Statisticians Study Gun Control

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Anti-gun statisticians objectively study the data of gun control policy and report the results. Here are the results of three independent studies. Click to learn what they found

Connors on Combat

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Old West Marksmanship

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Despite popular myth, not everyone in possession of a firearm in the various American Western territories during the 19th century was an expert marksman. Just as today, many gun owners are novice marksmen and gun handlers. With greater access to information in the form of organized shooting events and competitions, and published educational resources such as books, videos, and other outlets, gun owners have more opportunities to learn than ever before. Contrast this to a person traveling along the frontier with no access to shooting clubs, libraries or book stores, or the Internet.

Marksmanship in the Old West with free historical book download, “How I Became a Crack Shot”. Click to read.

Congress adds new weapon to AWB list

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In a late session, Congress voted to expand the reach of H.R. 1808 (Assault Weapons Ban).

News video:

Article with full details:

Gun Owner Stats

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American Public Health Association and Gallup poll have a collection of recent stats on gun owners. Learn what Americans really think about firearm ownership.

Guns by Mail: Classic Firearm Ads

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Throwback advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s, including what guns Sears sold. Being before 1968, these items would be shipped directly to your door.

Click for a video compilation and photo gallery.

FFL and Gunsmith Stats

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Federal Firearms License Stats
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there were 2,653 special agents who served as personnel in 2020. Special agents are described by the ATF as “highly trained, elite law enforcement officers who investigate violations of federal laws and regulations related to the criminal misuse of firearms. They’re sworn law enforcement officers authorized to make arrests for federal offenses in the U.S. and remain involved throughout each stage of a criminal investigation. From the initial moment an FFL is found to be in violation of ATF compliance to the moment they’re convicted or acquitted, a special agent is present.

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Industry Operations Investigators work directly with FFLs to ensure they’re in compliance with current firearms regulations, both on the federal and state level. In 2020, there were a total of 760 IOIs that worked on ATF compliance inspection cases, traveling frequently to inspect business locations all over the country. Possessing a detailed knowledge of regulations, it’s their job to examine FFL’s records to make sure there’s no falsification of records or any activity linked to the criminal trafficking of firearms. There were significantly less IOIs than special agents in 2020, but it was still a sizable number.

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There were a total of 130,525 active licensees in 2020 with 52,795 dealers, 7,114 pawnbrokers, 52,729 collectors, 1,807 ammunition manufacturers, 14,126 firearms manufacturers, 1,136 importers, 127 Destructive Devices dealers, 422 Destructive Devices manufacturers, and 269 Destructive Devices importers. Dealers and collectors account for the largest percentage of FFLs at more than 80% between them, manufacturers of firearms are 10.8%, pawnbrokers at 5.5%.

In 2020, there were 8,025 total cases recommended for prosecution. Each case remains open for about four years so this was the total number regardless of their stage in the judicial process. The included 6,934 indicted cases, 5,181 convicted cases, and 1,639 criminal group and gang cases. Of the cases recommended for prosecution in prior years and the 2020 fiscal year, the ATF closed 6,251 of them.

In these cases, 10,012 total defendants were recommended for prosecution. 70,439 people in these 8,025 cases had prior arrests and 18,192 had prior convictions. So, based on ATF numbers, there’s a definite pattern where most defendants recommended for prosecution had prior criminal histories. Of the more than 10,000 defendants included in this data, there were more than 70,000 prior arrests and over 18,000 prior convictions between them. This averages out to 7 previous arrests and 1.8 prior convictions per defendant recommended for prosecution. So for most people, getting caught not adhering to ATF compliance isn’t an isolated incident in terms of getting into legal trouble. The average person has already been arrested 7 times and convicted nearly twice. Of those recommended for prosecution, most ended up being convicted at nearly 72%, which shows the majority of defendants are ultimately found guilty. However, only a small number received a life sentence at 0.0003% and 0.002% received a death sentence.
In 2020, the ATF performed 5,827 firearm compliance inspections. Based on the 130,525 active FFLs in America that year, only 4.5% were inspected. Of those, there were no violations in 3,277 (56.2%) inspections. Report of violations happened in 1,289 (22.1%) of the inspections with 804 (13.8%) receiving warning letters and 306 (5.3%) warning conferences. A license was surrendered in 96 (1.6%) of the inspections. This indicates that of the 41.2% of FFLs who weren’t fully compliant with firearms laws and regulations, the offense wasn’t severe enough to demand a serious action like surrendering their license, having it revoked/denied, or going out of business. Only a tiny percentage of FFLs encountered that level of reprimanding, with 1.6% having to surrender their license/go out of business and 0.7% having it revoked/denied.

