In America there are approximately 310 million firearms possessed by civilians. These firearms make up 114 million handguns, 86 million shotguns and 110 million rifles. Interestingly, 20% of gun owners own slightly more than 65% of the guns in the US. Gun laws regarding ownership vary per state, and the three states with the most acquired federal background checks for gun ownership are Kentucky, California, and Texas respectively. Interestingly, Kentucky has a population of around 4.4 million people and the FBI performed slightly under three million background checks for potential gun owners. This gave Kentucky the title of most guns per capita- almost one gun per three citizens. On a nationwide scale, the FBI conducted 19.8 million background investigations in 2015 alone. 47.4% of gun applications are denied by the FBI due to felony conviction or indictment. The United States is the first ranked country of guns per capita worldwide according to a Switzerland based small arms survey. This survey found that in the U.S. there are 112.6 firearms per 100 civilians. The second country is Serbia where they hold a shockingly low in comparison 69.7 firearms per 100 civilians.
In terms of illegal handgun ownership in the United States, 86% of minors in juvenile correction facilities have illicitly obtained a gun. They have owned approximately three or more handguns and illegally modified shotguns prior to arriving at the correction facility as well. Any gun, handgun or otherwise, possessed by a minor regardless of how it was obtained is categorized as an illegal firearm due to the minimum age requirement being eighteen years old. According to a study conducted in 2007, only 15% of handguns possessed by federal inmates over the age of eighteen were purchased through a retail store. Handguns are the most commonly obtained illegal firearm due to their ability to be easily concealed. This study continues to state that the majority of these handguns are given to the inmates by close friends and family members. A common way for gun owners to illegally acquire a firearm is referred to as a straw purchase. This occurs when the actual buyer of a firearm uses another person to complete the necessary paperwork at an authorized firearm retail store. If one is caught undergoing a straw purchase in terms of a handgun, shotgun, or rifle, extreme consequences will be issued. These punishments include a felony, ten years in prison, and a hefty fine of around $250,000.