Gun Sales in the United States by State

There were 18,924,584 firearms sold in the United States in 2020

Welcome to RobarGuns' Firearm Sales Index. This database shows the number of firearms sold in the United States since 2017, among other statistics about the sale of firearms across the country.

In the year 2020, there were a total of 18,924,584 firearms sold in the United States. That number increased by 47.78% from the previous year. The state with the highest number of firearms sold in 2020 was Illinois, with 1,811,581 firearms sold, followed by Texas with 1,339,362 units, and Indiana with 1,114,898 total firearms sold. In terms of growth, the states with the highest four-year growth rates were Illinois, Utah, and Indiana, with 398.88%, 369.21% and 143.24%, respectively.

2020: A Blowout Record Year for Firearm Sales

In 2020, the United States saw an increase in the sale of firearms unlike any other time in history. The perfect storm of historic events that occurred in 2020 ignited a huge movement and sense or urgency to purchase firearms all across the country. The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, heightened racial tensions and protests surrounding police brutality, a fiercely politically divided nation, and an intense presidential campaign all contributed to a drastic increase in firearms sales in 2020—so much so, that the surge completely overwhelmed the FBI's NICS, forcing some sellers to delay the finalization of sales until background checks were completed. To put it further in perspective, in March 2020, the FBI reported a record-high number of completed background checks, at 3.7 million.

The impact of these 2020 events is perfectly described by the following quote from an AP article:

“Civil unrest, rioting, looting and calls to defund police are unquestionably motivating factors of why this trend is increasing. Americans are right to be concerned for their personal safety.”

Gun Dealers Compared to McDonald's Restaurants

Gun Dealers Compared to McDonald's Restaurants

According to the Bureau of Firearms and Tobacco, there are a total of 53,267 licensed firearm dealers in the country. That means that there are 3.36 firearm dealers for every McDonald's restaurant in the nation. Except for our nation's capital, where there are only 5 firearm dealers compared to 84 Mcdonald's locations, every single state in the nation has more gun dealers than McDonald's restaurants.

Gun Sales by State

Our database shows you the approximate total number of firearms sold in each state from 2017 to 2020, as well as state totals for firearm dealers, manufacturers, importers, and pawnbrokers. This data helps put in perspective just how much this industry has changed over the last five years—with its most significant changes occurring in the year 2020. For example, firearms sales in Illinois jumped from 363,127 in 2017 to 1,811,581 in 2020.

Interestingly, however, not all states saw a consistent increase in firearms sales from 2017 to 2020. In fact, firearms sales in California decreased in 2018 and 2019, before slightly increasing again in 2020. Additionally, Kentucky was the only state that saw a decrease in firearms sales in 2020.

States With the Highest Per Capita Gun Sales

The table below shows the top 10 states with the highest firearm sales per capita in 2020. The state with the highest number of gun sales per capita is Utah, where in 2020, there was one firearm sold for every 4.3 people living in Utah. Only four of the states listed below were among the top 10 states with the highest firearms sales in 2020.

RankStateGun Sales in 2020
1 Utah 1 firearm sold for every 4.3 people
2 Kentucky 1 firearm sold for every 4.6 people
3 Indiana 1 firearm sold for every 6.0 people
4 Illinois 1 firearm sold for every 7.1 people
5 Alabama 1 firearm sold for every 7.7 people
6 Minnesota 1 firearm sold for every 9.9 people
7 Idaho 1 firearm sold for every 10.3 people
8 Montana 1 firearm sold for every 10.5 people
9 Wyoming 1 firearm sold for every 11.1 people
10 Tennessee 1 firearm sold for every 11.6 people
AL Alabama AK Alaska AR Arkansas AZ Arizona CA California CO Colorado CT Connecticut DE Delaware FL Florida GA Georgia HI Hawaii IA Iowa ID Idaho IL Illinois IN Indiana KS Kansas KY Kentucky LA Louisiana MA Massachusetts MD Maryland ME Maine MI Michigan MN Minnesota MO Missouri MS Mississippi MT Montana NC North Carolina ND North Dakota NE Nebraska NH New Hampshire NJ New Jersey NM New Mexico NV Nevada NY New York OH Ohio OK Oklahoma OR Oregon PA Pennsylvania RI Rhode Island SC South Carolina SD South Dakota TN Tennessee TX Texas UT Utah VA Virginia VT Vermont WA Washington WI Wisconsin WV West Virginia WY Wyoming

About The Database & Data Collection

To create this database, we applied a proprietary model to come up with approximate gun sales at the national and state level. This model included key sources, such as the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and data from gun dealers holding a Federal Firearms License (FFL). To ensure accuracy, we deducted from our calculation the estimated number of NICS background checks that were performed for the sole purpose of issuing permits.

Our model focuses on new firearm sales, and it does not accurately approximate private sales that took place in the 27 states that did not require background checks for the private sale of firearms. The data acquired for the maps and this chart are largely from the NICS website, the Bureau of Firearms and Tobacco, and the regulatory authority in each state. However, some states have poor data, or no data at all. In this case, we gathered the estimates from newspaper accounts.