How US gun culture compares with the world in five charts
Updated 11:07 AM ET, Fri March 9, 2018
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(CNN)The United States. Home to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the most mass shootings in the world.
America's unique relationship to gun ownership -- enshrined as a right in its constitution -- is also in the middle of an emotional and divisive debate about the meaning of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Twenty-seven words that give its citizens the right to own guns and also, in the views of many critics, helped usher in a culture that sees more of its own people killed by fellow citizens armed with guns than in any other high-income nation in the world.
Gun-related deaths unfold in tragic circumstances across the country daily, with more than 1,800 people killed by guns this year alone, according to Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit group. But it is often mass shootings that reignite the debate over gun control in the US and that shine the spotlight on its position as a global outlier.
Here's a look at how America's gun culture compares to the rest of the world.
The number of firearms available to American civilians is estimated at around 310 million, according to a 2009 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report.
India is home to the second-largest civilian firearm stockpile, estimated at 46 million.
The most updated estimates -- now more than a decade old -- place the worldwide civilian gun cache at around 650 million. According to Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey, the number of civilian guns has most likely risen since 2007. Firearm production continues to proliferate worldwide, outweighing the effects that gun destruction might have.
According to the Small Arms Survey, the exact number of civilian-owned firearms is impossible to pinpoint because of a variety of factors including arms that go unregistered, the illegal trade and global conflict.
Americans own the most guns per person in the world, about four in 10 saying they either own a gun or live in a home with guns, according to a 2017 Pew Center study. Forty-eight percent of Americans said they grew up in a house with guns.
According to the survey, a majority (66%) of US gun owners own multiple firearms, with nearly three-quarters of gun owners saying they couldn't imagine not owning one.
Yemen, home to the world's second-largest gun-owning population per capita (and a country in the throes of a three-year-old civil conflict) trails significantly behind the US in terms of ownership.
When it comes to gun massacres, the US is an anomaly.
There are more public mass shootings in America than in any other country in the world.
On Wednesday, Nikolas Cruz, 19, arrived at the halls of his former school in Parkland, Florida. Armed with a rifle, he allegedly carried out a massacre that left 17 people dead.