Gun Ownership at All-Time High, Nation’s Murder Rate at Nearly All-Time Low
The nation’s total violent crime rate hit an all-time high in 1991. Thereafter, it declined 18 of the next 20 years, 49 percent overall, to a 41-year low in 2011. That included a 52 percent decrease in the nation’s murder rate, to a 48-year low, nearly the lowest point in U.S. history. The FBI has preliminarily reported that in the first half of 2012, the murder rate dropped another 2.7 percent.1
Concurrently, gun ownership2 and the number of privately owned guns rose to all-time highs, the number of privately owned firearms in the U.S. rising by over 120 million, including about 55 million handguns, about 80 percent of which were semi-automatic.3 The 120 million new firearms included over 3.5 million AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and tens of millions of other firearms that gun control supporters call “assault weapons,”4 along with countless tens of millions of ammunition magazines that hold 11 or more rounds, which gun control supporters think are too “large.”5 In the three months following President Barack Obama’s reelection and his announcement that gun control would be a “central issue” of his final term of office,6 the number of firearm-related background checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System rose 53 percent, as compared to the same November-January period a year earlier.7
The trends stand in stark contrast to what gun control supporters have predicted over the years. Handguns are, of course, the type of firearm that gun control have always most wanted to be banned.8 In the 1970s, the Brady Campaign (then called National Council to Control Handguns) predicted: “There are now 40 million handguns owned by private individuals in the United States—about one gun for every American family. At the present rate of proliferation, the number could build to 100 million by the year 2000 (which isn’t as far off as you think). The consequences can be terrible to imagine—unless something is done.”9
In 1979, when Brady Campaign was known as Handgun Control, Inc., it updated its prediction, saying, “Right now over 50 million HANDGUNS flood the houses and streets of our nation. . . . HANDGUN production and sales are out of control. . . . If we continue at this pace, we will have equipped ourselves with more than 100 million HANDGUNS by the turn of the century. One hundred million HANDGUNS. Will we be safer then?”10 As the crime trends discussed indicate, the answer to the group’s question appears to be “yes.”
In the late 1980s, realizing they had failed to get handguns banned, gun control supporters switched their gun-banning energies to semi-automatic rifles and other firearms they call “assault weapons,” using much the same rhetoric against those firearms as they had used previously against handguns.11
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. Accordingly, some states have eliminated obsolete waiting periods and purchase permit requirements. There are now 41 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. 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.12 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.13
1. For years 1991-2010, see the FBI Uniform Crime Reports Section Data Tool. For 2011 and the first half of 2012, see FBI, Crime in the United States 2011 and preliminary 2012 reports, available on the FBI’s Crime Statistics webpage. Note that the FBI reported a 1.7 percent decrease in the number of murders in the first half of 2012, as compared to the same period on 2011, implying a 2.7 percent increase in the murder per capita rate, given the approximately one percent increase in the population in the intervening year. For information on earlier murder rates, see Claude Fischer, “A crime puzzle,” The Public Intellectual, May 2, 2011.
2. Along with a rise n the U.S. population of roughly one percent annually, 47 percent of households reported gun ownership in 2011, the highest since 1993, Gallup, “Self-Reported Gun Ownership in U.S. is Highest Since 1993.
3. See BATFE, “Firearms Commerce in the United States: Annual Statistical Update 2012. One can estimate the number of manufactured and imported guns beyond 2010 by using the numbers of firearm-related background checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), discussed above.
4. On January 24, 2013, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced Senate Bill 150, proposing to ban all detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles and all semi-automatic shotguns, based upon their having a “characteristic that can function as a grip.”
5. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) estimates that there were 50 million such magazines imported while the federal “assault weapon” and “large” magazine ban was imposed, between 1994-2004. (Schumer press release, “Schumer Moves to Renew Federal Ban on Assault Weapons,” May 8, 2003.)
