CT Ranks 35th in Gun Licenses; 1 of Only 5 States to See Gun Sales Increase in 2021, Rising 9%

Connecticut by the Numbers

Texas, with more than 29 million residents, is the second-largest state in the nation, by both area and population.  But no state has more gun licenses than Texas – just over one million – and 45.7% of adults say they live in homes with guns.

Runner-up, according to data reported by CBS News, is Florida, with 518,725 gun licenses. An estimated 35.3% of adults in Florida live in homes with guns. Virginia, with 423,707 gun licenses, ranks third.  Around 44.6% of adults in Virginia have guns at home, according to the data, compiled in 2021.

The RAND Corporation published a 2020 study on adults who say they live with at least one gun, CBS News reported.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms publishes an annual list of federally registered guns by state. It covers only a subsection of weapons — short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles, and machine guns are included, along with silencers and destructive devices like grenades, but ordinary pistols or AR-15s are not.

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Connecticut ranks 35th, with 74,874 federal gun licenses.  In the Land of Steady Habits, fewer than one-quarter of adults – 23.6% - indicate they have a firearm in their home.

Among the New England States, New Hampshire ranks 37th, Massachusetts ranks 42nd, Maine ranks 47th, Vermont ranks 48th and Rhode Island ranks 51st, with 4,887 gun licenses, just under 15% of the state’s adult population.   

After a record year in 2020, gun sales in the U.S. dipped slightly in 2021. Still, with nearly 19 million guns sold, 2021 was the second-highest year for gun sales in the U.S. — behind only 2020, when estimated gun sales topped 21 million. The previous record year was 2016, with about 16 million guns sold.

Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, and New Jersey all saw total estimated gun sales climb between 2020 and 2021, other states saw a slight decline.  In Connecticut, the number of guns sold increased by 9% from 2020 to 2021, according to the website SafeHome.org, using data from multiple sources. 

The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System reflects that there were 277,000 background checks in Connecticut in 2021, according to published reports. Nationwide, the 2021 numbers were not as high as the all-time record of 39.7 million background checks in 2020.

No state had more gun sales in 2021 than Texas, where an estimated 1.6 million firearms were sold in the nation’s second-largest state. Florida followed closely with 1.4 million firearms sold.

Looking at two decades of data, between 2002 and 2021, in Connecticut gun sales grew by 86%.  During the same period, among the 50 states, gun sales in Indiana increased by 533%, in Texas increased 167%, in Florida by 365%, and in New Jersey by 389%.

After dipping slightly between 2018 and 2019, gun deaths in the U.S. climbed by more than 14 percent from 2019 to 2020, the most recent year for comprehensive national data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And since 2001, gun deaths have climbed by about 50 percent in the U.S, the website reported.

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Connecticut by the Numbers is the state’s leading numbers-driven news website, in its 10th year of operation. The news site, www.ctnumbers.news, provides articles focused on public policy issues and demographic data, including reporting on education, environment, transportation, finance, healthcare, tourism, public safety, housing, business and nonprofits.

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