How many firearms are there in the United States? Nobody knows. The U.S. Congress has never authorized the creation of a database on this very subject. How many deaths are there as a result of firearms in the U.S.? This also is a mystery for the same reason. In September 1996, the Republican congressman from Arkansas, Jay Dickey, introduced an amendment to the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which prevented the organization from continuing its line of research investigating firearms as a health risk in the U.S.
As a result, there are no official statistics regarding how many people die, or commit suicide, as a result of firearms in the world’s leading power, a country where the collection of big data has turned into a kind of religion.
There are estimates, however. Conservative groups that support the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms estimate a figure of around 32,000 deaths per year. Of these, around 20,000 are suicides, some 600 are considered accidents, and more than 11,000 are homicides. In reality though, this figure is not that high considering that half of the world’s firearms are in the hands of American civilians.
According to the U.S Department of Justice, in 2013, the last year that official figures are available, 16.3 million firearms were sold in the country. This means that 44,889 weapons are sold each and every day, Saturdays and Sundays included. It also represents a 130 percent increase when compared with the figures from 2007. And it was Barack Obama’s arrival that caused the panic that the government in Washington would restrict firearms possession in the U.S.
In the first six years of Obama’s presidency, 61.2 million firearms were sold. Using rough estimates, Michigan Open Carry — a group that not only promotes the possession of firearms, but also the right to carry them in public — believes that 80 million firearms have been sold since Obama arrived at the White House.
So, how many weapons are there in the United States? In 2007, before the explosive growth in sales indirectly caused by Obama’s presence in the mansion on the corner of 16th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue (the White House), the Geneva Small Arms Survey estimated a figure of around 270 million. In 2009, the Congressional Research Service put this figure at around 310 million.
That year, the population of the United States was around 306.8 million people, which equates to more than one weapon per person, including babies, coma patients, prisoners, and individuals in psychiatric institutions — four groups of people that by definition tend not to possess firearms. However, this is not always the case in the U.S., since in 30 of 50 states, a minor cannot legally own a pistol but can own a rifle or a machine gun. This explains why, in August 2014 in the Bullets+Burgers shooting range in Las Vegas, a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor with an Uzi submachine gun. In 2007, 10-month-old Howard David Ludwig, nicknamed “Bubba,” was issued his very own Firearm Owner’s Identification Card in Chicago. The document precisely listed the cardholder's height, 2 feet 3 inches, and weight, 20 pounds.
Since then, the population of the U.S has grown by 12.1 million people, to around 318.9 million. But, as we have seen, some 80 million more weapons have been sold.
Paradoxically, however, fewer and fewer Americans actually own a weapon. In the 1980s, 50 percent of American families owned a rifle, shotgun or pistol, whereas now, the figure stands at only 32 percent. What seems to be happening then is that those who own multiple weapons increasingly come to accumulate more. The best example of this is the Roseburg killer, Christopher Harper Mercer, who had 13 weapons at home and in college.