Sunday, June 28, 2015

Firearms Numbers in the United States 1945 - 2012

The data for these numbers has been gathered from two sources.  From 1945 to 1987, the data was taken from "Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America" by Gary Kleck, Table 2.1.   The methodology used by Kleck was applied to  the figures obtained from the ATF for later years.  The number shown is the cumulative addition of domestic manufacture plus imports minus exports.  This does not count guns shipped to the U.S. military.   The figures are rounded to the nearest million.

Kleck attributes the 1945 - 1968 numbers to Newton and Zimring, which includes the calculation of the 1945 number of modern guns added to the stock from 1899 to 1945.  Firearms manufactured before 1899 are not included.  The starting figure in 1945 is 47 million; at the end of 2012, it is 347 million, an increase of 300 million in 67 years, a six fold increase in the stock. The year 2013 is shown on the end of the chart as a place holder so that the figure 347 will be visible for 2012.   Numbers for 2013 were not available at the time of publication.

The numbers do not account for reduction of the gun stock due to wear and tear, loss, destruction or illegal exportation; or increases of the stock from illegal importation, individual or illegal manufacture, or acquisition from military sources.

The U.S. population increased from 133 million in 1945 to 313 million in 2012, a 135% increase in population, or over a 200% increase in the number of guns per capita.  Guns per capita rose from .35 in 1945, to 1.1 guns per capita in 2012.

For some perspective, motor vehicle ownership in the United States has followed a similar trend,  with an increase from .22 per capita in 1945 to .809 per capita in 2011, a 269% increase.

For those who wish to put data into a program to create your own charts and graphs, here are the numbers:

From Point Blank, by Kleck:

1945     47
1946     48
1947     51
1948     53
1949     55
1950     58
1951     60
1952     62
1953     64
1954     66
1955     67
1956     69
1957     71
1958     73
1959     75
1960     78
1961     80
1962     81
1963     84
1964     86
1965     89
1966     93
1967     97
1968     102
1969     107
1970     112
1971     117
1972     122
1973     128
1974     135
1975     140
1976     146
1977     151
1978     156
1979     162
1980     168
1981     173
1982     178
1983     182
1984     186
1985     191
1986     194
1987     198

1988 - 2012  ATF reports

1988     203
1989     209
1990     213
1991     217
1992     223
1993     231
1994     238
1995     243
1996     247
1997     252
1998     256
1999     261
2000     265
2001     270
2002     274
2003     279
2004     284
2005     289
2006     295
2007     301
2008     308
2009     316
2010     325
2011     334
2012     347

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


MrApple said...

47 million to 347 million from 1945 to 2012.
That's what I call FREEDOM.

Dutchman6 said...

Excellent, Dean. Thus illustrating once again the absolute futility of attempts at disarming the citizenry in this country.

Mike Vanderboegh

Anonymous said...

Isn't it surprising how the crime rate is falling with the tremendous increase in fire arms? The more criminals that get dropped in their tracts the fewer criminals there are to commit the crimes. If gun ownership continues to rise we may run out of criminals at this rate.

Sedition said...

" If gun ownership continues to rise we may run out of criminals at this rate."

HA!! Impossible. We'll all just elect more and send them to C.

Anonymous said...

"Firearms" is a federal term. You should never refer to guns or arms as "firearms." If you must register a gun, then on the paperwork, change every reference to firearm as "arm" simply by crossing out "fire." You have the right to do this. When the scum in DC trick people into entering into a written agreement that their weapon is a "firearm," then they can try to get around the Second Amendment by passing laws restricting "firearms," because they know they can't pass laws restricting either guns or "arms.

Try it, you'll like it.

Anonymous said...

I live in upstate NY. Real upstate like 4 hours NE of NYC. Since the SAFE Act was rammed through the State Legislature with no public comment period people who I thought would never own a firearm are now armed. A local big box store (Gander Mountain) has increased the size of its gun/ammo department by 70%. From 1/3 of the back wall to 3/4 of the back wall of the big box store. As a result of my observations I believe that not only can the average citizen read the Bill of Rights but that they also comprehend and value the freedom and liberty that set of ideas provides the citizen.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Population 133 million to 313 million is a 235% increase not 135%.

Guns per capita from 3.35 to 1.1 is 314% not 200%.

Dean Weingarten said...

If 133 million is 100%, then 313 million is 235%, a 135% increase.

jarheadljh said...

There are two types of murder left in the US - crimes of passion and drug gang murders. Drug gangs murder each other over distribution rights to substances that were perfectly legal less than a century ago. With just handful of states legalizing pot, the street price has fallen through the floor. It's so low that Mexican farmers have stopped growing it and smugglers have stopped taking it across the border, because it's so much easier to buy in Colorado and truck it everywhere else in the country. Do that with all the drugs and crime will virtually disappear. The medical costs of dealing with overdoses and addicts are way cheaper than the prison system we have now. Asset forfeiture drug laws are unconstitutional and are part of this drug war package that is choking our country. End the drug war by legalizing the drugs, which will remove all economic incentive for the gangs, which will drop our shooting rate by probably 80%. Then we can have an honest debate about gun ownership in this country, when it becomes simply too obvious even to a gun grabber that gun ownership is not at all a bad thing. That will leave them with only the argument that only the government should have guns, which is really easy to dmeolish.

Unknown said...

This is simply astonishing and sad for all of us. Guns are supplied by the government agencies or licensed agencies for safety and safeguard in case of emergency. It is really sad that people are using them as a weapon against humanity and killing their known ones. The hike in ratio of point blank range killing shows that they are not provided with a good training of morale duties that they are supposed to follow while buying the licensed gun.
Mass License To Carry Class

ErikwithaK said...

The quote you attribute to Jefferson is....spurious. To which well regulated militia do y'all belong? And before you write me off as someone wanting to ban private ownership of firearms, I own four, have a CC permit and use it.