President Joe Biden appears to have once again misstated something about gun ownership, during a speech Wednesday evening at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
He claimed Delaware—his home state—has “one of the highest rates of gun ownership.”
But there’s a problem. It’s not true, according to data from the World Population Review, which recently released numbers on gun ownership for 2023. The WPR lists all states’ percentages of gun ownership, and identifies the “Top Ten” states where more than half the people are gun owners. Delaware isn’t one of them. It’s not anywhere close.
According to the WPR chart, only 34.4 percent of the people in The First State are gun owners. They’re tenth from the bottom, above only New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, California and Maryland.
The “Top Ten” states are almost predictable, according to the chart: Montana is Number One at 66.3 percent, Wyoming is second at 66.2 percent and Alaska is in third place with 64.5 percent, which may surprise many people due to the large number of subsistence residents in the 49th State.
Going down the list, Idaho is next with 60.1 percent followed in this order by West Virginia (58.5%), Arkansas (57.2%), Mississippi (55.8%), Alabama (55.5%), South Dakota (55.3%) and North Dakota (55.1%).
According to the WPR, the United States is at the top when it comes to countries with the largest number of firearms per citizens, at 120.5 guns per 100 people, and that is based on a 2017 report from the Small Arms Survey. The WPR estimates there are “anywhere from over 200 million to more than 350 million guns in the U.S.”
“Because of variances in regulations throughout the nation,” the WPR says, “it’s impossible to get exact numbers when it comes to the total number of guns in the nation and the number of guns in each state.”
Trailing the U.S. is the Falkland Islands, at 62.1 per-100-people, Yemen (52.8), New Caledonia (42.5), Serbia and Montenegro tied (39.1), Uruguay and Canada tied (34.7), Cyprus (34) and Finland (32.4). Again this is the number of firearms estimated per 100 people.
There is a caveat to all of this. The WPR report says “the Small Arms Survey…tallied the number of firearms (registered and unregistered) owned by civilians, the military, and law enforcement agencies for each country in the survey.” This throws a statistical monkey wrench into any estimates on the number of firearms in private possession.