New research has revealed that almost one in three US adults own at least one gun – with the bulk of these being white, married men older than 55.
Published in the Injury Prevention journal, the findings state that 29.1% of American adults own a gun, in a survey of 4,000.
The study also shows that gun owners are more than twice as likely as those who do not possess a firearm to be associated with a 'social gun culture' where friends and family also own guns or participate in gun-related activities.
Just 6.1% of respondents who didn't own a gun said that they were involved in some capacity in the 'social gun culture', while this rose to 32.3% for people who associate with gun owners and activities.
"The link between social gun culture and gun ownership also suggests one avenue through which modern conceptions of the primacy of gun ownership, despite the potential public health consequences, are reinforced," the report reads.
"Although notions of protection of one's family and property originally justified gun ownership, [this] is today sustained in public consciousness much more through calls to constitutionally enshrined social values, reinforced intermittently by outrage at efforts to limit widespread gun availability."
South eastern state Arkansas had the highest gun ownership rate, with 61.7% of adults possessing one, while Delaware was at the opposite end of the spectrum with just a 5.2% ownership rate.
Some 33,636 people died from gun related violence in the US in 2013 – this compares to the 39 in the UK in 2011.