Congressional Study: Gun Ownership Drastically Up Since ’94, Murder Rate Cut in Half

December 4 2013
by GSL Staff
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This Congressional study should, at minimum, put to rest the claims that more guns in private hands will create more violent crime.

According to a new study, commissioned by Congress, the murder rate in the US has fallen from 9.5 per 100,000 in 1993 to 4.7 per 100,000 in 2011. Homicides involving firearms dropped from 6.6 per 100,000 to 3.2 per 100,000. It should also be noted that following the expiration of the federal “assault weapons” ban in 2004, the homicide rate continued to decline, on average. See chart below.

chart1

During this same time period, the number of guns owned by US citizens soared from 192 million to 310 million (and that’s not taking into account the massive sales years the firearms industry had in 2012 and 2013).

Here are the details from the report (Page 8),

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) reported in a national survey that in 1994, 44 million people, approximately 35% of households, owned 192 million firearms, 65 million of which were handguns. Seventy-four percent of those individuals were reported to own more than one firearm. According to the ATF, by the end of 1996 approximately 242 million firearms were available for sale to or were possessed by civilians in the United States. That total includes roughly 72 million handguns (mostly pistols, revolvers, and derringers), 76 million rifles, and 64 million shotguns. By 2000, the number of firearms had increased to approximately 259 million: 92 million handguns, 92 million rifles, and 75 million shotguns.29 By 2007, the number of firearms had increased to approximately 294 million: 106 million handguns, 105 million rifles, and 83 million shotguns.

In the past, most guns available for sale were produced domestically. In recent years, 1 million to 2 million handguns were manufactured each year, along with 1 million to 1.5 million rifles and fewer than 1 million shotguns. From 2001 through 2007, however, handgun imports nearly doubled, from 711,000 to nearly 1.4 million.

By 2009, nearly 2.2 million handguns were imported into the United States. From 2001 through 2007, rifle imports increased from 228,000 to 632,000, and shotgun imports increased from 428,000 to 726,000. By 2009, rifle imports had increased to 864,000, but shotguns had decreased 559,000. By the same year, 2009, the estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the United States had increased to approximately 310 million: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns.

This is just one of several, recent studies that shows no correlation between gun ownership and homicide rates.

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