Light Over Heat #6: How Many Americans Own AR-15 Style Rifles and Large-Capacity Magazines?


In Episode 3 of “Light Over Heat,” I mentioned a 2021 National Firearms Survey by Georgetown University Professor William English. In Episode 6, I discuss a couple of interesting findings in that survey.

Among the unique qualities of Professor English’s National Firearms Survey is that he asked respondents whether they owned AR-15 style rifles or large-capacity magazines (holding 10+ rounds of ammunition).

English finds that 30.2% of gun owners have owned AR-15 style rifles (around 25 million people), and 48% have owned 10+ capacity magazines (approximately 40 million people).

(From Episode 2 of “Light Over Heat,” remember these are very conservative estimates of ownership rates given the underreporting of gun ownership in surveys.)

Beyond simply being interesting empirically, these findings are relevant to the legal question of whether certain firearms are in “common use.”

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