Just how many guns are there in the US?

David Yamane is a sociologist who runs a blog called Gun Culture 2.0; he tackles various topics that arise concerning the 2nd Amendment. I stumbled across his blog a few years back and was delighted to discover that he regularly puts out good information & has his students do studies on 2nd Amendment related topics.

He recently has been addressing the topic “How Many Households in America Today Have Guns?” and wrote:

 Legault and Lizotte estimated the U.S. civilian gun stock to be just over 216 million as of 2006. And the 2015 National Firearms Survey (NFS) pegs the current stock of firearms at somewhere between 245 million and 285 million.

I know some will argue that the NFS estimate is low, and that there are over 300 million firearms in the United States today. But for me, Wright’s “give or take a few tens of millions” is right on. The heart of Wright’s observation is that there are ALOT of guns in America. Even though no one knows exactly how many, these estimates all support the idea that there are ALOT. Far more than any other country, both in absolute numbers and per capita. Whether it is 285 million or 315 million is inconsequential.

Commentators responded that these estimates may be low by pointing a Weaponsman blog posting referring to ATF manufacturer figures showing 250 million serial numbered firearms manufactured since 1999.

David did a followup article and addresses this:

The author, who writes under the pseudonym “Hognose,” reports on a BAFTE data system called “Access 2000 (A2K)” (see Appendix II here for a brief overview). As Hognose describes it, “This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer.”

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I’m going to quote from the Weaponsman article here to give some context:

 The typical estimate of the total number of firearms in the USA is about 300 million, depending on whom is queried. […]

We believe that the correct number is much higher — somewhere between 412 and 660 million. You may wonder how we came to that number, so buckle up (and cringe, if you’re a math-phobe, although it never gets too theoretical): unlike most of the academics and reporters we linked above, we’re going to use publicly available data, and show our work.

What if we told you that one ATF computer system logged, by serial number, 252,000,000 unique firearms, and represented only those firearms manufactured, imported or sold by a relatively small number of the nation’s tens of thousands of Federal Firearms Licensees?

ATF  maintains a system, introduced in 1999, called Access 2000 or A2K (GAO report; details are in the .pdfs linked at that .html link). This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer.

The relevance of the A2K database to the question of how many guns is this: “As of 2 October, 2015,** the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each.”** […]

None of the current academic media and academic estimates were developed with A2K data, even though this data has been made publicly available. You’re probably reading about it here for the first time.

**The participants in A2K include, as of fall, 2015, 35 firms representing 66 FFLs total.**

**As of 2 October, 2015, the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each.** That means that at least those 250 million firearms have been manufactured, or imported, or sold at wholesale in approximately 15 years. (Duplicate records, say from a manufacturer or importer in 2000 a jobber as a used gun in 2007, don’t increment the count; the unique serial number ties those data points together as a single “record”).

For the total count of firearms in the USA to be 300 million, the following must be true:

(A2K + all firearms made and sold by non-A2K FFLs from 1999-2015 + all firearms made by everyone 1899-1999 + all firearms imported 1899-1999 + all firearms made or imported since October, 2015) – firearms exported = 300M.

It seems unlikely that 5/6 of all firearms were made or imported in the last 17 years. […]

They address numerous things and conclude with:

 At this point we have a reasonable and very conservative, very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016. The question becomes one of estimating how many firearms were made and imported in the period from the invention of modern metallic cartridge, smokeless powder ammunition from, say, 1899 to 1998 — and how many of those survive as practical, usable firearms. […]

Absent a better idea, we can say that** the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million**, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media.

This also doesn’t count the number of firearms made from “80%” receivers, AK flats, and the like.

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So much for ‘gun ownership is declining’: Poll: More Americans Have a Gun in Home Than Ever Before

One of the oft-repeated trope of the gun control movement is that gun ownership is decreasing.  And yet…

A new poll published on Thursday found more Americans report having a gun in their home than ever before.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey of 1,200 adults found 48 percent of Americans said they or somebody else in their household owned a gun. That’s 3 percentage points higher than when the same question was asked last year. It’s 9 percentage points higher than when the question was asked in 2011, the low point of the poll’s findings for self-reported gun ownership.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/poll-americans-gun-home-ever/

This topic deserves a longer post, so I’ll address this in greater detail later.

The Stigma of Women’s Self Defense

I came across a blog post that I felt was worth sharing:

Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly replied with:

I’ve seen this image going around again, often accompanied by comments on how expecting women to learn self-defense is unreasonable and ineffective anyway, because men are bigger and stronger than us.

I get the original post’s sentiment. We can’t put the entire onus of preventing sexual assault on the victims (or potential victims), and things will not get better without widespread social change that addresses perpetrators (and potential perpetrators), and the cultural attitudes that make this shit so much more widespread and easy to get away with.