6. Michael D. Shear, “Obama Vows Fast Action ion New Push for Gun Control,” New York Times, Dec. 19, 2012
8. In 1975, the National Council to Control Handguns (renamed Handgun Control, Inc., or HCI, in 1979 and now called the Brady Campaign) called for “a ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of all handguns and handgun ammunition.” (Nelson T. “Pete” Shields, People Weekly, Oct. 20, 1975.) The group said “Our battle is against handguns,” which it called “a national plague.” (“There is now a nationwide, full-time, professional organization to battle the gun lobby” pamphlet, circa 1975.) In 1976, the group’s chairman, Nelson T. “Pete” Shields, said, “The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition—except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors—totally illegal.” (Richard Harris, “A Reporter At Large: Handguns,” The New Yorker, July 26, 1976.) The group called handguns “a national plague” and said “our battle is against handguns.” (National Council to Control Handguns, “There is now a nationwide, full-time, professional organization to battle the gun lobby” pamphlet, circa 1975.) A few years later, the National Coalition to Ban Handguns said “the primary function of a handgun is to kill a human being. . . . It is the concealable handgun that threatens and intimidates the citizens of this country.” (Pamphlet, “20 Questions and Answers,” circa 1981.) Then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein (later, U.S. Senate sponsor of the federal “assault weapon” ban of 1994-2004), said she was “deeply committed” to her proposal to ban the private possession of handguns in the city, even though she had carried a handgun for protection. (Ivan Sharpe, “People With Guns,” San Francisco Examiner, March 28, 1982.) In 1982, Handgun Control filed a brief in Quilici v. Morton Grove, in support of the Illinois town’s handgun ban. In 2008, Brady Campaign filed a brief to the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, in support of Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban.
9. NCCH, “There is now a nationwide, full-time, professional organization to battle the gun lobby!” pamphlet, no date, but circa 1975.
10. HCI pamphlet, “By this time tomorrow, 24 Americans will be murdered,” circa 1979 or 1980.
11. See www.GunBanFacts.com, “history” section.
12. Jeffrey A. Roth, Christopher S. Koper, “Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, Urban Institute, March 13, 1997; Reedy and Koper, “Impact of handgun types of gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers,” Injury Prevention, Sept. 2003; Christopher S. Koper, “An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003,” Report to the National Institute of Justice, June 2004; Wm. J. Krouse, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, “Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban,” 12/16/04; Library of Congress, “Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries,” 5/98, LL98-3, 97-2010; Task Force on Community Preventive Service, “First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 10/03/03; Nat’l. Research Council, “Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review,” Nat’l. Academies Press, 2005.
13. FBI, “Crime in the United States 2011,” Variables Affecting Crime.
NRA Supports Lawsuit Challenging NSA’s Mass Surveillance and Collection Program
NRA supports the whole Constitution, and demonstrated that support this week by weighing in on an issue that’s been of concern for decades.
On Wednesday, NRA filed a “friend of the court” brief in federal district court supporting an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency’s (NSA) phone records surveillance and collection program. The massive NSA data-mining program collects the records of millions of Americans.
First among the “Purposes and Objectives” listed in NRA’s Bylaws is “[t]o protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and especially the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Constitution. The NRA’s activities in support of that purpose have long included legislative advocacy and litigation concerning the rights of the NRA and its members to associate and communicate freely under the First Amendment (also demonstrated by our opposition to so-called campaign finance “reform” legislation), and the protection of gun owners against intrusive government surveillance or recordkeeping, such as the establishment of systems to register or compile lists of firearms or the owners of firearms.
NRA also stands second to no organization in its support for legitimate law enforcement, military, and national security activities to defend our nation against terrorism. Countless NRA members, including NRA employees, have served in that fight.
At the same time, NRA historically has made clear that counter-terrorism efforts must be conducted within the bounds of the Constitution.
The NRA brief argues that NSA’s mass surveillance program threatens the rights of NRA and its members because it “could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, and other persons with whom the NRA communicates, potentially chilling their willingness to communicate with NRA.” Further, the brief argues that the mass surveillance program “could allow the government to circumvent legal protections for Americans’ privacy, such as laws that guard against the registration of guns or gun owners.”
For more than 50 years, the Supreme Court has recognized that involuntary disclosure of the membership of advocacy groups inhibits the exercise of First Amendment rights by those groups. For nearly as long–since the debates leading up to enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968–Congress has recognized that government recordkeeping on gun owners inhibits the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The NSA’s mass surveillance program raises both issues, potentially providing the government not only with the means of identifying members and others who communicate with NRA and other advocacy groups, but also with the means of identifying gun owners without their knowledge or consent, contrary to longstanding congressional policy repeatedly reaffirmed and strengthened by Congresses that enacted and reauthorized the legislation at issue in this case.
