Anti-gun Researcher Frightened by How Many Guns Americans Own

The virulently anti-gun group The Trace sent an e-mail blastto its members last week, alerting them to what it said was the danger of an overly and unnecessarily armed American citizenry:

Jennifer Mascia [a member of “TeamTrace”] pulled some numbers from the Small Arms Survey, which gauges gun stockpiles in the hands of civilians, law enforcement, and militaries around the world. She found that with an estimated 270 million firearms owned by everyday Americans, civilians own 70 times more weapons that all police and military services combined.

Mascia is an editorial assistant at the New York Times and was a regular contributor to its anti-gun column “The Gun Report” until it was shut down in 2014. Her source, the Small Arms Survey, is an international anti-gun group purporting to provide accurate statistics on all aspects of private gun ownership worldwide. Unfortunately, its reputation for accuracy has been tainted, with much of its reporting being challenged as “misleading or just plain wrong.”

In this instance, however, the numbers Mascia dug up from the outfit actually understated the “concerns” she expressed about how many firearms are owned by those “everyday Americans.” The real number isn’t 270 million — not even close — but is at least 100 million higher. And even that number is likely too small, given gun owners’ propensity not to be forthcoming to pollsters asking question about their gun ownership.

In any event, Mascia’s revelation is instructive: If she and her group are getting nervous, that’s good news for supporters of the Second Amendment — those supporters must be doing something right.

Indeed, if the goal of anti-gunners is total confiscation of all privately owned firearms (as has been shown repeatedly by mouthpieces such as California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein: “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate … for an outright ban … ‘Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in,’ I would have done it.”) then their job has gotten a lot harder.

How would confiscation be accomplished? Writer and economic historian Gary North stated,

They could get some Americans to turn in their guns if the penalties were stiff enough. But the stiffer the penalties the tighter the really hard-core gun owners are going to hold onto their guns. The stiff penalties will send a message: “You were right. We are after your guns. Then we’re going to take your liberties.”

The numbers are truly daunting to the gun grabbers. It would mean that someone, or perhaps a team, would ultimately have to knock on the door of every household in America and demand the owner surrender his firearms. The fact that they would not know just where those firearms are and who owns them doesn’t help. Who would take on such a task? The local sheriff, who is running for reelection? A federal official, perhaps a U.S. marshall? But there are fewer than 4,000 U.S. marshalls in the federal government. They would need some help.

  • frankw

    Calculating the number of guns in American society is a fruitless endeavor. Many firearms made all the way back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries are still fully functional and are unlikely to have been officially recorded except perhaps in the original manufacture’s production records and many of those are lost or never existed.

  • George_Costanza

    There are probably more firearms than hands.

  • Jan Franskmann

    If everyone had a gun there would be little or no gun crime

    • Sloopofwar

      I’m going to have to argue a bit of your point. Take the gangbangers in the inner city for instance. Damn near everyone of them have a gun. Thanks to the feds. And there’s gun violence every day and night there. However, at least it’s contained there for the most part. Maybe they’ll kill each other off.