I recommend reading the full essay from the Brookings Institute on the promise of Sandy Hook and the current state of gun culture, violence, and laws in America, but here’s one statistic that’s bound to jump off the page at you.
Because there is no national database of guns or gun owners, no one knows how many guns are in private hands in the U. S. According to polling, the rate of gun ownership (the percentage of households containing one or more firearms) has actually been falling over the last two decades, but the total number of guns in private possession has gone up sharply, from 200 million in 1994 to somewhere between 270 and 300 million today.
When we compare ourselves to other countries (using the latest data, from the 2007 Small Arms Survey), we find that the U.S. has by far the highest rate of private gun ownership in the world: 88 guns per 100 people. (Next on the list is Yemen, at 55 guns per 100.) At the conservative estimate of 270 million guns, Americans have stockpiled almost half of the privately owned firearms in the world.
We’re number one alright, but the bad news (or good news depending on your perspective) is that the next closest country is Yemen!
And as the essay notes, 270 million guns would be a very conservative estimate. More recent estimates (2009) have pegged the number of guns at being in the neighborhood of 300 million. If you add additional sales figures for years after 2009, the number could be as high or higher than 310 million.
The election of President Obama was very good for gun sales. For reasons.