But as we build a better world that is safer for all of us, we need to live in this one. We need to survive day-to-day, and deal with the threats that exist now, and not the reduced ones that may exist decades down the road. And right now, knowing how to defend yourself won’t prevent all rape, but it might prevent yours.

It’s not a zero-sum game. Keeping yourself safe doesn’t put another in danger, and learning self-defense isn’t some betrayal of the sisterhood because another woman may not have access to the same training. If we really want to keep all women safer, then we lobby for cultural, legislative, and legal change on the one hand, and we make sure as many women as possible have access to good self-defense training on the other. There’s no earthly reason to choose between the two.

It’s hard enough for many women to step into a self-defense class. There’s already stigma attached to women fighting, fear of being hurt or – worse – of hurting someone else, and uncertainty about how safe you’ll be in a given school or with a given instructor. I’ve had women show up to my classes that spent a year working up to coming in, because it was that fucking daunting. Let’s not make it even worse by suggesting that wanting to protect yourself undermines the social progress of your entire gender.

Adding onto this, Swimming in Deep Water posted:

Additional points raised from the resulting discussion:

  1. I don’t believe there are any statistics as to how many assaults are prevented by capable, willing women stepping in to other women’s aid. From anecdotal evidence, it happens. I’ve done it. I’ve seen other women do it. Learning self-defence skills is like learning first-aid in one respect: maybe you’ll need it for yourself or your loved ones, but maybe you’ll end up using it to save a perfect stranger.
  2. A self defense scenario doesn’t always end with a predator sneaking off to assault someone else. It can end with an arrest or investigation which can actively prevent another assault.
  3. It is considered not only acceptable but desirable for parents to educate their young children about “stranger danger”. No suggestion is made that this causes someone else’s kid to be molested or kidnapped. So at which age does this change? Is it for a 12 yr old girl to learn self-defense, but not for a 15 yr old? 16? Where is that line drawn, by whom, and based on what theory?
  4. While any individual learning to defend themselves doesn’t solve any social problems, a critical mass of women and others with the skills and willingness to defend against predators could shift the social balance as well.
  5. Do women’s  responsibility to others always overrides personal concerns, and if so, why?

Both of these are great responses, but leave out something.

Every time I hear the mantra, “Teach men not to rape” I like to point out that dead rapists don’t have to be taught again.  I have absolutely zero problems making a sexual assault as painful & debilitating as possible for the attacker.  If the lesson proves fatal to the aggressor,  oh fucking well.

NY DA doesn’t want CCW reciprocity… because ISIS. For real?

CNN took a break from being complete garbage to allow  New York District Attorney Vance a chance at bat:

Manhattan DA: This bill could turn your city into the Wild West

Blood will RUN in the STREETS!!!!  Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, every single anti-gun argument since CCW reform began in the late 80s.

I’m proud to say that New York remains the safest big city in the nation, at least according to the Economist’s Safe Cities Index.

But this progress could come to a screeching halt if the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, known as CCRA, passes Congress. Every state has had the right to craft its own firearms licensing laws. In New York, we have crafted our laws to consider unique factors like our state’s population density, culture and history. The CCRA would override our state’s restrictive concealed-weapons permitting system and force New York to honor concealed-carry firearms privileges issued in other states, even though many other states have much looser standards.

Simply put, this means that the gun laws of Arkansas, for example, could be forced upon New York by federal mandate. I can only imagine how angry citizens of Arkansas would be if Washington politicians forced them to follow laws from New York.

Without a hint of irony, he manages to ignore how hated the NY SAFE Act is outside of NYC itself.  Hilarious!

Consider this: Eleven states grant concealed-carry privileges to individuals who have not undergone any safety training. Twenty states grant permits to people who have been convicted of violent crimes. And 12 states do not require any kind of permit or license to carry a concealed firearm. The CCRA would make it legal for someone to carry that concealed, loaded firearm into New York or anyplace else, regardless of local law.

How awful.  Why, the concealed carry holders of those states must be wanton criminals and those states are awash with violence committed by them, right? Strange that the DA couldn’t summon any information supporting that unspoken assumption, probably because as the Texas Department of Public Safety shows, CCW holders are much more law abiding than the general population.

So police officers are against this bill.

Uh, no, they aren’t.   Looking at that letter, it’s signed by the following organizations:

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA)
National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Police Foundation (PF)

Missing from this is an endorsement of the largest police group, the Fraternal Order of Police, not to mention huge numbers of other organizations populated by rank & file officers.  In fact, I notice that this endorsement list is heavy on Command level endorsements, and scant on support from line officers.  This isn’t surprising, since police executives, administrators, and command staff are largely politically appointed & reflect the politics of their mayors.

In fact, when PoliceOne asked their members about their thoughts on armed citizens, the officers uniformly responded that they believed CCW was a good thing and helped reduce crime:

More than 91 percent of respondents support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable.

