NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Faulting The Clinton Administration's Anti-Gun Rhetoric

March 2, 1999

Statements by members of the Clinton administration in the firearms debate are coming under attack. Crime experts contend that the administration has repeatedly reported false data concerning the effectiveness of the Brady law.

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms recently released a report asserting that, more often than not, guns used in crimes are purchased, not stolen; but this is based on very indirect evidence, rather than gun traces.
  • The fact is that Americans own about 240 million guns, and some 450,000 gun crimes were committed in 1996.
  • In the unlikely event that the average criminal uses the same gun just twice, only 0.09 percent of all guns are used for criminal purposes in any given year.
  • President Clinton often asserts that gun shows serve as a source of guns to criminals but that statement misleads people into believing licensed firearms dealers sell guns at such shows without conducting criminal background checks.

Experts have found that citizens use guns to prevent crimes about five times more frequently than crimes are committed with guns. So equal percentage reductions in gun ownership by law-abiding citizens and by criminals will simply lead to more crime.

Source: John R. Lott Jr. (University of Chicago School of Law), "Suits Targeting Gun Makers Are Off the Mark," Wall Street Journal, March 2, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues