NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gun-Control Group Issues Controversial Report

December 19, 2002

The Americans for Gun Safety Foundation -- which advocates stronger gun-storage laws -- has released an analysis of FBI data, claiming that guns are more likely to be stolen in states with high crime rates, large numbers of gun owners and where laws are lacking on the storage of firearms.

But a spokesman for the National Rifle Association dismissed the report as "yet another example of a gun control group struggling to find political relevance."

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • Nearly 1.7 million firearms were reported as stolen from January 1993 through August 2002.
  • But the number of guns stolen per year has declined -- from 221,322 reported in 1993 to 138,035 in 2001.
  • Nearly 688,000 stolen firearms were recovered during the 10-year period -- leaving more than a million missing.
  • The study says the decline in gun thefts coincides with a simultaneous drop in crime and an increase in use of gun locks and storage devices.

Six states -- Alaska, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico and Georgia -- had firearm theft rates at least twice the national average. California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina had the highest number of gun thefts over the past 10 years.

More than 80 percent of firearms thefts are from homes or cars.

Source: Toni Locy, "States With High Crime See More Guns Stolen," USA Today, December 18, 2002.

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