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krispos42's Journal
krispos42's Journal
January 4, 2022

35 years of gun sales, showing gun control's unintended consequences

Hello everybody,

I spent some time over the long holiday weekend updating this post from 2017 since we've gone through one presidential election since then.

So to keep things apples-to-apples, I've put these graphs together in a per-capita format. Sales numbers are per 1,000 people and homicide rates are per 100,000.

Just in case portions of this post trigger an alert, I'm going to post the relevant section of the 2020 platform of the Democratic Party:

Democrats will enact universal background checks, end online sales of guns and ammunition, close dangerous loopholes that currently allow stalkers, abusive partners, and some individuals convicted of assault or battery to buy and possess firearms, and adequately fund the federal background check system. We will close the “Charleston loophole” and prevent individuals who have been convicted of hate crimes from possessing firearms. Democrats will ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We will incentivize states to enact licensing requirements for owning firearms and extreme risk protection order laws that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from the possession of those who are a danger to themselves or others. We will pass legislation requiring that guns be safely stored in homes. And Democrats believe that gun companies should be held responsible for their products, just like any other business, and will prioritize repealing the law that shields gun manufacturers from civil liability.


And the party formally known as the Republican Party and is now just the Trump/Qanon Party:

The Second Amendment:
Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.

We salute the Republican Congress for defending the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the President from installing a new liberal majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.

We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban. We call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of guns to known violent criminals.


▼ First we have total gun sales per capita. It's pretty simple. The BATFE keep tracks of all the guns made by firearms makers (excluding, of course, guns made privately) as well as all firearms imports and exports. So by adding up all the guns made domestically and all the guns imported and then subtracting the exported guns, we can arrive at the total numbers. As you can see, sales of guns per capita have more than doubled since 1986. Note that gun sales went up about 25% from 2008 as the pro-gun-control candidate Obama beat McCain decisively. Sales slowed slightly as the economy cratered, then picked up as high-profile shootings and gun-control proposals made headlines even as the homicide rate continued to decline. In fact, 2013 was a record year for per-capita firearms sales, over twice the number of sales as 2008. Then in 2016, we sales jump by 25% from 2015 as the pro-gun-control candidate Clinton secures the Democratic primary and looks like a winner in the 2016 presidential election over Fat Donnie. An October Surprise from FBI director Comey throws the election to the Fanta Menace despite losing the popular vote by some 3 million. Gun sales declined as the pro-gun party secures the presidency and both houses of Congress, and fall even further as Donnie Two-Scoops and McConnell put a conservative justice in a seat stolen from Obama, then seat another justice after Kennedy. The GQP holds the Senate after the 2018 midterms, ensuring no threat of gun-control laws being passed, and sales continue to decline.

▼ Second, we have the same data but only for shotgun sales. As you can see, they remain largely flat on a per-capita basis. Shotguns are NOT where the action is.

▼ Third, we have the same date but only for rifles. We have a fairly large bump around 1991-1993; this was after California passed its own ban on "assault weapons", followed shortly by New Jersey and Connecticut. The Federal ban was passed in 1993 and took effect in 1994. Rifles fall back to "normal" levels, then start to climb again as the Dubya presidency comes to a close and Obama takes office. Again there's a bit of a cratering during the Great Recession, then proceed to double over 4 years. Sales remain fairly high until Clinton loses to Dolt45 in 2016, at which point, as previously mentioned, gun sales tumble as the prospect of gun-control laws fade into the distance.

▼ Fourth, we have a similar story with handguns. As states increasingly went to either permitless carry or went to shall-issue pistol permitting, sales increased. This graph is less affected by threats of bans on "assault weapons", as very few handguns are "assault weapons" and the demand for "assault weapon" handguns is virtually nil.

▼ Fifth, we have a chart with all three types of gun sales on it for comparison. Just for convenience.

▼ Sixth, we have the homicide rate with various methods of homicide. This is a little harder to parse, as there is an increasing percentage of "Firearm, type not stated" over time. I don't know why this is. But we can see the single biggest tool used in homicide is the handgun, while rifles (a percentage of which are "assault weapons" by one definition or another) kinds just bounces along near the bottom of the graph there, way below the dashed "non-firearm" line.

▼ Seventh, we have a simpler version of above. It's the total homicide rate, the firearm homicide rate, the non-firearm homicide rate, and the ratio of firearm to non-firearm homicides. As you can see, the firearm homicide rate continued to decline even after the Federal AWB expired in 2004.

▼ Eighth and finally, we have the per-capita sales as a ratio to 1986. Sales in 1986 are zero, and sales from 1987 to 2019 are expressed as a percentage above or below 1986. Doubling is a 100% increase, tripling is a 200% increase, etc. As you can see, handgun sales peaked at nearly 350% above 1986 levels, rifles climbed to 235%, and shotguns to 100%.

The number of guns sold in the United States from 1986 to 2019 is 236,425,288. That's right, over a quarter-billion guns were sold in the US in this 35-year period. 79,232,305 were imported and 166,598,230 made domestically.

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu May 4, 2006, 03:10 PM
Number of posts: 49,445
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