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

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.