U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Gun Ownership

Date Published
June 29, 2008

Before researchers and policymakers could understand how best to address gun violence in America, they needed to understand the extent and nature of gun ownership, both legal and illegal. Extensive research was conducted in the early 1990s to determine who owns guns in America. The reports below provided essential information about gun ownership and the effectiveness of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) firearms tracing data and illicit gun trafficking. These data were instrumental in helping NIJ, national and local policymakers, researchers and law enforcement practitioners develop gun violence reduction strategies.

Other surveys have been published by nongovernmental sources. Two important studies are:

  1. Evaluating Gun Policy: Effects on Crime and Violence, by L. Ludwig and P. Cook, eds., The Brookings Institution, 2003. Read an abstract of the entire book from the Brookings Institution abstract.
  2. Crime Gun Risk Factors: Buyer, Seller, Firearm, and Transaction Characteristics Associated with Gun Trafficking and Criminal Gun Use, final report to NIJ, by C.S. Koper, 2007, NCJ 221074.

Date Created: June 29, 2008