Finally, the ATF conducted a total of 10,525 firearms applications inspections. Of those, 8,385 (79.6%) were approved and 237 (2.3%) were denied. The rest of the 1,903 (22.6%) applications were either abandoned or withdrawn. This shows that nearly 4 out of every 5 firearms applications that are inspected are ultimately approved and only a fraction are denied.

President Joe Biden’s Guns

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The guns used to protect the President.

Short, snarky version:

2022 “Black Friday” NICS Stats

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Report by NSSF: The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) completed 711,372 background checks for the purchase of a firearm at retail during the week leading up to and including Black Friday. FBI’s NICS recorded 192,749 background checks on Black Friday alone, ranking it third in the Top 10 Highest Days for NICS checks and a 2.8 percent increase from Black Friday 2021, when 187,585 background checks were completed. The NICS checks are unadjusted, representing raw data from the FBI and are inclusive of all background checks related to firearms.

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“Background checks for firearm purchases were already trending to make 2022 the third strongest year on record, coming off of the outsized years of 2020 and 2021,” explained Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “These figures tell us that there is a continued strong appetite for lawful firearm ownership by law-abiding Americans and that firearm manufacturers across the country continue to deliver the quality firearms our customers have come to expect.”

Annual background check data indicated that firearm sales will typically rise during the final month of the year coinciding with hunting seasons and holiday sales.

NICS check totals for the week:

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2022: 102,376

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2022: 57,665

Monday, Nov. 22, 2022: 103,543

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2022: 109,895

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2022: 116,033

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2022: 29,111

Friday, Nov. 26, 2022: 192,749

American Gun Owner Survey Results


Georgetown University conducted a large survey of 54,000 adults. Learn the true nature of American Gun Owners today.

An online survey conducted by Centiment was based on a representative sample of about 54,000 adults, 16,708 of whom were gun owners. Georgetown University political economist William English commissioned the survey as part of a book project and presented its major findings in a paper available on the Social Science Research Network.

Click to see the Key Findings

  • Overall adult gun ownership rate estimated by the survey of 32 percent is consistent with research by Gallup and the Pew Research Center. This rate varies across racial and ethnic groups: about 25 percent among African Americans, 28 percent among Hispanics, 19 percent among Asians, and 34 percent among whites. Men accounted for about 58 percent of gun owners. Gun ownership rates ranged from about 16 percent in Massachusetts and Hawaii to more than 50 percent in Idaho and West Virginia.
  • Americans own some 415 million firearms, including 171 million handguns, 146 million rifles, and 98 million shotguns.
  • About 30 percent of respondents reported that they had ever owned AR-15s or similar rifles. 48 percent reported having ever owned magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. The survey suggests that up to 44 million AR-15-style rifles and up to 542 million magazines with capacities exceeding 10 rounds are already in circulation.
  • Two-thirds of the respondents who reported owning AR-15-style rifles said they used them for recreational target shooting, half mentioned hunting, and a third mentioned competitive shooting. 62 percent said they used such rifles for home defense, and 35 percent cited defense outside the home.
  • Owners of magazines holding more than ten rounds cite recreational target shooting (64 percent) as the most common, followed by home defense (62 percent), hunting (47 percent), defense outside the home (42 percent), and competitive shooting (27 percent).
  • Thirty-one percent of the gun owners surveyed said they had used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on multiple occasions. As in previous research, the vast majority of such incidents (82 percent) did not involve firing a gun, let alone injuring or killing an attacker. In more than four-fifths of the cases, respondents reported that brandishing or mentioning a firearm was enough to eliminate the threat.
  • About half of the defensive gun uses identified by the survey involved more than one assailant. Four-fifths occurred inside the gun owner’s home or on his property, while 9 percent happened in a public place and 3 percent happened at work. The most commonly used firearms were handguns (66 percent), followed by shotguns (21 percent) and rifles (13 percent).
  • Based on the number of incidents that gun owners reported, guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year.

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