The topic of private gun ownership is often a fraught one, especially in the wake of mass shootings here in the United States. For that reason, I have deliberately waited for a lull in such shootings to write this article. We are not currently in the heat of a raging gun control debate, such that maybe this article will be read in the light in which it is intended to be presented: as informational.

The Gun Ownership Divide

You will often hear it asked in the media, especially in the wake of a mass shooting, why someone needs five guns to hunt deer.  Some find it shocking indeed that only about 30 percent of Americans (roughly 96 million people) own the roughly 370 million guns that are present in the country. That works out to just under four guns per gun owner in the United States. This data comes from a 2017 Pew Research Center report on the demographics of gun ownership in America, as well as a 2016 primer on gun control in the United States.

I obviously cannot speak for all gun owners, nor will I attempt to, but I can speak for myself, and explain why I have multiple guns in my home. I will caveat this information, first, by stating that the number and types of guns found in my home are inherently private data. I am not completely comfortable laying out in full detail here the exact inventory of my personal firearms collection. So I will keep it general.


Let us begin with handguns. My wife owns a .38 S&W revolver for self-defense, and my first ever private gun purchase was also a handgun: a .45 caliber Heckler & Koch for self-defense. Additionally, my father-in-law happens to be a private collector of firearms, and one of the (many) benefits of being married to his daughter has been the gifting of some of his personal collection to his multiple son-in-laws every Christmas.