Guns in America As noted in the introduction, my dad has three guns in his house. I have none. Unfortunately, that is the extent of information that I possess on the supply of guns in America. Authorities probably even know less than I do about the supply of guns in Pennsylvania. The reasons are varied. First, since there is no national registry of firearms, except for certain very dangerous weapons, there is no information on who owns what firearms in the United States. Second, although federally licensed firearms dealers are required to maintain records on every firearm transfer, they do not have to notify authorities regarding the transfers. In fact, federal law prohibits the creation of a central repository of firearm sales records (Firearm Owner’s Protection Act, 1986). Second, approximately 40% of all firearm transfers are between private parties (Cook and Ludwig 1997). It is important to note that the 40% value is a rough estimate based on survey data. Given that no background checks are required for private transfers, there is no way to verify this estimate. Third, in private firearm transfers, neither the seller nor the buyer of the firearm is obligated to report the sale to the authorities. In only 11 states and the District of Columbia are sellers required to report transfers of firearms to the authorities. In five of those states, all firearm transfers must be reported. In the remainder of the states, only handgun transfers need to be reported. Fourth, although federal law requires dealers to maintain the records of firearm transfers indefinitely, background check records are destroyed quickly. All information on approved transfers must be destroyed within 24 hours upon the notification of the background check approval. Information on denials is retained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indefinitely.