In the last twenty years, the number of guns in American homes has doubled.

There are now 270 million guns in the USA.

35% of Americans now own a gun.

But who are they?

Geography

Wyoming

Motivation

Protection

10%

Hunting

40%

Recreation

45%

Ideology

5%

Wyoming

Wyoming has the highest rate of gun ownership in the United States. Estimates suggest 62.8 percent of households in Wyoming possess at least one gun. A largely agricultural and resource based economy has created a staunch, multi-generational gun culture for both recreational and hunting purposes.

Gun culture is often passed down through families, when firearms are inherited, given or received as gifts as well as recreational use together. In Wyoming, many gun owning families hunt together, and defend their right to continue family sporting traditions which revolve around gun ownership.

Prevalence

Pie Chart

62.8% of the population of Wyoming owns at least one firearm.

Bob Wharff, Age 61

Rancher

Wyoming Dave Freudenthal

“There’s a joke that when kids are born in Wyoming, they automatically come with a gun, I know several guys, they’ve bragged about their grandchild; they’re not even born yet, and they’ve already bought them a rifle or a handgun.”

Dave Freudenthal, Age 33

Contractor

Wyoming Bob Wharff

“It’s deeply ingrained, not only from the right to use, but the idea of doing it responsibly. We don’t like people who are cavalier with firearms. My father would blister my butt if I was swaggering around with a firearm. That’s not what you’re supposed to do.”

Geography

New Mexico

Motivation

Protection

20%

Hunting

10%

Recreation

30%

Ideology

40%

New Mexico

New Mexico’s frontier history and open spaces harbor a popular gun culture, where many people believe they are safest when carrying their own firearm. Political beliefs and proximity to the border with Mexico also play a strong role. Historically a place of conflict between the USA and its Southern neighbor, New Mexicans have long felt the need to own weapons.

New Mexico is among the states with the least restrictive gun laws. For example, New Mexico has a law which considers a person’s vehicle an extension of their home, it is therefore legal to carry a loaded firearm without a permit, openly or concealed, anywhere in a vehicle.

Prevalence

Pie Chart

52% of the population of New Mexico owns at least one firearm.

Melissa Peterson, Age 31

Cashier

New Mexico Melissa Peterson

“The anti-gun people think regulating guns more will decrease gun violence, when just the opposite is true. Gun violence actually decreases when more law-abiding people are allowed to have guns.”

Geography

Alaska

Motivation

Protection

15%

Hunting

60%

Recreation

15%

Ideology

10%

Alaska

Alaska is home to both a population interested in isolation and more extreme ideologies, and a huge number of wild game. Hunting is an important part of their recreational culture. Alaska is also home to a large number of veterans as well. Veterans, as a general rule, bring gun culture with them wherever they go after their military service.

This Northernmost state is large with vast expanses of wilderness, and many Alaskans depend on hunting for food and comfort. Food and sport become inseparable, as well as safety. Attack by wild animal is a much greater threat in Alaska than elsewhere, as well, and guns are the chosen method of defense.

Prevalence

Pie Chart

60.6% of the population of Alaska owns at least one firearm.

Debra Bartlett, Age 46

Clerk

Alaska Debra Bartlett

“Our society is ruled by fear uncertainty and doubt, and we never know when the availability for responsible gun owners to buy the ammo they want could be taken away.”

Frank Thomas, Age 58

Mechanic

Alaska Frank Thomas

“Many Alaskans depend on the Second Amendment to safeguard their way of life, whether it’s for personal protection, subsistence, or sports and recreation.”

Geography

Arkansas

Motivation

Protection

9%

Hunting

1%

Recreation

65%

Ideology

15%

Arkansas

Guns in Arkansas are a commonplace recreational activity, stemming from their history of a rural, agricultural based economy. Farming and the care of livestock often increase gun ownership, as well as having a strong veteran population.

Veteran populations, like in Arkansas, are one of the reasons the US has such high gun ownership. People who have used guns professionally are much more likely to use their training in recreational settings beyond the workplace.

Prevalence

Pie Chart

58.3% of the population of Arkansas owns at least one firearm.

Mike Collins, Age 52

Dairy Farmer

Arkansas Mike Collins

“I spent 27 years in the military, I defended this country all over the world. I've been in multiple combat tours. I'm not a nut. I'm not a crazy guy. I'm just a normal person who enjoys shooting.”