|Note: This listing of facts is derived from over 200 hours of research and analysis of more than 100 articles, documents, and books. Every statistic from a given year was chosen based on availability, and not to slant the results by singling out a specific year that was different from others. Especially when dealing with statistics, the determination of what constitutes a credible fact and what does not, can contain elements of personal subjectivity. It is our mission to minimize subjective information and to provide highly factual content. Therefore, we are taking the additional step of giving our readers a tool to determine for themselves the viability of our work. To that end, we have provided four examples to illustrate the type of material that was excluded because it did not meet Just Facts' Standards of Credibility.
OWNERSHIP* Private Firearm Ownership in the U.S. as of 1997
||# of Guns
||# of Owners
* The National Rifle Association is the largest gun rights lobbying organization in the United States. From 1997 through 1998, their political action committee gave $1,330,111 to Republicans and $285,700 to Democrats. (10)
* Handgun Control, Inc. is the largest gun control lobbying organization in the United States. From 1997 through 1998, their political action committee gave $136,892 to Democrats and $9,500 to Republicans. (11)
FIREARM USE IN CRIME AND SELF DEFENSE
* In the United States during 1997, people committed 15,289 murders. The perpetrators used a firearm in 10,369 of these instances. (2)
* In the United States during 1997, people committed about 7,927,000 violent crimes. The perpetrators used a firearm in about 691,000 of these instances. (12)
* As of 1992, for about every 14 violent crimes (murder, rape, etc...) committed in the United States, one person is sentenced to prison. (62)
* As of 1992, average length of imprisonment for:
* In the early/mid 1990's, criminals on parole or early release from prison committed about 5,000 murders, 17,000 rapes, and 200,000 robberies a year. (3)
* Americans use firearms to defend themselves from criminals about 760,000 times a year. This figure is the lowest among a group of 15 nationwide polls done by organizations including Gallup and the Los Angeles Times. (7)
* Approximately 11% of gun owners and 13% of handgun owners have used their firearms for protection from criminals. (3)
* When citizens use guns for protection from criminals, the criminal is wounded in about 1 out of every 100 instances, and the criminal is killed in about 1 out of every 1000 instances. (3)
* Washington D.C. enacted a virtual ban on handguns in 1976. Between 1976 and 1991, Washington D.C.'s homicide rate rose 200%, while the U.S. rate rose 12%. (1)
* Right-to-carry laws require law enforcement agencies to issue handgun permits to all qualified applicants. Qualifications include criteria such as age, a clean criminal record, and completing a firearm safety course. (13)
* In 1986, nine states had right-to-carry laws. (14)
* As of 1998, 31 states have right-to-carry laws, and about half the U.S. population lives in these states. (3)
* In 1996, Dr. John R. Lott of the University of Chicago Law School published the results of a crime study conducted using FBI data for all 3,045 U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992. (15)
* The study sought to answer the question, "What happens to crime when states adopt right-to-carry laws?" (15)
* Between 1977 and 1992, 10 states adopted right-to-carry laws. Dr. Lott's study found that the implementation of these laws created:
-- no change in suicide rates,* Using 1995 numbers, this amounts to:
-- a .5% rise in accidental firearm deaths,
-- a 5% decline in rapes,
-- a 7% decline in aggravated assaults,
-- and an 8% decline in murder
for the 10 states that adopted these laws between 1977 and 1992. (7)
-- 1 more accidental gun death,
-- 316 less murders,
-- 939 less rapes,
-- and 14,702 less aggravated assaults
in these 10 states annually. (16)
For facts regarding the methodology of Lott's study, criticisms of Lott, and criticisms of his study, click here.
* Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. At the time the law was passed, critics predicted increases in violence. The founder of the National Organization of Women, Betty Friedan stated:
* When the law went into effect, the Dade County Police began a program to record all arrest and non arrest incidents involving concealed carry licensees. Between September of 1987 and August of 1992, Dade County recorded 4 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. None of these crimes resulted in an injury. The record keeping program was abandoned in 1992 because there were not enough incidents to justify tracking them. (13)(15)
|"lethal violence, even in self defense, only engenders more violence." (13)
* Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. Between 1987 and 1996, these changes occurred:
|firearm homicide rate
|handgun homicide rate
* 221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida recorded 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. (15)
* As of 1998, nationwide, there has been 1 recorded incident in which a permit holder shot someone following a traffic accident. The permit holder was not charged, as the grand jury ruled the shooting was in self defense. (7)
* As of 1998, no permit holder has ever shot a police officer. There have been several cases in which a permit holder has protected an officer's life. (7)
* The Brady Bill was implemented on February 28, 1994. This law established a national 5 business day waiting period on handgun purchases through licensed dealers. It also required local authorities to conduct background checks on handgun purchasers. The majority of Democrats voted for this bill and the majority of Republicans voted against it. Bill Clinton signed it into law. (18)(19)
* In July of 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to require states to perform Brady Bill background checks. At that point, 27 states had laws requiring similar background checks and 23 states did not. (20)
* As of December of 1998, an amendment to the Brady Bill replaced the five business day waiting period with a national "instant" felon ID system. Dealers are required to conduct this background check on all gun purchases, not just handgun purchases. This amendment was added to the Brady Bill before the law was voted out of Congress. The majority of Republicans voted for this amendment and the majority of Democrats voted against it. (18)(19)
* John Lott's crime study found mixed results regarding the adoption of waiting periods. The data showed no overall beneficial effect on violent crime rates. There are instances where enraged people buy a gun and quickly proceed to commit a crime with it. There are also instances where people attempt to purchase a gun for self protection because they have been threatened, and are murdered during a waiting period. (7)
* During the first 17 months of the Brady Bill, 7 people were convicted of illegal attempts to buy handguns. (17)
* Between implementation of the Brady Bill in March 1994 and year end 1997, there have been 242,000 background checks that have denied prospective purchasers permission to buy a handgun from licensed gun dealers. Out of these, 9 people have been convicted of illegal attempts to buy handguns. (21)(22)
* In the early 1990's, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reported that 7% of armed career criminals obtain firearms from licensed gun shops. (3)
* The Brady Bill was implemented in February of 1994. In 1997, the number of violent crimes committed with firearms had fallen 25% since 1994, while the overall number of violent crimes had declined 14%. (18)(23)
* The "Assault Weapons Ban" was enacted on September 14, 1994. The majority of Democrats voted for it, and the majority of Republicans voted against it. Bill Clinton signed it into law. (24)(19)
* This bill banned the manufacture, possession, and importation of semiautomatic assault weapons for civilian use. Guns manufactured before September 14th, 1994 were grandfathered. Guns manufactured after this date (for use by the military, police, and government agencies) must be marked with the date they are manufactured. (24)(41)(47)
* To identify an assault weapon, this bill uses objective criteria, along with a list of 19 specific guns. (24)
* For example, semiautomatic rifles which accept a detachable magazine are classified as "assault weapons" if they have two of the five following features: folding stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, grenade launcher, threaded barrel for flash suppressor. (24)
* An assault weapon, as defined by this bill, does not include fully automatic machine guns. Since 1934, a civilian must obtain permission from the U.S. Treasury to legally own a fully automatic weapon. (3)(64)
* In April of 1999, Bill and Hillary Clinton held a press conference on gun control legislation. Hillary Clinton stated:
* Assault weapons were involved in less than 1% of homicides before the assault weapons ban took effect in 1994. The same is true as of 1998. (3)
|"And since the crime bill was enacted, 19 of the deadliest assault weapons are harder to find on our streets. We will never know how many tragedies we've avoided because of these efforts." (25)
* As of 1998, about 13% of homicides involve knives, 5% involve bludgeons, and 6% are committed with hands and feet. (3)
* The Clinton administration prosecuted 4 people in 1997 and 4 people in 1998 for violating the assault weapons ban. (22)
ARMOR PIERCING BULLETS
* In an October of 1996 campaign stop, Bill Clinton met with the widow of Police Officer Jerome Harrison Seaberry. Later at a political rally, Bill Clinton cited Officer Seaberry's death as a reason to outlaw armor piercing bullets. (7)
* Officer Seaberry died in a car crash. No guns or bullets were involved. (7)
* Armor piercing bullets have been referred to in the media as "cop killers." (37)
* As of 1998, no law enforcement officer has ever been killed because an armor-piercing bullet defeated a bulletproof vest. (3)
* Federal law 18 USC Section 922 generally prohibits anyone under 18 from possessing a handgun. It also prohibits licensed firearm dealers and collectors from selling handguns to anyone under 21 years of age. (41)
* In 1998, an interview was done with children at a Los Angeles youth home that provides mentoring, support, work, and protection from gangs for over 2,000 children. When asked about the availability of guns on the street, the response was laughter. A child who had joined the home after spending a year in jail for robbery stated:
* Laws in the United States generally prohibit the sale, possession, or use of cocaine. About 200,000 American children, age 12-17 used cocaine in 1997. About 2.5 million 12-17 year olds (11.4%) used an illicit drug in 1997.(37)(43)
|"You can buy a handgun anywhere on the street for $40, or they give it to you for free if you tell your gang you're on your way to shoot someone." (42)
* Seven days after the 1999 Littleton, Colorado school massacre, Bill and Hillary Clinton held a press conference on gun control legislation. Bill Clinton stated:
* In about 5 years since enactment of the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons Ban in 1993, there have been 9 "school massacres." (53)
|"And we smile about that, but there are some people who would be on this platform today who lost their seats in 1994 because they voted for the Brady Bill and they voted for the assault weapons ban, and they did it in areas where people could be frightened."
