Firearms Facts

Provided by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action - NRA-ILA


GENERAL NUMBER OF Approx. 200 million firearms, GUNS IN U.S.:
including 65-70 million handguns GUN OWNERS IN U.S.: 60-65 million,
30-35 million own handguns

FIREARMS USED 11% of firearms owners FOR PROTECTION: 13% of
handgun owners

CRIMINAL MISUSE OF Less than 0.2% of firearms, FIREARMS YEARLY:
Less than 0.4% of handguns Over 99.8% of U.S. firearms and 99.6% of U.S.
handguns will not be involved in criminal activity in any given year. NRA
voluntary firearm safety programs have helped reduce the accidental
firearm fatality rate 67% over the last 50 years, while firearms ownership
has risen 140%, and handgun ownership has risen 200%.

WHY AMERICANS OWN FIREARMS (Based on 1978 Decision Making
Information surveys, with handgun data confirmed by 1978 Caddell
survey.) Primary Reasons to Own/Use Firearms, Projected Number of
Americans (Approx. 60-65 million owners of 200,000,000 or more

HUNTING: 51% 33,000,000 Americans
PROTECTION: 32% 21,000,000 " Used Gun for Protection: 11% 7,000,000
TARGET SHOOTING: 13% 8,500,000 "
COLLECTING: 4% 2,600.000 "

Primary Reasons to Own/Use Handguns Projected Number of Americans
(30-35 million owners of 65,000,000 handguns)

HUNTING: 10% 3,500,000 Americans
PROTECTION: 58% 21,000,000 " Used Gun For Protection: 13% 4,600,666
TARGET SHOOTING: 18% 6,300,000 "
COLLECTING: 14% 5,000,000 "

FIREARMS AND SELF-DEFENSE Survey research indicates that there are
more than 2.1 million protective uses of firearms each year, far more than
the number of violent criminal gun uses reported by the FBI. Most
self-defense uses do not involve discharge of a firearm. In only 0.1% of
defensive gun uses is a criminal killed, and in only 1% is a criminal
wounded. A Department of Justice-sponsored survey found that 40% of
felons had chosen not to commit at least one specific crime for fear their
victims were armed, and 34% admitted being scared off or shot at by
armed victims. U. S. Department of Justice victimization surveys show that
the protective use of a firearm lessens the chance that a rape, robbery or
assault attempt will be successfully completed and also reduces the
chance of injury to the intended victim.

CITIZENS TO CARRY FIREARMS States with favorable concealed carry
laws have lower rates of crime than states with restrictive concealed carry
laws. Overall, the homicide rate for states with favorable carry laws is 31%
lower, and the robbery rate is 36% lower, than for states with restrictive
concealed carry laws. States which have recently changed their laws
have experienced reductions in homicide rates. Since 1987, when Florida
enacted a favorable CCW law, its homicide rate has dropped 22%, even
while the national rate has risen 15%. Only .007% of Florida CCW permits
have been revoked because of a crime after licensure.

conducted by national polling firms frequently use biased questions and
also limit the responses of those questioned. A Luntz Weber Research &
Strategic Services poll reflects an accurate view of public opinion, using
open ended questions which allow respondents to express their real
opinions, rather than be directed toward a desired result. When given the
opportunity to freely express themselves, Americans reveal that they do
not believe that "gun control" is effective at fighting crime; they prefer
criminal justice reform, stiffer penalties, better enforcement and solutions
aimed at the core causes of crime. Some of the significant findings of the
Luntz Weber survey are: Which of the following proposals do you believe
would be more likely to reduce the number of violent crimes? Mandatory
Prison 70% More Gun Control 25% What do you think is the most important
cause of violent crime in the United States today? Drugs/Alcohol 36%
Breakdown of Family Values 13% Poverty 8% Guns 8% Judicial System 5%
In your opinion, what do you think is the single most important thing that
can be done to help reduce violent crime in the United States today?
Preventative programs 30% Prosecution/Penalties 20% Stronger Values
16% Better Enforcement 16% Gun Control 9% Other than for the police and
military, all guns should be outlawed. Total Disagree 78% Total Agree
21% Strongly 58% Strongly 14% Somewhat 20% Somewhat 7% 12

LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH IN U.S. National Center for Health
Statistics (latest data)

ALL CAUSES 2,169,518
Heart Disease 720,862
Cancers 514,657
Strokes 143,481
Motor Vehicle 43,536
Falls 12,662
Poisoning (solid, liquid, gas) 6,434
Drowning (incl. water transport drownings) 4,685
Suffocation (mechanical, ingestion) 4,195
Fires and flames 4,120
Surgical/Medical misadventures* 2,473
Other Transportation (excl. drownings) 2,086
Natural/Environmental factors 1,453
Firearms 1,441
Chronic pulmonary diseases 90,650
Pneumonia and influenza 77,860
Diabetes 48,951
Suicide** 30,810
HIV Infections (AIDS) 29,555
Homicide and legal intervention*** 26,513
Cirrhosis and other liver diseases 25,429

* A Harvard University study suggests 93,000 deaths annually related to
medical negligence, excluding tens of thousands more deaths from non-
hospital medical office/lab mistakes and thousands of hospital caused
** Approximately 60% involve firearms.
*** Approximately 60% involve firearms. Florida State University
criminologist Gary Kleck estimates 1,500-2,800 self-defense and
justifiable homicides by civilians and 300-600 by police annually.

incarcerate violent criminals. In 1960, 738 criminals were sent to prison
for every 1,000 violent crimes, but by 1980, the number of criminals sent
to prison per 1,000 violent crimes dropped to 227, and the crime rate
tripled. Over 60,000 criminals convicted of violent crime every year _
murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault _ are not sent to prison. Of
America's 4.3 million convicted criminals, only 26% are in prison. The
remaining 74% are serving "sentences" of parole or probation, free on the
streets. Since lower incarceration rates are mostly due to prison
overcrowding, CrimeStrike lobbied successfully to increase prison
capacity in Texas, Mississippi, Virginia and nearly tripled the funds
allocated for state prison construction in the 1994 Federal Crime Bill.
Criminals who are incarcerated are freed too early, serving on average
only one-third of their sentences. The average time served is: for murder,
7.7 years; rape, 4.6 years; robbery 3.3 years; and aggravated assault,1.9
years. Every day in America, 14 people will be murdered, 48 women
raped and 578 robbed by convicted criminals on parole or early release
from prison. CrimeStrike helped win passage of Truth-In-Sentencing laws
in Arizona, Mississippi and Virginia, preventing early release by requiring
violent criminals to serve 85% of their sentences. Additionally, CrimeStrike
blocked the paroles of individual murderers in Arkansas, Kansas,
Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and West
Virginia. Juvenile crime has reached crisis proportions: Between 1980 and
1990, the number of juveniles arrested for heroin/cocaine rose 713%.
Over the last five years, juvenile gang killings increased 208%. Yet only
1.5% of juvenile offenders were sent to adult or criminal court in 1991
and, of those, 85.3% were not sent to prison. CrimeStrike helped win
passage of juvenile justice reform in Arkansas and Mississippi, requiring
violent juvenile criminals who do "adult crime" to serve "adult time." Crime
victims, or their survivors, are often treated as mere witnesses in court,
unfairly barred from participating in the criminal justice process in any
way. CrimeStrike worked for passage of Victims' Bill of Rights proposals
in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri and New
Mexico. Repeat offenders are a serious threat to public safety. The
average criminal commits 187-287 crimes a year, resulting in over six
million people becoming victims of violent crime _ murder, rape, robbery
or aggravated assault _ every year. CrimeStrike was instrumental in
helping Washington State Initiative 593, the nation's first "Three Strike,
You're Out" law, qualify for the ballot and then win passage by the largest
margin in state history. CrimeStrike also provided grassroots support for
the California "Three Strikes" law, which also won at the polls.

studying the firearms issue reject simple comparisons of violent crime
among foreign countries. (James D. Wright, et. al ., Under the Gun, 1983)
"Gun control does not deserve credit for the low crime rates in Britain,
Japan, or other nations.... Foreign style gun control is doomed to failure in
America; not only does it depend on search and seizure too intrusive for
American standards, it postulates an authoritarian philosophy of
government fundamentally at odds with the individual, egalitarian . . .
American ethos." (David Kopel, "Foreign Gun Control in American Eyes,"

* Gun laws and firearms availability are unrelated to homicide or suicide
rates. Most states bordering Canada have homicide rates similar to their
northern neighbors, despite much higher rates of firearms availability.
While the American homicide rate is higher than most European nations,
and firearms are frequently involved in American homicides, America's
violent crime rates are even higher for crimes where guns are less often
(robbery) or infrequently (rape) involved. The difference is violence, not
firearms, and America's system of revolving door justice.

