NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Inconvenient Facts For Gun-Control Advocates

August 4, 2000

Gun ownership is at record high levels, but deaths due to firearms are at the lowest levels in decades -- two facts that must pose an embarrassment to those who want the government to disarm ordinary citizens. The realities simply do not support their pleas.

  • Firearms deaths are at low levels not seen since the 1960s, while Americans owned 230 million guns as of 1996, according to a Police Foundation study -- and the industry has been producing roughly three million guns each year for domestic sales.
  • From 1973 to 1992, the American gun supply nearly doubled -- but homicide rates were stable.
  • Fatal gun accidents among children ages 14 and under have fallen from an average of about 500 a year in the early 1970s to 121 in 1998.
  • Crime rates are lower for regions such as the Rocky Mountain and North Central states, and population groups such as whites and older males, where gun ownership is higher.

President Clinton's anti-gun rhetoric in recent years ignited a frenzy of gun purchases among citizens panicked at the prospect that their right to bear arms was about to be curtailed, experts report.

Now comes a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the Brady Act -- which requires background checks on potential gun purchasers -- has not had any impact on gun homicides.

Source: David B. Kopel (Independence Institute and Cato Institute), "More Guns, Less Gun Violence," Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2000.


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