The question “How many privately owned firearms in the USA?” is a difficult one, especially since it depends on how you define “owns.” Generally speaking, it includes any weapons that are registered as firearms by the United States government. This includes all rifles, shotguns, handguns, machine guns, and even silencers (if they’re registered to be). But there’s a lot of gray area when it comes to what “possession” means.
Let’s start with rifles. Rifles are not “typically” considered to be firearms, per se. They are usually classified as “personal use weapons,” which can include things like self defense weapons, hunting guns, or other types of antique guns. However, if a person owns a rifle in their home, then they most likely own it in some way. This is because there is no central repository of firearms from all states. In other words, if someone has a shotgun in Colorado, and a handgun in New York, they cannot own both at the same time.
The second way how many privately owned firearms in the US is determined is by how many different types of registered firearms there are in the states. Here, again, this is determined by the type of firearm. For example, in some states, only antique firearms are registered, while other states allow any kind of gun to be registered. Additionally, there are a number of states which have a much larger number of loopholes than other states. For example, in some states, owning a semi-automatic firearm (also known as a “shotgun”) is legal, while in other states, it’s illegal to own one.
Handgun ownership is another controversial issue, especially since many people feel a handgun is a threat to their safety. To be clear, a gun that is registered is less likely to be used in an act of violence, but it is still a gun, albeit a mini-gun, and should be regulated just like any other weapon. This is done for the same reasons that we regulate other weapons. By regulating how many magazines are allowed, how they are purchased, and what type of documentation the background check requires, we are attempting to reduce the overall amount of crime in our country. Obviously, if you have a legitimate need for one of these guns, you should go ahead and register it, but otherwise it is up to you to safe-guard yourself.
How many privately owned firearms in the US is also determined by the number of people who own them. In other words, if a hunting club has a membership, that counts as an individual. Likewise, if there are a lot of homes with active gun owners in a given town or city, that counts as an individual. The reason for this is that the government wants to make sure that the distribution of guns is fair, and even with background checks and registration, there are still plenty of guns passing through the system. So if there are a large number of active gun owners in a given area, that probably means that there are a high amount of firearms available for ownership as well.
Because of the way that firearms are distributed, it is difficult to know how many privately owned firearms in the US there are. The best that we can do is try to estimate. We can’t know how many guns end up in the hands of criminals because no one keeps track of who buys them, when they buy them, where they buy them, or who they sell them to. This makes estimating how many guns is almost impossible, and the reason for this is that nobody knows where or how they are sold.