A study shining light on America's "gun culture" finds that one in three U.S. adults owns at least one gun, researchers say.
Most are white males age 55 and up, a majority of whom are married, a national survey of 4,000 adults determined.
The impact of the presence of so many guns can be seen in death and injury figures linked to guns; in one year alone, 2013, guns killed 33,636 people and injured 84,258 in the United States, according to the study published in the journal Injury Prevention.
America has a long history with guns and a prominent "gun culture," linked to the Second Amendment's constitutional guarantee that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Around 300 million guns are estimated to be in circulation in the United States today, with gun ownership rates varying from state to state. The lowest rate is in Delaware, where just 5 percent of the population owns guns. By contrast, 65 percent of people in Alaska own guns.
Gun owners tend to engage in social activities centered around guns, the researchers found, often associating with other gun owners in the family or in their circle of friends.
"In conclusion, we found strong association between social gun culture and gun ownership," the researchers wrote in their published study.
People who reported living amongst social gun culture owning were more than twice as likely to own a gun as those who did not. And one consequence of owning a gun is that it increases the gun owner's risk of dying from gun violence, previous research has indicated.
With the prevalence of guns come problems with gun crimes and mass shootings, particularly at schools or businesses.
One of the most infamous was at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999, in which two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, murdered 12 fellow students and a teacher before committing suicide.
In another school shooting in 2012, 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot and killed his mother at the Newtown home they shared before arriving at the school.
As emergency personnel began arriving at the school in response to the reports of shooting, Lanza committed suicide with a gunshot to his head.
While public attention is most focused on the victims killed by gun violence, consideration must be given to people who are shot but survive, says study author Bindu Kalesan, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York.
"For every three people who die of a gun injury in the U.S., there are seven people who survive," but are faced with subsequent lives often severely limited because of their injuries, she says. "Nobody talks about that."