NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Guns, Fewer Incidents

December 11, 2000

In a little-noticed report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) says gun-related deaths and woundings dropped 33 percent in the United States from 1993 to 1997. During the same period, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) reports that the number of firearms in circulation increased nearly 10 percent.

  • The BJS estimates that gun deaths and woundings fell from 143,795 in 1993 to 96,636 in 1997
  • The decline continued in 1998, the latest year for which figures are available.
  • The number of firearms increased from 216.3 million in 1993 to 236.5 million in 1997, and the ATF estimates that there are 250 million now.

Gun control advocates say new laws, such as the 1994 Brady Law, have had some impact on the reduction in incidents by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or potential criminals. But the BJS survey reports that gun-related incidents had already begun to drop when the Brady Law went into effect. And gun incidents increased in the aftermath of the Gun Control Law of 1968, the first to limit who could buy or possess firearms.

Source: Gary Fields, "Gun Conundrum: More on Streets, Fewer Incidents," Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2000.

 

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