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Time For Gun Banners To Have Second Thoughts About Statistics

For years, "gun control" supporters have argued that an increased collection of statistics would enable them to make a convincing argument for more restrictions on the right to arms. Just the opposite is true.

Since 1991, the number of privately owned firearms in the United States has risen by about 70 million, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (Firearms Commerce in the United States 2001/2002). That includes about 30 million handguns and hundreds of thousands of semi-automatics mislabeled as "assault weapons," the two particular types of guns that gun prohibition groups want outlawed first.

Also since 1991, the number of states that have Right-To-Carry laws has risen from 17 to 36, and the share of the U.S. population that lives in RTC states has doubled from less than 30 percent to nearly 60 percent.

In other words: more gun owners, more guns, more RTC states, and more people carrying guns. And the effect on crime? According to the FBI, the nation's violent crime rate has decreased 12 straight years and is now at a 26-year low. Overall, between 1991-2002, the total violent crime rate dropped 35 percent, with each category of violent crime experiencing significant decreases: murder by 43 percent, rape by 22 percent, robbery by 47 percent and aggravated assault by 28 percent. Based upon National Crime Victimization Surveys, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports violent crime at an even more impressive 30-year low (Criminal Victimization, 2002).

Federal and state government studies and local police department reports have always shown that "assault weapons" have been used in too small a percentage of crime to have any bearing on total crime rates. And government studies show that most criminals get their guns illegally; not from Brady Act-regulated firearm dealers, but from personal acquaintances, black market transactions and theft.

And to make matters worse for gun prohibitionists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--once a reliable advocate of virtually any "gun control" scheme--recently reported that it could find no evidence that "gun control" has had any effect on crime trends in America.

All in all, if you're an anti-gunner these days, the numbers just don't add up.

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