Gun Policy Is Hard

"It is difficult to figure out the exact number of guns in America. There is no gun registry but nearly every estimate places the figure at around 300 million, or about one gun per person. Those guns are not equally distributed, but in general Americans are very well armed.

Any discussion of gun policy must begin with this fact. Some people believe that, in a civilized society, private citizens would not own guns or that private gun ownership would be heavily regulated. That’s fine, but we’re not starting from a place where that is a feasible alternative.

Even if confiscation were declared, and 90 percent of guns were voluntarily turned over to the government—an astounding rate of compliance that defies reasonable belief—there would still be 30 million guns in circulation, which for many gun controllers is still too many."