Guns, Gun Ownership, & RTC at All-Time Highs, Less "Gun Control," and
*Guns.* The number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) estimates that there were about 215 million guns in 1999(1), when the number of new guns was averaging about 4.5 million (about 2%) annually (2).
A report for the National Academy of Sciences put the 1999 figure at 258 million (3). According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 30.7 million approved (new and used) NICS firearm transactions between 2000 - 2003(4).
*Gun Owners.* The number of gun owners is also at an all-time high. The U.S. population is at an all-time high (about 294 million), and rises about 1% annually (5). Numerous surveys over the last 40+ years have indicated that just under half of all households have at least one gun owner (6). Some surveys since the late 1990s have indicated a smaller incidence of gun ownership (7), probably because of some respondents` concerns about "gun control," due perhaps to the policies of the Clinton Administration.
*Right-to-Carry.* The number of RTC states is at an all-time high, up from 10 in 1987 to 38 today (8). In 2003, states with RTC laws, compared to other states, had lower violent crime rates on average. Total violent crime was lower by 27%, murder by 32%, robbery by 45%, and aggravated assault by 20% (9).
*"Less Gun Control."* As violent crime has declined, many "gun control" laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive. Many states have eliminated prohibitory or restrictive carry laws, in favor of RTC laws. The federal Brady Act`s waiting period on handgun sales ended in 1998, in favor of the NRA-supported National Instant Check, and some states thereafter eliminated waiting periods, purchase permit requirements, or other laws delaying gun sales. The federal "assault weapon" ban expired. All states now have hunter protection laws, 46 have range protection laws, 45 prohibit local jurisdictions from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law, 44 protect the right to arms in their constitutions, and 33 prohibit frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry (10).
Studies by and for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, the National Institute of Justice, the National
*Crime.* The FBI reports that the nation`s total violent crime rate declined every year between 1991 200312 and in the first six months of
1. BATF, "Crime Gun Trace Reports (1999) National Report," Nov. 2000, p. ix (www.atf.gov/firearms/ycgii/1999/index.htm).
2. BATF, "Firearms Commerce in the United States 2001/2002" (www.atf.gov/pub/index.htm#Firearms).
3. National Research Council, /Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review/, National Academies Press, 2005.
4. BJS, "Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2003" (www.ojp.usdoj.gov./bjs/abstract/bcft03.htm).
5. Bureau of the Census (http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html).
6. Gary Kleck, /Targeting Firearms/, Aldine de Gruyter, 1997, pp. 94, 98-100.
7. E.g., BJS /Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2002/,/ /Table 2.58,/ /(www.albany.edu/sourcebook/).
8. See NRA RTC fact sheet (within www.nraila.org/Issues/Filter.aspx?ID=003).
9. See FBI, /Crime in the United States 2003/ (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#cius) for state crime statistics.
10. See NRA-ILA Compendium of State Firearms Laws (www.nraila.org/media/misc/compendium.htm).
11. Federal "assault weapon" ban: Roth, Koper, et al., /Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection
12. Note 9 and BJS (http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/).
14. Note 10. Condensed at www.nraila.org, click on "Research," then "Crime Statistics." Note that National Crime Victimization Surveys