As the brief notes, “…it would be absurd to think that Congress would adopt and maintain a web of statutes intended to protect against the creation of a national gun registry, while simultaneously authorizing the FBI and the NSA to gather records that could effectively create just such a registry.”
The brief concludes that, “if programs like those currently justified by the government’s interpretation are allowed to continue and grow unchecked, they could also–contrary to clear congressional intent–undo decades of legal protection for the privacy of Americans in general, and of gun owners in particular.”
Another brief was filed Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), the principal House sponsor of the Patriot Act, which contained the provision at issue. Commenting in a statement, Rep. Sensenbrenner also noted the possible effects on gun owners: “The NSA’s dragnet collection of data is a violation of Americans’ privacy rights and a misinterpretation of the law. Bulk data collection has frightening implications. The Administration believes every phone call that every American makes is relevant to terrorism investigations. Does it also believe every gun sale is relevant? The same flawed legal argument could be used to build a national gun database, violating our Second Amendment rights.”
Poll Finds Americans Skeptical of So-called Smart Guns
Smart Guns” is a made-up term for a conceptual firearm that incorporates technology that theoretically permits the gun to be fired only by the authorized user. Failed attempts to develop and market “smart guns” have been going on for years.
NRA does not oppose new technological developments in firearms; however, we are opposed to government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as grips that would read your fingerprints before the gun will fire. And NRA recognizes that the “smart guns” issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner’s agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology.
This week, the National Shooting Sports Foundation released the results of a poll, which showed, by a wide majority, that Americans are skeptical of the reliability of “smart gun” technology. The poll also revealed that Americans overwhelmingly say that they would not be likely to buy a so-called smart gun and would oppose any government mandate requiring the use of this technology should it become available.
NSSF reports that, when asked “How familiar are you with efforts to develop a firearm that will only fire for a specific authorized person(s)?”, only 20 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat familiar with the concept of “smart gun” technology. When told that such firearms would incorporate biometric or radio frequency identification (RFID) with an activation system that would rely on battery power, 74 percent of respondents said that these firearms would not be reliable at all, or not very reliable. An overwhelming percentage of gun owners (84%) believed a “smart gun” would not be reliable, while a majority (60%) of non-gun owners also believed a “smart gun” would not be reliable.
The survey further showed that, when asked the question, “How likely would you be to purchase a gun with smart gun technology that prevented it from firing except for specific authorized users?” a whopping 74 percent of respondents overall said that they would not buy, or would not very likely buy, such a firearm.
A strong majority (70%) of the survey sample also said they did not believe that government should mandate that all firearms produced incorporate “smart gun” technology, even if it were to become commercially available.
Gun Control Battle Brewing In Burlington – 10/22/2013
By: Taylor Dobbs, Vermont Public Radio
Burlington’s City Council Monday night heard public comments about proposed charter changes that would increase regulation of firearms in the city.
Contois Auditorium in Burlington’s City Hall was standing room only, and the city council opened the auditorium’s balcony for a one-hour public hearing on the proposed changes.
Four charter changes were at issue: The first would ban guns from any establishment with a liquor license; another would require police to seize firearms after domestic abuse incidents, a third requires “safe storage” of firearms, and the final change requires a permit for carrying concealed firearms.
The divide was clear, with gun control advocates wearing green T-shirts from GunSense Vermont, a gun control advocacy group. Gun rights advocates arrived in fluorescent orange hats and vests commonly worn by deer hunters. The gun rights activists passed out bright orange pamphlets that read “NO Burlington Gun Control.”
Many of the gun rights activists were mobilized by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, a group that lobbies to keep Vermont’s gun laws among the most relaxed in the nation.
Evan Hughes, the vice president of the group, said in an interview Monday that the proposed changes are in direct conflict with a Vermont state law that he calls the “Vermont Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights.”
The law states that, “Except as otherwise provided by law, no town, city, or incorporated village … shall directly regulate hunting, fishing and trapping or the possession, ownership, transportation, transfer, sale, purchase, carrying, licensing or registration of traps, firearms, ammunition or components of firearms or ammunition.” It also says, “The provisions of this section shall supersede any inconsistent provisions of a municipal charter.”
