NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Guns Were Once Common In Schools

June 17, 1999

Until 1969, virtually every public high school in New York City had a shooting club and the federal government even gave students rifles and paid for their ammunition. Students would carry guns to school on subways, entrust them to an adult while classes were in session, then retrieve them after school for target practice.

Since the 1960s, however, the growth of gun controls has been dramatic.

  • Federal gun laws, which contained 19,907 words in 1960, have more than quadrupled to 88,413 words today.
  • By contrast, in 1930, all federal gun-control laws amounted to only 3,571 words.
  • In California, gun-control statutes contained 158,643 words in 1997 -- and still another 12 statutes are being considered in the current legislative session.
  • None of this includes local regulations on everything from licensing to mandatory gun locks.

Gun-control laws have noticeably reduced gun ownership in some states, experts report, with the result that for each 1 percent reduction in gun ownership there has been a 3 percent increase in violent crime.

Nationally, gun-ownership rates throughout the 1960s and 1970s remained fairly constant, while the rates of violent crime skyrocketed. In the 1990s, gun ownership has grown along with dramatic reductions in crime.

Source: John R. Lott Jr. (University of Chicago Law School), "More Gun Controls? They Haven't Worked in the Past," Wall Street Journal, June 17, 1999.


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