Orange County Destroying 500 Guns, Leaving Just 310 Million in the Country

Friday, October 26, 2012
A fully automatic MAC-10 machine pistol with a sound suppressor is one of the Orange County guns soon to be rebar (photo: Jebb Harris, Orange County Register)

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, mirroring activities across the state, is shipping 500 guns that it seized to a factory to be melted down for rebar. That leaves an estimated 310 million guns in the hands of U.S. citizens and an untold number of guns in the hands of Californians.

The state leads the nation with around 268,000 registered firearms, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), but not all legal weapons need to be registered and countless illegal weapons are floating around. In July, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced it would melt down 8,000 weapons confiscated by 20 local participating law enforcement agencies.

Civilians in the United States pack more heat than in any other country, by far, with a gun ownership rate about 40% higher than second-place Yemen.

The ATF estimated in 2009 that U.S. civilians had access to 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles and 86 million shotguns. Forty-seven percent of Americans told Gallup pollsters in 2011 that they possessed at least one gun. Per capita gun sales nationally were up substantially in 2011, from 8,753,555 (2,835 per 100,000) in 2010 to 10,037,110 (3,217 per 100,000).

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Hundreds of Guns to be Melted into Rebar (by Salvador Hernandez and Mark Eades, Orange County Register)

Gun Control Legislation (Congressional Research Service) (pdf)

By the Numbers: Guns in America (by Amy Roberts, CNN)

The Truth About Gun Sales (by Josh Horwitz, Huffington Post)

California Legal Gun Sales on Pace to Set Record (Associated Press)

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