|"Do we know for absolutely certain that if we had every reasonable law and the ones I'm going to propose here that none of these school violence things would have happened? No. But we do know one thing for certain; we know there would have been fewer of them, and there would have been fewer kids killed in the last several years in America. We know that for certain. We know that." (Applause)(25)
* Federal law 18USC Section 922 generally prohibits civilians from having guns in school zones. (41)(51)
* About 6,000 children were caught with guns at school in 1997 and 1998. Out of these, 13 were federally prosecuted. (52)
* In Boston, the one city as of 1997 that has collected reliable data regarding the previous arraignments of juvenile murderers, 77% of juveniles who murdered other juveniles had prior criminal arraignments. The average perpetrator had 9.7 arraignments. (7)
* In the 1997 Pearl, Mississippi school massacre, sixteen year old Luke Woodham stabbed his mother to death and then proceeded to school where he shot 9 students, killing 2 of them. An assistant principal using a gun stopped Woodham. The assistant principal kept the gun locked in his car outside the school zone and ran to his car to obtain the gun. The assistant principal controlled Woodham for four and a half minutes before the police arrived. (51)(53)
* John Lott's crime study found that states which adopted concealed carry laws saw an 84% decrease in the number of multiple victim public shootings, resulting in a 90% decline in deaths arising from such instances. (51)
* 1995 Fatal Accident Totals
* For Children 14 and Under
||1,400 (1.5% of fatal accidents)
* There were 259 fatal firearm accidents for 15-19 year olds in 1995. (8)
||181 (2.7% of fatal accidents)
* There were 6,319 fatal motor vehicle accidents for 15-20 year olds in 1996. (9)
* As of 1998, 37,000 National Rifle Association (NRA) Instructors and Coaches are conducting firearm safety and proficiency programs that reach nearly 700,000 participants a year. (8)
* In 1988, The NRA developed a gun safety program for schoolchildren (pre-K through 6th grade). As of 1998, the program has reached about 10 million children. The goal of the program is to teach children what to do if they should encounter a firearm. Children are taught to "STOP! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult." (8)
* The NRA's 3 rules of gun safety are:
1) Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction (whether loaded or unloaded)
2) Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3) Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to shoot.(8)
* In the Bill of Rights, the second amendment to the Constitution reads:
* Gun control proponents have argued that the use of the word "people" in this Amendment, refers not to the civilian population of the United States, but to the State National Guard Units. (54)
|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.
* Gun rights proponents have argued that the use of the word "Militia" in this Amendment, refers not to the State National Guard Units, but to the citizens of the United States. (54)
* James Madison was responsible for proposing the Second Amendment and was one of three authors of the Federalist papers. The Federalist Papers were published in newspapers to explain, argue for, and support ratification of the Constitution. (55)(56)
* In Federalist Paper 46, James Madison argued that a standing federal army could not be capable of conducting a coup to take over the nation. He estimated that based on the country's population at the time, a federal standing army could not field more than 25,000 - 30,000 men. He wrote:
* Quotes from Thomas Jefferson, the author of The Declaration of Independence:
|"To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence."
|"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (56)
--Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787.
|"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
--Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785.
|"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks."
--Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. (57)(58)(59)
|"The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves in all cases to which they think themselves competent (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved), or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press."
