Survey: More than 3 Million Americans Pack Heat Every Day

Check out Clay’s video series on concealed carry. I bet you’ll learn a thing or two.

Three million people in the United States leave their homes every day carrying a loaded firearm, according to a new survey published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The online survey of 1,444 handgun owners was conducted in April 2015 by researchers at Harvard University, Northeastern University, the University of Washington, and the University of Colorado. They estimated that of the 36 million handgun owners in the U.S., approximately 9 million (24%) carry a loaded handgun every month. Of those 9 million, roughly 3 million carry every single day (35%).

For context, the survey’s results indicate that more Americans carry a firearm than active duty military personnel in the world’s 10 strongest militaries. The Chinese military – the closest contender – boasts 2,333,000 active duty personnel, nearly 700,000 soldiers short of the American concealed carry army.

On average, more Americans are carrying firearms than visiting theme parks or professional sporting events. One million more Americans carry a handgun daily than use a wheelchair, and 2 million more Americans carry a firearm than purchase a Ford F-150 in a year.

You’re nearly as likely to meet someone who carries a handgun than to meet someone who has been to the movies in the United States.

SEE ALSO: 9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 1 Stop The Nonsense!

Handguns have become a daily part of American life, but, contrary to the cries of the anti-gun lobby, our nation hasn’t descended into anarchy and chaos. More guns may not equal less crime, but they certainly don’t result in more.

That’s likely because, as the survey also found, the vast majority (82.2%) of people who carry a handgun daily do so for self-defense. These individuals aren’t looking for a fight, and they certainly aren’t looking to commit crimes. In fact, concealed carry permit holders are one of the most law-abiding demographics in the country.

The survey also determined that those who carry on a daily basis are most likely to live in suburban (46.4%) or rural (38.1%) communities. Only 15.5% of respondents indicated that they lived in urban areas.

While correlation does not equal causation, it is worth noting that crime rates in cities are much higher than in suburban or rural areas. The Brookings Institute found in 2008 that there were roughly 2,100 violent crimes per 100,000 people in U.S. cities, while suburbs saw about half that number of violent crimes.

So, while the number of people who carry handguns increases, the communities in which those people live continue to be the safest in the country. And with more states loosening restrictions on carrying handguns in public, that number is set to rise even more in the future.

Purchase your new concealed carry gun on GunsAmerica

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • Archangel October 29, 2017, 8:48 pm

    Funny about the CCW.
    When some,,,, jerk wad, decides to step out of his car and act like an ass because he is having a road rage incident, I used to get out and confront them, but since I got my CCW, my first though is when we get to court and the judge asks me why I got out of the car risking my CCW, I have to admit I don’t want to ever get to that point.
    I also think back to times in my life, many years ago, where someone pushed me to the point of a confrontation, I see that all these years later, it does not matter one way or the other, so I should have walked away.
    The CCW makes me more likely to walk, or drive away from a confrontation.
    If he chases me down forcing me off the road and then gets out and threatens my life, I now have the means to defend myself, and I tried to leave the confrontation.

  • Russ H. October 29, 2017, 4:02 pm

    I think the 3 million figure is very low – how many of you would actually answer such questions from a stranger on the phone or at your front door. I bet that number is closer to 10 million who carry everyday. And what constitutes \”carry?\” On your person? Within reach? In your vehicle? Such surveys are useless without providing ALL the facts not to mention – these things can be skewed in any way they want to spin them. I bet 10 million carry concealed everyday – not everyone will admit it for varying reasons.

  • Bob Lee October 27, 2017, 11:04 pm

    I know nothing…NOTHING….

