Countries With the Highest Rate of Gun Ownership

There is estimated to be more guns than people in the US.
There is estimated to be more guns than people in the US.

The right to own guns is an interesting aspect of the legal system, and many governments believe that their citizens should own guns for protection purposes. Currently, over 175 nations allow their citizens to own firearms, but only three constitutions in the world still include the right to own a gun, and these are the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. Other than the United States, the other two constitutions have specific restrictive conditions on gun ownership. Private citizens own guns for protection purposes, hunting, and some use them for target practice.

Top 3 Countries by Gun Ownership Rates

United States

The United States has the highest gun ownership rate with about 101 guns per hundred Americans, almost double that of the second country on the list. The United States has several federal gun laws which regulate the possession, manufacturing, transferring, and destruction of ammunition and firearms. Other than the federal gun laws, each state has its guns controlling statutes. The constitution protects the right to own a gun, however, the numerous mass shooting incidents in the country have resulted in the public outcry against the lack of restrictions in the country’s gun laws. Each state has its own rules regarding who can own a gun with some requiring a background check before issuing a license. There is also controversy over the class of people who should own a gun; convicted felons, individuals on the federal’s no-fly list, and people with violent or severe mental illnesses are not allowed to own firearms.


Serbia is ranked second in the firearms per capita with a rate of 58.21 guns per 100 people. Serbia has firearms laws which govern the firm gun culture, particularly in rural regions which have over a million legal firearms in circulation. Serbians over the age of eighteen can possess a gun, but the license is not issued to individuals with a mental disorder, history of illegal substance or alcohol abuse, and the ones with a criminal history. In Serbia, a thorough background search is mandatory with the police having the final say in the matter. The law stipulates that all guns must be stored in a safe place and the police can confiscate them if owners are irresponsible.


Yemen has the third highest gun ownership rate in the world with a rate of 54.8 guns per a hundred people. In Yemen, the law permits individuals to own handguns, semiautomatic, and automatic weapons. The prime minister regulates guns in Yemen and anyone with a genuine reason provided he/she is over eighteen years old can get a license to carry a weapon. Before acquiring a firearm, each person must pass a background check which considers addictions, mental health, and criminal history. The law does not state whether a person with a history of family violence should be given or denied a gun license. Applicants are not required to undergo any theoretical or practical training on firearm safety before acquiring a license.

Controversies Surrounding Gun Ownership

Gun ownership is a controversial topic. Gun control advocates point to the many public and school shootings that have resulted in mass casualties over the past several years. As much as guns offer protections to owners, without control and regulations many people can end up misusing their weapons. Many US states have strict gun laws but still experience high death rates by firearms and it’s believed that most of the guns in these incidences were purchased from other states, advocating a need for a nationalized control. Gun owners argue that strict regulations will only benefit criminals who will attack unarmed people.

Countries With the Highest Rate of Gun Ownership

RankCountryGuns Owned Per 100 People
1 United States101
2 Serbia58.21
3 Yemen54.8
4 Cyprus36.4
5 Saudi Arabia35.0
6 Iraq34.2
7 Uruguay31.8
8 Norway31.3
9 France31.2
10 Canada30.8
11 Austria30.4
12 Iceland30.3
13 Germany30.3
14 Finland27.3
15 Oman25.5
16 Bahrain24.8
17 Kuwait24.8
18 Switzerland24.45
19 Republic of Macedonia24.1
20 Montenegro23.1
21 New Zealand22.6
22 Greece22.5
23 United Arab Emirates22.1
24 Croatia21.7
25 Panama21.7

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