To much of the world, the United States is a country defined, at least in part, by its gun culture. And with good reason. The U.S., along with Guatemala and Mexico, is one of only three countries in which gun ownership is a constitutional right. Even more telling, according to a 2020 study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the U.S. is home to an estimated 433.9 million civilian-owned firearms, equal to about 1.3 guns for every American. No other country comes close to having that many guns, let alone more guns than people.
However, not all Americans are gun owners. Far from it, in fact. According to a 2020 study published by the RAND Corporation, a research and public policy advocacy group, only about 32% of American households own a firearm. Therefore, based on the total number of guns in the U.S. many gun-owning households likely own far more than one.
At the state level, gun ownership rates vary considerably. In some parts of the country, fewer than one in every 10 households own at least one firearm. In others, meanwhile, well over half of all households do.
According to RAND Corporation estimates, approximately 22.6% of households in Illinois own at least one gun, the ninth lowest gun ownership rate among the 50 states.
Gun control laws vary considerably at the state level, and in states with the tightest restrictions, firearms can be harder to obtain. On an A to F scale – with A representing the strongest gun control laws and F the weakest – gun violence prevention group Giffords Law Center assigns Illinois an A- for its gun control policies.
|Rank||State||Gun ownership rate (%)||Gun control grade (A-F)||Firearm deaths per 100,000 people in 2021|