* England now has twice as many homicides with firearms as it did
before adopting its repressive laws, yet its politicians have responded to
rising crime by further restricting rifles and shotguns. During the past
dozen years, handgun-related robbery has risen 200% in Britain, five times
as fast as the rise in the U.S.

* Japan's low homicide rate is accompanied by a suicide rate much
higher than that of the United States, despite Japan's virtual gun ban. And
Japan's low crime rate is attributable to police-state type law enforcement
which would be opposed by Americans.

* Anti-gunners' comparisons of homicide in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.,
ignore the fact that non-Hispanic whites have a lower homicide rate in
Seattle than in Vancouver, and that Vancouver's homicide rate, and
handgun use in homicide, did not go down following Canada's adoption
of a "tough" gun law.


* In a deliberate effort to have public policy made by deception, anti-
gunners invented the "assault weapon" issue, noting that the public could
not readily distinguish full-auto firearms _ sharply restricted by federal
law since 1934 _ from semi-auto firearms. No legally-owned full auto
firearm has ever been used in a violent crime by a civilian. Semi-autos are
very difficult to convert to full auto and such conversion is a federal
felony. Semi-autos which are "easy to convert" are not approved by the
BATF for sale to the public.

* Data from states and big cities show that military look-alikes constitute
0-3% of guns used in crime and constitute only 1.5% of guns seized by
police. Rifles, including semi-autos, are involved in only 3% of homicides.

* BATF traces tell nothing about the types of guns used by criminals,
since only 1% of guns used in violent crimes are traced, and even that 1%
is not randomly selected.(Congressional Research Service)

* Anti-gunners' hypocrisy: Claiming that handguns are not protected by
the Second Amendment because they have no militia purpose, they
support banning rifles and shotguns which do. Their ultimate goal is total
gun prohibition.

NOTABLE GUN LAW FAILURES Since enacting a virtual handgun ban in
1976, Washington, D.C.'s murder rate has risen 200%, with a 300% rise in
handgun-related homicide, as handgun use went from less than 60% of
killings to 83%. No gun law in any city, state or nation has ever reduced
violent crime, or slowed its rate of growth, compared to similar
jurisdictions. With less than 3% of the U.S. population, New York City
annually accounts for more than one-eighth of the nation's handgun-
related homicides. Since it became a felony to go outside the city to
evade its virtual handgun ban, the homicide rate in N.Y.C has risen three
times faster than the rest of the country's. Gun rationing schemes have
failed miserably. In 1975, South Carolina limited handgun sales to
individuals to one per month. Since then, South Carolina's violent crime
rate has skyrocketed over 100%.


"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Like all rights protected by the Bill of Rights, the right to keep and bear
arms is individually possessed by the American people. The recent
concept of a "collective right" is fraudulent because the Framers
understood the concept of a "right" to apply only to individuals and used
the word "states" when collective meanings were intended.

* In 1990, the Supreme Court observed in U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, that
the right to keep and bear arms, like rights protected by the First, Fourth,
Ninth, and Tenth Amendments, is an individual right held by "the people,"
which the court defined as all "persons who are a part of a national

* The National Guard, established in 1903 and subject to federal control,
could not have been the type of body envisioned by the framers, even if
the goal were to protect only an organized state militia. Under federal
law, the militia consists of all able-bodied males of an age to serve, and
some females and older men. (10 U.S.C. .311 and 32 U.S.C. .313)

* All five relevant Supreme Court decisions have recognized that the
Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.
No Supreme Court decision has ever held this right to be "collective."
Lower federal courts have been divided on the question.

NRA Institute for Legislative Action
11250 Waples Mill Road Fairfax,
Virginia 22030 NL00890 Rev.

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