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This Map Compares Each State’s Gun Ownership to a Country with Similar Numbers

(WESTERN JOURNALISM) -- A new map compiled by the Movoto real estate blog provides a unique look at America’s firearms distribution by providing every U.S. state’s average gun ownership, comparing each to a nation with roughly the same number of guns. Movoto Public Relations Associate Chad Stiffney spoke to Western Journalism to explain the methodology behind the map and some of the results that he found surprising.

In determining the distribution of guns among the 50 states, he explained his team used an international study conducted in 2007 that estimated the number of firearms in 178 countries. With nearly 89 guns per 100 people in the U.S., Movoto used each state’s population to arrive at an average.

This method, of course, does not take into account the higher rate of gun ownership in gun-friendly states compared to that in states with stricter gun control laws. Stiffney explained the rationale behind relying on such an estimate.

“We used this methodology because it was the most accurate way to determine the number of guns in each state,” he explained. “The other option we had was to use number of yearly background checks, as others reporting on this have, but we chose not to because in some states you have to undergo regular background checks for the same firearm. What we did was a rough estimate based on the most thorough research at hand.”

After compiling the U.S. data, Movoto then renamed each state on the map with the name of the country with the closest number of guns. Given the method used, the most populous state – California – came out on top with an estimate of more than 33 million guns. Stiffney revealed that the country with which the Golden State was paired – China – was the most intriguing result of the study.

“The biggest surprise on this map is California,” he said, “considering China’s large population.”

Rounding out the top three states were Texas, whose estimated 22.33 million guns most closely resembled Germany, and New York, which fell just shy of Pakistan’s estimated 18 million firearms.

Stiffney explained why his company felt such a study would be relevant to its clients.

“At the Movoto blog we desire to create unique and fun real estate-related stories,” he concluded. “We like to provide information about cities and states to those that may be looking to move there. We thought this would be an interesting map that would provide a little more insight for readers.”

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