Firearms in Colonial America
Yep, firearms of all kinds were very prevalent in Colonial America. As might be expected in a far distant land with thousands of miles of frontier bordering it. The following are a few interesting details that were found in the William and Mary Law Review Volume 43 No. 5,2002 Counting Guns in Early America by James Lindergren and Justin L, Heather.
The information that is listed below comes from probate records from the various colonies where full inventories of personal belongings were made and kept. So the numbers are dependent on estates going through the probate process, which was not always the case. Interesting, but not conclusive.
In inventories from 1774 firearms were found listed in the 53% of male estates.
At the same time, female estates showed that approximately 38% of women-owned some sort of firearm.
From the same inventories, only 30% of estates showed any cash in the inventory.
14% owned some sort of edged weapon.
25% had bibles listed, and 62% listed any book at all in their inventory.
Approximately 10% of all inventoried firearms were listed as either broken or outdated.
The information provided states at least one firearm is listed. It would not be a stretch that most people that had one, more than likely had more than one.
For comparison in a recent ongoing study, as of 2015 approximately 41% of US households owned at least one gun.
For the counterpoint. The article that this information came from was written to dispute the findings of Michael Bellesiles who in 2000 wrote Arming America: The Origins of the National Gun Culture. In that book, he contends that firearms in Colonial America were few and far between. Often with the colonial militias needing to confiscate guns to arm their ranks. A review of that book can be found here at The New York Times website.
If you feel like digging into the question, you can get a copy of Bellesiles book here with its stellar 1.5-star review average. This may be a case of reading the book, and the article and see if you can help answer the question about how prevalent firearms were in Colonial America.