This Florida City Owns the Most Guns in America

Gun ownership is a constitutional right in the United States, and while only about a third of American adults choose to exercise that right, the U.S. is the only country in the world with more guns than people. Nationwide, there are an estimated 473.2 million civilian-owned firearms in circulation. However, not all guns are used for legitimate, lawful purposes, and some inevitably end up in the wrong hands.

According to firearm tracing data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the number of guns linked to criminal activity has been steadily rising year-over-year for more than a decade.

When firearms are recovered at a crime scene or taken from a suspect, they are often reported to the ATF for tracing. In these cases, the ATF assists in criminal investigations by using serial numbers and other markings to determine when and where a firearm was originally purchased.

In Florida, gun violence is often concentrated in certain areas, and several cities stand out for their high rates of gun crime. Let’s take a closer look at the Florida cities where the most guns are traced by the federal government:

1. Jacksonville

  • Firearm-Tracing Rate (2022): 37.4 guns per 10,000 people
  • Total Firearm Tracings: 3,550 (9.8% of all firearms traced in Florida)
  • Population: 950,203 (4.4% of Florida’s population)

2. Fort Lauderdale

  • Firearm-Tracing Rate (2022): 43.1 guns per 10,000 people
  • Total Firearm Tracings: 787 (2.2% of all firearms traced in Florida)
  • Population: 182,673 (0.8% of Florida’s population)

3. Lakeland

  • Firearm-Tracing Rate (2022): Approximately 29 firearms per 10,000 people
  • Total Firearm Tracings: Not specified
  • Population: Not specified

4. Tallahassee

  • Firearm-Tracing Rate (2022): 29.0 guns per 10,000 people
  • Total Firearm Tracings: 575 (1.6% of all firearms traced in Florida)
  • Population: 198,259 (0.9% of Florida’s population)

These cities exhibit varying rates of gun violence, with Jacksonville leading in total tracings but other cities having higher rates adjusted for population. While gun ownership remains a contentious issue, understanding the patterns of gun violence can inform policy decisions and community efforts to promote safety.

What Are the Main Reasons for Florida’s High Gun Ownership Rate

Florida’s high gun ownership rate can be attributed to several factors:

1. Increased Demand: Since President Obama took office, there has been a significant increase in gun sales in Florida, with many residents purchasing firearms in response to perceived threats to their Second Amendment rights.

2. Concealed Carry Permits and “Stand Your Ground” Law: The state’s “stand your ground” law and concealed carry permits have emboldened more people to carry firearms, leading to more opportunities for gun-related crimes.

3. Private Sales and Gun Shows: Many gun purchases in Florida occur through private sales and gun shows, which are not subject to federal background checks, contributing to the high rate of gun ownership.

4. Economic Factors: The predominantly African American community in Riviera Beach, where gun ownership is highest, may be driven by economic challenges and racial disparities, leading to a higher demand for personal protection and self-defense.

5. Lack of Effective Background Checks: Florida’s background check system has been criticized for its inefficiencies, including the lack of revisiting approved background checks if later the gun owner is disqualified due to mental illness or felony convictions.

6. Gun Culture: Florida’s gun culture, influenced by the state’s gun-friendly laws and the national debate on gun control, has contributed to the high rate of gun ownership.

These factors collectively contribute to Florida’s high gun ownership rate, which has been linked to an increase in gun murders in the state.


Florida faces challenges related to gun violence, and addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach. Stricter regulations, community engagement, and mental health initiatives are essential components in reducing gun-related crime. As we continue to grapple with this complex issue, let’s strive for a safer and more secure future for all Floridians.

Leave a Comment