More Guns, Less Crime
Violent crime hit an all-time high in 1991. Since then, "gun control" laws have been rolled back, the number of privately-owned guns has risen to an all-time high, and violent crime has dropped to a 30-year low.
More Guns. The number of privately-owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) estimates there were about 215 million guns in 19991; the National Academy of Sciences puts the 1999 figure at 258 million2. The number of new guns each year averages about 4.5 million (about 2%).3 According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 60.4 million approved (new and used) NICS firearm transactions from 1994-2004.4 The FBI reports that there were 61.6 million approved NICS transactions from Nov. 30, 1998 through the end of 2005, and that the annual number of transactions increased 2.4% between 2003-2004 and 3.1% between 2004-2005.5
More Gun Owners. The number of gun owners is also at an all-time high. The U.S. population is at an all-time high (296 million), and rises about 1% annually,6 and numerous surveys over the last 40+ years have found that almost half of all households have at least one gun owner.7 Some surveys since the late 1990s have indicated a smaller incidence of gun ownership,8 probably because of some respondents' concerns about "gun control," perhaps a residual effect of the anti-gun policies of the Clinton Administration.
More Right-to-Carry. The number of RTC states is at an all-time high, up from 10 in 1987 to 40 today.9 In 2005, states with RTC laws, compared to the rest of the country, had lower violent crime rates on average: total violent crime lower by 22%, murder by 30%, robbery by 46%, and aggravated assault by 12%.10
Less "Gun Control." Violent crime has declined while many "gun control" laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive. Many states have eliminated prohibitory or restrictive carry laws, in favor of Right-to-Carry laws. The federal Brady Act's waiting period on handgun sales expired in 1998, in favor of the NRA-supported National Instant Check, and some states concurrently or thereafter eliminated waiting periods or purchase permit requirements. The federal "assault weapon" ban expired in 2004. All states have hunter protection laws, 46 have range protection laws, 46 prohibit local jurisdictions from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law, 44 protect the right to arms in their constitutions, and Congress and 33 states have prohibited frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry.11
Less Crime. The FBI reports that the nation's total violent crime rate declined every year between 1991-2004, to a 30-year low in 2004, and estimates that it rose 1% in 2005.12 (By comparison, the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics crime victim survey found that "at the national level crime rates remain stabilized at the lowest level experienced since 1973," when the first such survey was conducted.14)
According to the FBI, in 2005 the nation's violent crime rates were significantly lower than they were in 1991, when the violent crime rate hit an all-time high. In 2005, total violent crime was lower by 38%, murder by 43%, rape by 25%, robbery by 48%, and aggravated assault by 33%.
During 2004-2005, total violent crime was lower than anytime since 1976. For the last seven years, the murder rate (between 5.5 and 5.7 per 100,000 annually) has been lower than anytime since 1965.13 Studies by and/or for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, the National Institute of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no evidence that "gun control" reduces crime.
1. BATF, "Crime Gun Trace Reports (1999) National Report," Nov. 2000, p. ix (www.atf.gov/firearms/ycgii/1999/index.htm).
2. National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005.
3. BATF, "Firearms Commerce in the United States 2001/2002" (www.atf.gov/pub/index.htm#Firearms).
4. BJS, "Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2004" (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov./bjs/pub/pdf/bcft04.pdf).
5. FBI, "NICS Operations 2005," Jan. 2006
6. Bureau of the Census (http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2005-01.xls).
7. Gary Kleck, Targeting Firearms, Aldine de Gruyter, 1997, pp. 94, 98-100.
8. E.g., BJS Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2002, Table 2.58, (www.albany.edu/sourcebook/).
9. See NRA RTC fact sheet (within
10. FBI, Crime in the United States 2005 (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/documents/05tbl05.xls) for state crime statistics.
11. See NRA-ILA Compendium of State Firearms Laws (www.nraila.org/media/misc/compendium.htm). Also, note that in October 2005, federal legislation prohibiting such lawsuits was signed into law.
12. FBI, Crime in the United States 2005, Table 4,
(http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/documents/05tbl04.xls) and BJS (http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/).
13. Ibid. Condensed at www.nraila.org, click on "Research," then "Crime
14. BJS, "Criminal Victimization 2005," (www.ojp.usdoj.gov./bjs/pub/pdf/cv05.pdf).
15. Federal "assault weapon" ban: Roth, Koper, et al., Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, March 13, 1997 (www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=406797); Reedy and Koper, "Impact of handgun types on gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers," Injury Prevention 2003, (http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/9/2/151); Koper et al., Report to the National Institute of Justice, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, June 2004 (www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/jlc-new/Research/Koper_aw_final.pdf); Wm. J. Krouse, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban," Dec. 16, 2004. "Gun control," generally: Library of Congress, Report for Congress: Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries, May 1998, LL98-3, 97-2010; Task Force on Community Preventive Service, "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws," Morbidity and Mortaility Weekly Report, Oct. 3, 2003 (www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm); National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005 (http://books.nap.edu/books/0309091241/html/index.html).
What does all this stuff above say? Well, kiddies, it says that apparently Dr. Lott was correct. More Guns in the hands of law-abiding civilians DOES equal less crime!
Amazing isn't it.