PolitiFact Wisconsin: Do guns outnumber U.S. population?

Posted at 6:53 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-22 13:35:46-05

Lots of questions being asked about guns and gun control after the Florida school shooting. 

PolitiFact Wisconsin checked a claim made by GOP US Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson.     

17 people were killed during the school shooting in Parkland Florida. 

The 19-year-old shooter was able to legally buy the AR-15 used in the mass shooting. 

That has once again raised the question about the proliferation of guns and who should be allowed to own them.

"Nicholson, who is a gun rights supporter, said there are more guns in the United States than there are people," said Tom Kertscher with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

PolitiFact Wisconsin looked at a recent study done by Harvard University. The school did an online survey with about 4,000 adults.

"So there have been studies in recent years that estimated that there are more guns in the US than people," said Kertscher. "However, the most recent study we found by Harvard said that in 2015 there were 265 million guns, not as many as the population was about 320 million."

PolitiFact Wisconsin says that study showed the typical gun owner in the survey owned two guns and about half of the 265 million guns were handguns. 

"The key thing here is to know that there's not a record keeping system in place that would produce a count of guns in America," said Kertscher, "So we're looking at estimates."

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated Nicholson's statement Half True.