According to the Small Arms Survey 2018, the U.S. stood far out in front with respect to the most number of civilians who owned one or more firearm(s). While two-thirds of gun owners, amounting to 67%, stated that the primary reason they own guns is for self-protection, stats revealed that only in 1.1% violent crimes and 0.3% property crimes, the victim used a firearm for self-defense during the period 2014 - 2016. On the other hand, 67% of homicides in the year 2016 involved firearms. vHomeInsurance took the initiative to meticulously analyze the stats to understand the impact firearm ownership has on violent crimes and property crimes, including burglary, house theft, and larceny.
The U.S. had an estimated 120.5 civilians per 100 residents who owned a gun, which far exceeds second-placed Yemen, with 52.8 civilians per 100 residents who owned a gun. There are roughly around 300 million firearms in the country, nearly one for every person. In 2019, around 37% of the U.S. households own a gun, which is 5% less than the previous year. Home insurers provide discounts to households that are equipped with security devices. However, guns are not categorized as security devices in the home insurance industry. Moreover, a standard home insurance policy will cover the damage/loss of guns, as well.
The Violence Policy Center reported that out of the 45,816,900 property crimes that happened during the period 2014 - 2016, victims were present in 16% of the crimes. Among those, only in 0.3% of the crimes, victims used firearms as a means to protect themselves, while in 12.8% incidents, the victims decided not to act. In the case of violent crimes, the victims used firearms to protect themselves in 1.1% of the incidents, while they chose not to act in 40.5% of the incidents. While this may not establish a direct correlation between gun ownership and crime rates, since the majority of the victims did not have a gun in possession, it does, however, reiterate the minimal impact the current gun ownership rate has on reducing crime rates. The number of homicides involving firearms has witnessed an increase in the last few years. The year 2017 registered 11,006 homicides involving firearms, which is the highest in over a decade. The year 2016 witnessed 10,615 firearm homicides, out of which 274 were ruled out as justifiable homicides, done for self-protection.
While it can not be bluntly said that gun ownership assists in increased homicide rates, given the multiple variables in the equation, the regulations governing gun ownership has to be more organized. In recent times, there has been a significant shift in the mindset of Americans when it comes to the laws and regulations that govern gun ownership. Different states have come up with different laws against the ownership of guns. According to a survey conducted in 2018, 46% of Americans were dissatisfied with the current gun laws and demanded stricter laws. This is a significant increase of 6% from the year 2001 to demand stricter laws. While 39% were satisfied with the current gun laws, a mere 8% voted that laws had to be made more lenient.