1 in 3 Americans Owns a Gun

1 in 3 Americans Owns a Gun1 in 3 Americans Owns a Gun

One in three adults in the United States owns at least one gun, according to a new study.

Researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 4,000 adults in the US on gun ownership and found that 29% of respondents said they owned at least one gun.

Most of the gun owners were white men older than 55, and the majority of them were married, the study said.

The rates of gun ownership varied from state to state, with the lowest in Delaware, at about 5%, and the highest in Alaska, at nearly 62%.

Researchers also found that both the rates of gun ownership and gun deaths were higher in states with looser gun-control policies, compared with states that have stricter policies.

The new findings are important in showing the toll that gun violence in the US takes on people's lives and  health. In 2013, 33,636 people died, and 84,258 were injured due to gun violence, the study said, reports

Although people typically focus on fatalities caused by gun violence, it is also important that they pay attention to the damage that gun violence inflicts on people who are shot and survive, as these individuals often suffer permanent injuries, said study author Bindu Kalesan. "Nobody talks about that," said Kalesan, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York.

"For every three people who die of a gun injury in the US, there are seven people who survive," but whose lives are often severely compromised because of their injuries, she said. This is particularly true for children who are wounded accidentally by gun violence. "They live, and they are hailed as heroes, but at the same time they are in and out of the hospital, with multiple surgeries," Kalesan said.

Some victims of gun violence may even initially survive a gunshot, but die much later as a result of the injuries. While conducting the research, she said she met a girl who survived a gunshot, underwent 15 surgeries over the next eight years and recently died.

Previous research has shown that owning a gun increases a person's risk of dying from gun violence. About 300 million guns are currently in use in the US, according to estimates.

In comparison with people who did not own guns, gun owners in the study were more than twice as likely to be associated with other gunowners, either family or friends, or to take part in social activities that involved using guns, the study found.

The survey also showed that 30 percent of the people in the study said that they would like to buy a gun in the future, Kalesan said.

The study was published in the journal Injury Prevention.