Gun grabbers love statistics, especially when they’re misleading. The latest report from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) would have us believe that Americans are lined up at the recycling center ready to toss out their Glocks. The group claims that a firearm protected every other home in 1980 but only one out of three today. It’s a not-so-subtle attempt to convey the message that the anti-Second Amendment crowd is winning. “Despite the short-lived uptick in gun sales that occurred after the election of President Obama, the fact is that gun-free households are an increasing majority while gun-owning households are a shrinking minority,” said VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann in a statement Tuesday.
While Mr. Sugarmann is right to credit Mr. Obama as the greatest firearms salesman in world history, gun sales are not on the decline. For every $1 spent on ammunition, pistols, shotguns and rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) pockets between 10 and 11 cents. According to ATF’s books, the gun industry made over $1 billion in extra revenue thanks to the president’s 2009 inauguration - a 45 percent increase. Since then, prices have fallen, so tax receipts are down - but gun sales are not.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) keeps track of the number of background checks made when someone buys a gun. Although a check does not correlate directly with a sale - a single check could involve the purchase of multiple firearms, for example - the figure is a reliable indicator of trends. Last year’s 14.4 million checks represented an all-time high. In fact, the numbers have increased year after year since 2002, and there is no sign of slowing down. Checks are up 11 percent this year.
To meet the demand, gun factories are running overtime. From 2000 to 2009, the number of firearms manufactured and offered for sale in the United States increased 45 percent while the population only increased 9.1 percent. ATF reports 38,611,108 brand new guns were put on the market in the last decade, but even that figure tells only half the story. ATF estimates an additional 2 million used guns trade hands each year.
As the number of guns per capita increased, the violent crime rate has fallen - down 6.2 percent last year, according to the FBI. With murders down, the left had to come up with a way to pretend there are fewer guns. Otherwise, the public might draw the obvious conclusion that the repeal of useless gun-control restrictions like the so-called assault-weapons ban has only made us safer. National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesman Andrew Arulanandam suggested groups like the VPC have been feeling left out as gun rights continue to advance in state legislatures and the courts. “The political reality in this country is that it’s bad politics to be on the wrong side of the gun issue,” he told The Washington Times. “The NRA is the mainstream, and these other groups are the fringe and they find themselves on the outside looking in.”
Last year, more than 70,000 attended the NRA’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. Even more are likely to show up at the group’s gathering in Pittsburgh that opens Friday. Despite the left’s best efforts to imagine differently, attendees who revere the Second Amendment have even more to celebrate this year.