Based on that language, Hughes says, the city cannot legally regulate firearms.
Municipal charter changes have a long political journey. In order to go into effect, the city council must vote to put the change on the ballot and voters must approve it. Then, because charters are an agreement between the state government and municipal governments, the state legislature must approve the changes before they become official.
City Attorney Eileen Blackwood says the city’s charter change explicitly establishes an exemption to the law Hughes referenced, so if the legislature passes the change, the city will be on firm legal ground.
An assault weapons ban was not on Monday night’s agenda. While the charter change committee and Mayor Miro Weinberger pushed for an assault weapons ban earlier this year, the city backed away from the regulation. Weinberger said he pulled his support when it became clear that an assault weapons ban would be difficult to pass in Montpelier.
Weinberger announced in a statement Monday afternoon that he supports three of the four provisions. Weinberger said that “after careful consideration,” he opposes a permitting process for concealed carry and assault weapons ban “because I doubt the effectiveness of these measures and because these two particular reforms would create a patchwork of local regulation that would be problematic for responsible Vermont gun owners.”
History of The American Rifle
On an August afternoon in 1863, Christopher Spencer made his way to the White House with a rifle in hand.
The gun he was carrying, and which he had invented, was significantly different from traditional rifles of the time that could only be fired once before having to be reloaded. The new Spencer Repeating rifle could be loaded with seven cartridges in a tubular magazine and featured a lever under the trigger. When the lever was pushed down and then brought back up, the spent casing of the round that was fired was ejected and a new round was automatically fed into the chamber.
Upon arriving at the White House, Spencer, President Lincoln and a naval aide walked over to a small park near the Treasury Building where the aide set up a makeshift pine board target so that Lincoln could test the new rifle himself. Repeatedly hitting the target, Lincoln was impressed with the accuracy, rapid-fire and multi-shot capabilities of the Spencer and immediately recommended the rifle to the Army. Soon tens of thousands of Spencer rifles were being delivered to Union troops.
While the Spencer Repeating Arms Company founded after the war, lever-action rifles, notably those produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, became tremendously popular rifles among pioneers, hunters and homesteaders for the very same reasons they were popular among the troops in the Civil War. More compact, lighter, and easier to handle, they offered the owner quick and multiple shots before reloading.
One of President Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite hunting rifles was a Winchester lever-action Model 1895.
If the anti-gun movement had been active in the late 19th century, they may well have labeled such rapid-fire, high capacity magazine rifles as the “assault weapons” of their day. And it would have been as inaccurate then as it is today to label a civilian sporting rifle an “assault weapon.”
For well over a century, many of our most popular sporting rifles have directly evolved from a service rifle of a particular era. Battlefield requirements in a rifle such as accuracy, ruggedness, reliability and fast follow-up shots are features equally sought by hunters and target shooters.
The bolt-action centerfire rifle, for many decades America’s classic deer hunting rifle, is a descendent of the First World War battle rifle, the 1898 Mauser and the 1903 Springfield. The bolt-action of the Springfield offered smooth and rapid cycling of the action and allowed for the use of a more powerful cartridge, the .30/06, accurate at ranges out to 1000 yards. More than a hundred years later, the .30/06 remains as America’s most popular big game hunting cartridge.
The first semi-automatic (one shot per pull of the trigger) U.S. service rifle, the Springfield .30 M-1, popularly known as the Garand, saw service initially in the Second World War. Yet even before World War One Remington in 1906 was producting a semi-auto rifle, the model 8, for sporting use. Not long after WWII, a wide range of semi-automatic hunting rifles as well as semi-automatic shotguns were developed by sporting arms manufacturers and have gained widespread popularity among both hunters and clay target shooters long before the AR-15 came to town.
Today, the AR-15 looks like the M-16 service rifle that first saw combat in Vietnam. To be sure, the AR-15 does not look like a traditional sporting rifle. Neither, in their time, did the Spencer or the Springfield. What the AR-15 does look like is the latest iteration of a modern rifle that employs advanced technology and ergonomic design to produce an exceptionally reliable, rugged and accurate sporting rifle. Produced in different configurations and chambered in a variety of calibers, AR-type rifles not only can be used for, indeed are exceptionally well suited to, many types of hunting, precision target shooting as well as personal protection. In recent years, AR-type rifles have become among the most popular sporting rifles sold in the United States.
