The 10 Most Heavily Armed States Highlight Gun Culture in the US (PHOTOS)

The 10 Most Heavily Armed States Highlight Gun Culture in the US (PHOTOS)

vietnam memorialWith all the controversy over gun control in recent years, you're probably getting more and more curious about which side of this exceedingly heated debate your home state falls on. Thanks to data from the ATF's National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, we now know which states are the most heavily armed -- and the top locations on the list might surprise you!

This list was also compiled with per capita weapons data from the US Census, and while it gives a fairly comprehensive view of gun use in this country, it's not the whole picture; only firearms included in categories regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 are represented (still, that includes most types of firearms). Click through to see if your state made the top 10.


Image via © Jon Hicks/Corbis

  • Louisiana


    Image © Julie Dermansky/Julie Dermansky/Corbis

    With 15.1 guns for every 1,000 residents (or 69,668 registered firearms among 4,625,470 people), the Pelican State comes in at number 10 on the list. (Pictured is a gun show in Kenner, Louisiana.)

  • Alaska


    Image © Pat O'Hara/CORBIS

    With 69,668 registered firearms among 4,625,470 people (that's 15.1 guns for every 1,000 residents), Alaska comes in at number nine. Included in those gun owners are seal hunters like this one at Cape Krusenstern National Monument.

  • Nevada


    Image © Paul Edmondson/Mint Images/Corbis

    Another state where hunting is big business, Nevada earned the number eight spot with 19.5 guns for every 1,000 residents (54,436 registered firearms among 2,790,136 people).

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  • Alabama


    Image © Jeff Haller/Keyhole Photo/Corbis

    Twenty guns for every 1,000 people in Alabama might not sound like a lot, but that still comes out to 96,744 registered firearms for 4,833,722 residents (like these guns recovered after tornadoes in Tuscaloosa).

  • Idaho


    Image © 13/Karl Weatherly/Ocean/Corbis

    At number six, Idaho's got a lot of people -- 1,612,136, to be exact, and 39,019 registered firearms (that's 24.2 guns for every 1,000 residents). 

  • Virginia


    Image via © James L. Amos/Corbis

    With 30.1 guns for every 1,000 Virginians, there are a total of 248,939 registered firearms among the Old Dominion's 8,260,405 people. (Most of them probably aren't muskets like these historical interpreters in Williamsburg are firing, though.)

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  • New Mexico


    Image © Macduff Everton/Corbis

    The Land of Enchantment is also the land of guns: At #4, there are 40.5 guns for every 1,000 residents in New Mexico (84,471 registered firearms among 2,085,287 people).

  • Arkansas


    Image © Dale Spartas/Corbis

    Officially known as the Natural State, Arkansas is home to 2,959,373 people who own a total of 123,130 registered firearms (41.6 guns for every 1,000 residents). 

  • Washington, DC


    Image © Jon Hicks/Corbis

    Our nation's capital is very heavily armed, with 66.4 guns for every 1,000 residents (42,897 registered firearms among 646,449 people). Guns appear in other ways, too, like at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the National Mall. 

  • Wyoming


    Image © Radius Images/Corbis

    Number one on the list: Wyoming, the fittingly nicknamed Cowboy State, with 195.7 guns for every 1,000 people (three times the rate of runner-up Washington, DC). Out of just 582,658 residents, that's 114,052 registered firearms. 


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