Gun Control References
- "TEN MYTHS ABOUT GUN CONTROL." Viewed in January of 1999 on the National Rifle Association web site, www.nra.org
- "1997 Uniform Crime Reports." Federal Bureau of Investigation. Table 2.11
- "1998 NRA Fact Card." Viewed in January of 1999 on the National Rifle Association web site, www.nra.org
- "1995 Firearms Deaths." Viewed in January of 1999 on the Handgun Control, Inc. web site, www.handguncontrol.org
- Independent calculations performed with 1996 data from:
- "Suicide in Japan : Present State and Future Directions for Prevention." Transcultural Psychiatry, Volume 35 Issue 2, June 1998.
- "U.S.A. SUICIDE: 1996 OFFICIAL FINAL DATA." Prepared for the American Association of Suicidology by John L. McIntosh, PhD., 11/22/98.
- Austin, Lana Kim White. "Heston stresses firearm safety, appreciation." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, December 15-21, 1997.
- Lott, John R. Jr. More Guns, Less Crime. The University of Chicago Press, 1998. Pages 1, 11, 43
- "ILA Research & Information Division Fact Sheet." National Rifle Association of America - Institute for Legislative Action - Research & Information Division, 3/1/98. Source Cited: The National Center for Health Statistics.
- Cory, Lindsey V. "Graduate licensing: Life in the slow lane for teens?" Washington Times National Weekly Edition, July 20-26, 1998.
- "Gun Rights PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates, 1997-1998." Viewed in February of 1999 on the Center For Responsive Politics web site, www.crp.org
- "Gun Control PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates, 1997-1998." Viewed in February of 1999 on the Center For Responsive Politics web site, www.crp.org
- Calculations performed with data from:
a) "1997 Uniform Crime Reports." Federal Bureau of Investigation. Table 2.11.
b) "National Crime Victimization Survey - Criminal Victimization in the United States, 1997 Statistical Tables." United States Department of Justice. Table 66.
- Editorial. "The case of the outgunned thug." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, January 5-11, 1998.
- "Less Crime in Concealed Weapons States." Fact-O-Rama. Conservative News Service, 11/24/98.
- Lott, John R. Jr. and Mustard, David B. "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns." University of Chicago School of Law, 7/26/96.
- Independent Calculations performed with 1995 data from:
- Lott, John R. Jr. More Guns, Less Crime. The University of Chicago Press, 1998.
- "Accident Facts." Page 27. National Safety Council, 1998.
- "1995 Uniform Crime Reports." Pages 68-78. Federal Bureau of Investigation
- "1997 NRA Fact Card." Viewed in January of 1999 on the National Rifle Association web site, www.nra.org. Sources Cited: Federal Bureau of Investigation, General Accounting Office.
- "Summary of the Brady Law." Viewed in January of 1999 on the Handgun Control, Inc. web site, www.handguncontrol.org
- Project Vote Smart. Viewed in January of 1999 on the Project Vote-Smart web site, www.vote-smart.org
- Benshoff, Anastasia. "Brady Law Parts Struck Down." ABCNEWS.com, 1997.
- "Presale Handgun Checks, 1997." U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, July 2, 1998.
- Heston, Charlton. "Truth and Consequences." 1999.
- "Year-End Crime Statistics Show Gun Laws Work, Says Sarah Brady." Handgun Control, Inc., January 4, 1999. Source Cited: "1997 Uniform Crime Reports." Federal Bureau of Investigation
- "Summary Of The Firearms Provisions Of The Violent Crime Control And Law Enforcement Act Of 1994." Viewed in January of 1999 on the Handgun Control, Inc. web site, www.handguncontrol.org
- "Remarks By the President And The First Lady On Gun Control Legislation." The White House, April 27, 1999.
- Editorial. "When in doubt, blame the gun." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, April 19, 1998.
- Phinney, David. "Mixing Business with Weapons." ABCNEWS.com, 1998.
- "Campaign Funds Investigator Targeted." Associated Press, March 23, 1997.
- Scarborough, Rowan. "Key senator now backs banning Cosco from Naval base. Washington Times National Weekly Edition, October 6-12, 1997.
- "Convicts / Sleazy Characters Meet Clinton & Gore." Republican National Committee, 1997. Sources Cited: The Detroit News, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times.
