Story at a glance

  • Handguns account for a majority of gun homicides in the country.
  • They were used in 6,368 of the 10,258 homicides involving a gun in the U.S. in 2019.
  • The most commonly-possessed gun by federal and state prisoners are handguns.

Of the approximately 400 million guns estimated to be in the United States, handguns account for a majority of gun homicides in the country.

According to FBI data, handguns were used in 6,368 of the 10,258 homicides involving a gun in the U.S. in 2019 — or 62 percent.

Additionally, handguns are used in more mass shootings — or shootings where four or more people are killed — than long guns, former FBI agent Brad Garrett told ABC News as part of its “Rethinking Gun Violence” series.

Handguns are also the most commonly-possessed gun by federal and state prisoners. Data analyzed from the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates found that approximately 18 percent of inmates said they possessed a handgun


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According to the director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Daniel Flannery, much of a handgun's appeal stems from how easy the weapon is to conceal, access, and acquire.

"If people are carrying them, whether that's because their state has an open carry law, or because they feel they need one for protection, or because they're intending to use it to settle a dispute,” Flannery told ABC News, “more people have them, and more people are using them.”

Gun data from 2020 is not yet available.


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Published on Oct 26, 2021