By SAMUEL STEBBINS
24/7 WALL ST. VIA THE CENTER SQUARE
The United States is the only country in the world with more civilian-owned firearms than people. While most of the nearly 400 million firearms in the U.S. belong to law-abiding citizens, some portion of them inevitably end up in the wrong hands.
Every year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives traces hundreds of thousands of firearms that were either used, or are suspected to have been used, to commit a crime. While not all firearms used in criminal acts are traced, ATF data reveals that in every state, there is at least one city that appears to account for a disproportionate share of crimes involving a firearm.
The ATF traced a total of 54,228 firearms in California in 2021. Of those, 8,036, or 14.8%, of all guns traced in the state were linked to crimes in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Los Angeles accounts for only 9.9% of the state’s total population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.
Sacramento accounted for the second largest share of firearm tracings in the state in 2021, at 4.1%, while San Diego ranked third, accounting for 2.7% of all firearms traced by the ATF that year. Sacramento and San Diego make up 1.3% and 3.5% of California’s total population, respectively.