When the topic of firearm ownership arises in Montana, I usually don't ask my friends or coworkers if they own a gun... I ask them if they've bought any new guns lately. After all, it's pretty easy to assume they own at least one gun already, and data confirms the majority of Montanans (66.3%) have at least one firearm in their household.

Grandpa and Grandson going Duck Hunting
Getty Stock/ThinkStock Steve Oehlenschlager

A study published in 2020 ranked gun ownership by state.

It turns out finding quick-facts on the number of guns in each state isn't as easy as one would image. An extensive, non-partisan study by the Rand Corporation (find PDF HERE) utilized a variety of complex data and metrics to "estimate the proportion of adults living in a household with a firearm for each state annually between 1980 and 2016." Their results weren't entirely surprising.

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Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

"Liberal" states have less firearms.

This point seems obvious, and the findings in the Rand report confirm that states traditionally considered more liberal have less households with guns. The 10 states with the lowest percentages of gun ownership are:

  • Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, California, Maryland and Delaware.

These states ranged from 14.3% to 34.4%.

On the other end of the spectrum, the following states have the most households with at least one firearm:

  • Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota and North Dakota.

66.3% of Montana households have at least one gun, with Wyoming a very close second at 66.2%. South and North Dakota are nearly tied at 55.3% and 55.1%, respectively.

H/T CBS News

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