CBS News Badly Misfires With "The Most Heavily Armed States In America"

A young woman buying an AR-15 has now become a routine sight in gun stores.
A young woman buying an AR-15 has now become a routine sight in gun stores.

CBS News has published what they probably intended as a fear-mongering piece called “Most Heavily Armed States In America.”


It purports to tell us which states have the most guns per capita but the “journalists” who put this together made a major mistake, seemingly obvious mistake.

Can you spot it right away?

As America reels from yet another mass shooting, inevitable questions resurface about guns laws and the nation’s pervasive firearm culture. Here is a look at the 30 states with the most guns per capita, according to the ATF’s National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

How did they screw up this report so spectacularly?

These giants of journalism with “layers of editors and fact checkers,” confused the tiny list of items registered as NFA items under the National Firearms Act of 1934 as being a registry of all guns in the United States.

There’s only a few problems with that.

  1. There is no federal registry of all firearms.
  2. The National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record only counts machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, “any other weapons,” and silencers.
  3. The vast majority of the items on the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record are non-firearms. They are instead silencers.

This is the equivalent of listing the number of NASCAR race cars housed in each state and claiming it represents the number of all cars on the road.


Let’s take Florida as an example just to show how bad they really botched this.

Florida comes in at number 30, with 10.2 guns for every 1,000 residents. That’s a staggering 199,828 registered firearms dispersed among 19,552,860 people.

Their claim of “10.2 guns for every 1,000 residents” in Florida is lower than than of almost every nation on earth.

The world average is 102 firearms per 1000 people, with even Great Britain (66 per 1000), Cuba (48 per 1000), and Vietnam (17 per 1000) having far more per capita firearms than CBS News claims for the fabled “Gunshine State.”


Here’s some real figures.

Florida had 1,463,832 licensed concealed carriers as of March.  In addition, they’ve done 978,147 NICS background through November 30 of this year alone, and the state typically averages more than one million background checks per year.

There is no registry which tells us how many firearms there are total in Florida, but its likely to be far close to 20 million than 200,000.

CBS isn’t just dead wrong in this report, they’re not even in the same planet.

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