  • Joseph G Heimann October 27, 2017, 9:33 pm

    3% of the population own 50% of the guns in the United States. The other 50% of guns are owned by 19% of the population. 22% of the population owns 100% of the guns. Why must the remaining 78% of Americans have 22% of the people tell them what is right. Your survey is very misleading and is once again a twisting of the facts by the right to prove an untrue point. I own guns and I see no reason why people on a no fly list can still own guns or why people with mental disorders shouldn’t be restricted from owning guns. True many crimes are committed by criminals who have stolen the guns but there is to many gun sales conducted where the guns are not registered to the new owners. The ex NRA leader says he was wrong about gun control and if you read the twenty seven words in the second amendment and take them in the correct context it does not say it is our right to own guns. The right always wants to be so endearing to the constitution yet they bend the truth to prove their point. Be real people no one has said they want to take your guns they just want a little more control. How many of you people aided in the buying of 22cal. shells to create the shortage. Just a bunch of horders scared of their own shadow and the truth that the GOP and trump are their real problem but you all feel better believing their lies. Wake Up!!!!

    • Russ H. October 29, 2017, 3:55 pm

      They DO want our guns but they know that mentality never gets off the ground so they chip away, a little at a time. The Supreme Court disagrees with your assessment of the 2nd Amendment and what it means, thank God. I don\’t think you understand what the no fly list is or how names are added to it – once on it it\’s nearly impossible to get off it, even if you can prove you are not the true person on the list. Talk about bending the truth? Have you seen what the left says and does? And you\’re going to say the right lies? I\’m all for common sense gun laws but what you\’re proposing is from the liberal left. Are you sure you\’re a gun owner? You sure don\’t sound like one.

    • JoeUSooner September 28, 2020, 2:17 pm

      Joseph, I have no idea where you obtain your “statistics,” or how you managed to arrive at your “conclusions,” but if you truly believe all that tripe you spouted… the whites of your eyes have turned brown (full of accumulated manure, you are).

  • Edward Glenn October 27, 2017, 10:09 am

    Less than 1,500 in the survey is a relatively small sample.. Like most responses, I would not do this phone survey. I wonder how many criminals carry guns every day? They probably didn’t get included in the survey at all! That’s discrimination!! :)) SO, if EVERYBODY who carries a gun every day were included in the survey, what do you think the % would be???

  • Mark October 27, 2017, 7:02 am

    If I was called by some random person on the phone asking about how many guns I had and if I carried a gun everyday I’d hang up the phone. I would not admit to owning one gun.

  • Mark scarpena October 27, 2017, 7:01 am

    If I was called by some random person on the phone asking about how many guns I had and if I carried a gun everyday I’d hang up the phone. I would not admit to owning one gun.

  • B Stevens October 27, 2017, 4:53 am

    That’s a very very low count 70% of handgun carriers will never admit they carry everyday . That’s smart ! I’d never speak nor admit anything to a gun advocacy group NEVER ! The majority of folks holdin are not licensed I’ve found even having a license admitting to carrying is not smart either . There are to many idiots that believe some misterous deaty from above will save them from a bad situation . That’s these new snowflake kids today most have never been in a situation where your a target either because of race or bad areas . Most that are interviewed are from inner city safe gated community’s they don’t know jack concerning dealing with a assortment of gun toting thugs . The majority have never fired a firearm they don’t understand a firearm is a tool and weapon in the hands of a criminal easily purchased on the streets . When they are in a bad situation who do they run to ……. yea that guy next door that does own a firearm 🤔

  • SuperG October 24, 2017, 11:16 am

    I would say it is at least double that, as a wise man would not answer the question.

    • JoeUSooner September 28, 2020, 2:21 pm

      Correct, SuperG… the numbers are appallingly understated.

      Also, to give the most realistic impression, the percentages should all be expressed as related to the adult population, instead of the total population.

  • Robert Smith October 23, 2017, 10:54 pm

    “They estimated that of the 36 million handgun owners in the U.S.” With 300 million guns only 36 million handgun owners? No way. The numbers cited in this survey are highly suspect. While surveys may be the only way to get at some of this data, they should always be regarded with skepticism. With all the anti-gun paranoia ginned-up by the liberal news media, who is going to give an accurate answer on a survey?

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