An Issue of Access: The U.S. Has Three Times as Many Gun Dealers as Grocery Stores

Is it easier to buy a gun or a bunch of carrots? 

When it comes to food we often talk about the necessity of access; those that don’t have easy access to healthy food don’t consume it. 23.5 million Americans don’t have a supermarket within one mile of their home. What do they have? Guns.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, there are 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States. That’s more than three times the amount of grocery stores in the U.S. (36,569), meaning that simply factoring in the numbers, it’s easier to get a hold of a handgun than a bag of spinach.

Hunger is a serious issue; in 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure household (in the same year about 5.4 million new firearms were manufactured in the U.S.). Access to food alone won’t change that statistic, poverty has a lot to do with it, but we have to start somewhere, and in a world where a gun shop might be closer than a market, it’s time to question our priorities.

Which raises a good question to ponder: what kind of a society we would have if instead of food deserts we had gun deserts?

Image: Emily Stanchfield

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One thought on “An Issue of Access: The U.S. Has Three Times as Many Gun Dealers as Grocery Stores

  1. It should be noted that the number of supermarkets listed is limited to those that are classified as a “traditional supermarket” with over $2 million in annual sales and did not include smaller grocery stores that don’t do that much business, nor did it include warehouse stores, or stores like Wal-Mart and Target. (In fact, the store I shop at regularly would not have been counted in that list).
    Was a similar limit put on the gun dealers? Or did that number also include all of the independent, individual people who own “dealer” licenses because they have a small business or do repair work?
    Instead of twisting statistics to paint a particular picture, why not showcase the real problem in a way that allows people across political boundaries to all work together to find a solution? This type of reporting merely polarizes people, to the detriment of those who need help.


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