parts.|
|34||Bosnia and Herzegovina||17.3|
|58||Venezuela||10.7||The number displayed in this table is very likely a significant underestimation. The actual number of guns per 100 persons may vary to more, with an unestimated number of illegal firearms held by civilians, around to 9 to 15 million.|
|82||United Kingdom||6.2||Data for England and Wales only|
|103||Republic of China (Taiwan)||4.6|
|129||Trinidad and Tobago||1.6|
|136||Democratic Republic of the Congo||1.4|
|141||Poland||1.3||According to police statistics there was 1 gun per 100 people as of 2015.|
|145||Papua New Guinea||1.2|
|150||Central African Republic||1|