STATISTICS: Guns Increase, Crime Decreases

Gun Ownership Rises to All-Time High,
Violent Crime Falls to 35-Year Low

Coinciding with a surge in gun purchases that began shortly before the 2008 elections, violent crime decreased six percent between 2008 and 2009, including an eight percent decrease in murder and a nine percent decrease in robbery.1 Since 1991, when violent crime peaked, it has decreased 43 percent to a 35-year low. Murder has fallen 49 percent to a 45-year low.2 At the same time, the number of guns that Americans own has risen by about 90 million. Predictions by gun control supporters, that increasing the number of guns, particularly handguns and so-called “assault weapons,” would cause crime to increase, have been proven profoundly lacking in clairvoyance.4

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More Guns: There are well over 250 million privately-owned firearms in the U.S., including nearly 100 million handguns and tens of millions of “assault weapons”—the types of firearms that gun control supporters have tried the hardest to get banned5—and the number of firearms typically rises about 4 million per year.6 Annual numbers of new AR-15s, the most popular semi-automatic rifle that gun control supporters call an “assault weapon,” are soaring. In 2008, there were more than 337,000 new AR-15s configured for home defense, competition, training, recreational target practice and hunting.7 NRA-supported Instant Check firearm transactions have increased over 10 percent annually since 2006.8

Less Gun Control: Over the last quarter-century, many federal, state and local gun control laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive. The federal “assault weapon” ban, upon which gun control supporters claimed public safety hinged, expired in 2004 and the murder rate has since dropped 10 percent. The federal handgun waiting period, for years the centerpiece of gun control supporters’ agenda, expired in 1998, in favor of the NRA-supported national Instant Check, and the murder rate has since dropped 21 percent. Accordingly, some states have eliminated obsolete ccw by state waiting periods and purchase permit requirements. There are now 40 Right-to-Carry states, an all-time high, up from 10 in 1987. All states have hunter protection laws, 48 have range protection laws, 48 prohibit local gun laws more restrictive than state law, 44 protect the right to arms in their constitutions, 33 have “castle doctrine” laws protecting the right to use guns in self-defense, and Congress and 33 states prohibit frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry.9 Studies for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, the National Institutes of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no evidence that gun control reduces crime. The FBI doesn’t list gun control as one of the many factors that determine the type and level of crime from place to place.

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