- "Investigation on Illegal or Improper Activities in Connection With The 1996 Federal Election Campaigns." Majority Report, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. United States Senate, March 5, 1998.
- "Cyberalert." Media Research Center, May 20, 1999. Source cited: Investor's Business Daily.
- "Individual Donors Name Search: Caudle-Green." Center For Responsive Politics, February, 26, 1999.
- Grigg, William Norman. "The Price of Admission." The New American, November 10, 1997.
- "About the Center." Center For Responsive Politics. Viewed in February, 1999 on the Center For Responsive Politics' web site, www.crp.org.
- "Individual Donors Name Search: Green, Ernest." Center For Responsive Politics, February, 26, 1999.
- Known facts not in dispute:
- "The campaign finance investigation is being run by the Justice Department.
- "Bill Clinton appointed Janet Reno as Attorney General.
- "Bill Clinton appointed Louis Freeh as head of the FBI.
- "Armor piercing bullets referred to as "cop killers."
- "Laws in the U.S. generally prohibit cocaine.
- Editorial. "LaBella speaks but Reno's not listening." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, August 3-9, 1998.
- Seper, Jerry. "Reno warned to take LaBella's advice on funds council." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, July 27 - August 2, 1998.
- "Cyberalert." Media Research Center, July 21, 1998.
- "18 United States Code Section 922." January 26, 1998.
- Huffington, Arianna. "Unexamined contributors to youth violence." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, July 20-26, 1998.
- Editorial. "Drug disaster." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, September 7-13, 1998.
- "The Right to Carry." National Rifle Association of America - Institute for Legislative Action - Research & Information Division. Viewed in May of 1999 on the National Rifle Association web site, www.nra.org. Source Cited: FBI
- Fables, Myths, & Other Tall Tales About Gun Laws, Crime, and Constitutional Rights. National Rifle Association of America - Institute for Legislative Action - Research & Information Division. Viewed in May of 1999 on the National Rifle Association web site, www.nra.org
- Barnes, Ken. "Pro-Gun FAQ." Talk.politics.guns, April 28, 1999. Viewed in May of 1999 on the Internet FAQ Consortium web site, www.faqs.org. Sources cited: The Samarai, The Mountie, And The Cowboy, Lost Rights.
- "The 1994 Clinton Crime Bill's 'Assault Weapons' and 'Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device' Law." National Rifle Association of America - Institute for Legislative Action - Research & Information Division, March 22, 1999.
- Hedges, Michael. "Arms OK preceded U.S. visit." Scripps-Howard News Service. Arkansas Democrat Gazette, March 14, 1997.
- "18 United States Code Section 921." January 26, 1998.
- Daly, Michael. "This Prez donor a real pistol." New York Daily News, March 26, 1997.
- Lott, John R. Jr. "How to Stop School Shootings."
- Price, George Howard. "Governor sees charges against killers' moms, dads." The Washington Times, April 26, 1999.
- "Recent School Shootings." The Washington Post, 1999.
- Statements heard and read in multiple articles and debates.
- Kelly, Alfred H. & Harbison, Winfred A. "The American Constitution. Its Origins and Development." W. W. Norton & Company, 1963.
- "The Federalist Papers Online." Viewed in January of 1999 at www.mcs.net/~knautzr/fed/fedpaper.html
- "The Founding Fathers." ConstitutionFacts.com. Viewed in May of 1999 at www.constitutionfacts.com
- "The Sovereignty of the People." Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government. Viewed in May of 1999 at etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/
- "Civil Rights." Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government. Viewed in May of 1999 at etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/
- "John Lott's More Guns, Less Crime - An Alternative Q&A. Viewed in January of 1999 on the Handgun Control, Inc. web site, www.handguncontrol.org
- "America Deserves Honest Researchers." NRA-ILA Fax Alert. National Rifle Association of America, August 1, 1997.
- Independent calculations performed with 1992 data from:
- "1992 Uniform Crime Reports." Page 10. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- "1995 Sourcebook Of Criminal Justice Statistics." Pages 468, 480, 497, 499. U.S. Department of Justice.
- "1995 Sourcebook Of Criminal Justice Statistics." Page 507. U.S. Department of Justice.
- Kopel, David B. "How Strict are U.S., Colorado, and Local Gun Control Laws." Independence Institute, August 20, 1999.
- International Violent Death Rates. www.guncite.com, Last updated January 23, 2000.