Unfortunately, some anti-gun organizations have worked hard to mislead the public by calling the civilian versions of service rifles, “assault weapons.” This anti-gun strategy is a clever ploy, much in the same way that prohibitionists labeled alcoholic beverages, “demon rum.” True “assault weapons” are in fact light machine guns capable of fully automatic fire. Machine guns of all types have been closely regulated for civilian ownership since 1934.
While AR-type rifles do look different, they function the same way as models of semi automatic rifles and shotguns (one shot per pull of the trigger) that have been in the sporting marketplace for many decades.
From the Kentucky rifle to the most modern sporting arm, accuracy has always been the hallmark of the American rifle. Accuracy should too be the hallmark of any firearms debate.
Orignal article from the NSSF Website
Congratulations to Nora Ortega for winning the Windham Weaponry AR-15 from the Idaho Narcotics Officers Association. Thanks to the INOA for having the raffle.
FactCheck.org has a great article on Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts that you should read
The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., has reignited a national debate on gun control. As elected leaders begin the dialogue, some facts are clear — there has been a massive increase in gun sales. Some things are not so clear — such as whether there is causation between more guns and more violent crimes. And some are contrary to the general impression — for example, the rate of gun murders is down, not up.
Gun Reviews by Gun Owners
This is our Gun Review page. These are actuall owner reviews done by YOU!. The idea is to give potential gun buyers the chance to read real gun reviews by that actuall owners. Here is how it works, You have to purchase the new or used gun from Expedition Firearms. Its easy just write a review of model you purchased and submit it to us via email. By submitting a gun review you will get a FREE Expedition Firearms T-Shirt (limit one shirt and entry per month) and be entered into a monthly drawing for stuff like ammo or accessories. If you are the FIRST to review that model you will also be entered into a yearly drawing for a free gun.
GunsAmerica.com Outright Lie
GunsAmerica.com recently sent out to subscribers an email titled “Are American Gun Owners Gutless?”(click here to see the entire email). In this email they talk about a petition attempt to get President Obama’s attention regarding firearm issues. It is email they claim “only 20,000 of you signed the petition. We understand your need for privacy, but the government already knows who you are. They scan in all of your 4473 forms!” The statement that the government scans all 4473′s is an OUTRIGHT LIE! Those of you who know us at Expedition Firearms, know we are brutally honest about guns and gun law. We do not send 4473′s to the federal, state or local government. In fact there are laws on the books that specifically prohibit any federal gun owner database,the law is titled “The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986″. Yes not everything in the FOPA of 1986 was liked by gun owners but the FOPA specifically states:
“No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or disposition be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.”
Yes, dealers must retain all the 4473′s for 20 years but they stay in binders in the back of the shop gathering dust until an ATF request for trace. The only time any 4473 information is sent to the government is during a firearm trace request from the ATF as a result of a gun being used in a crime. The ATF may also request the 4473 when someone is denied (not delayed) the purchase of a firearm, or when someone purchases more than one handgun in 5 days (these records by law are shredded every 180 days and we don’t even send them your 4473, just a summary report). Also when a dealer goes out of business they must send all the 4473′s for the past 20 years to the ATF records division for the purposes of firearms tracing in the above mentioned senario.
The fact that GunsAmerica would LIE in order to use fear to push their petition makes them no better than the anti-gun liberals that use lies and fear against the 2nd amendment. If we on the pro-gun side are truly righteous in our cause we need to be better than those in the anti-gun camp. We must use TRUTH, LOGIC, and EDUCATION in our fight and not LIES that can be used to damage our CHARACTER and thus invalidate our cause. I urge every one to contact GunsAmerica.com and let them know you don’t appreciate the LIES. I LOVE the 2nd Amendment and I know it is 100% nessisary to to Constitution and I BELIEVE in the idea GunsAmerica.com represents in their cause and I understand the temptation to use fear as it is a powerful motivator, but it is wrong non the less. We in the pro-gun camp are better than this and so is GunsAmerica.com, so lets prove it.
Adrian Alford, Owner Expedition Firearms