A full 86 percent feel that casualties would have been reduced or avoided in recent tragedies like Newtown and Aurora if a legally-armed citizen was present (casualties reduced: 80 percent; avoided altogether: 60 percent).

Now that the ‘cops support a ban on CCW reciprocity!’ nonsense is debunked, let’s return to Vance’s fearmongering:

Who would actually be for this bill? I can offer one answer: ISIS.

According to George Washington University’s Extremism Tracker, New York is the top ISIS terror target in America. Meanwhile, ISIS is increasingly recruiting radicalized attackers to murder as many people as possible, using any means available.

Let’s not kid ourselves: ISIS is following the gun debate. Look no further than Rumiyah, its official magazine and how-to guide for terror. In its May 2017 issue, under a section titled “Just Terror Tactics,” ISIS specifically told aspiring terrorists how to exploit America’s lax gun laws to commit mass shootings on our soil:

“In most US states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring an ID or a gun license.”

The CCRA is a gift to these terrorists.

What.

Let’s break down how mindbogglingly stupid this argument is.

Right now, Europe is in the midst of a terror crisis, with automobiles being used to murder & wound dozens at a time.  After the latest attack in Barcelona, responding officers shot 5 terrorists who reportedly were wearing suicide vests.  A single van killed 13 and injured at least 120 people.  No word yet if NY DA Vance is going to call for banning motor vehicles within city limits, or banning driver’s licenses from other states.

Despite New York’s draconian firearms laws, somehow crimes are still being committed there.  There’s no magic barrier at the city or state line that prevents a firearm from coming in, so pretending that a ban on CCW reciprocity will prevent ISIS from smuggling in firearms is absurd, especially when a group of jihadists can use credit cards and rent a few moving vans from Budget or U-Haul and plow them through pedestrians.

Or using them as VBIEDs.

Thanks for the laugh, Vance.  I hope you do better prep work on criminals because this was weak.

Louisville’s Tim Faulkner Gallery shooting and a complete lack of outrage.

If a “mass shooting” occurs, and no talking heads are angry about it, will people make a sound?  The answer is: no.

This weekend, there was a concert event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, located in Louisville’s West End – specifically in Portland.  For those who aren’t familiar with the venue, Tim Faulkner’s is a 26,000 square foot mixed-use facility near the Ohio River, that is home to both artist space, McQuixote Books & Coffee, and a 10,000 square foot performance area that hosts various events.  It is surrounded by warehouses, manufacturing, and a lower income homes that are slowly being gentrified by hipsters, trendy restaurants & businesses encroaching into the area.  Kentucky Kustom Cycles is across the street, Louisville & Indiana Railroad is two buildings east, and Habitat for Humanity’s Louisville office is two streets south.

When 5 people are shot at 1AM, you’d think that people would be upset by this.  One woman, a student at University of Louisville, died. 5 were wounded and expected to recover.  After the outrage of the Orlando Nightclub shooting, all of the usual suspects were up in arms.  They quickly blamed everyone from the NRA, to the firearms industry, to the GOP for enabling the killer to murder all of those innocent people.

Imagine my surprise when I saw absolutely zero mention of this weekend’s horror in my social media feeds.  The same people who would wail and rend their clothes in a morbid kabuki display of virtue signaling; the social justice warriors who proudly declare that anyone who opposes gun control is a psychopath, and that the NRA is evil… why, they were silent.

24 hours later, there are no calls for gun control.  No screaming about the easy availability of firearms.   No talk about innocent lives lost or the societal cost of gun ownership, or how Something. Must. Be. Done.

Why on earth would that be?  Simple.  Here’s the event where the shooting occured:

xihvtot

The victims? No elementary school children.  No casualties from the LGBTQ community. A distinct lack of media friendly corpses to be used as macabre props, because this is the wrong demographic. No possible hate crime, and if the shooter is caught, he will probably already have a long criminal record.   It’s not as easy for the gun control movement to dance in the blood of the victims when this sort of thing happens.

It’s difficult to manufacture outrage when it’s a people being shot at a rap concert. Because of this, the personalities that generate talking points have nothing to say because their audience is just going to shrug their shoulders and go “what did you expect” when they see the event & the victims.

You see, this type of “mass shooting” doesn’t fit the narrative.  Louisville’s West End is known as the bad part of town, with the city’s poverty, crime rates, shootings & drug issues all congregate to become that area middle-class mothers warn their kids to avoid.

No Facebook profile pictures will be changed to say “We stand with Portland.” The people shot will only be mentioned again as a statistic: they will be lumped in with other similar “mass shootings” to paint firearms ownership as a stain upon society.

Thus, the truth is laid bare: those who scream the loudest about gun control aren’t really invested in it.  It’s not a cause they actually care about, because if it was they would be marching for the victims of Saturday’s shooting.  No, gun control is merely a tool in the arsenal; a facet of tribal politics & a way for them to lash out against their political opponents.  It’s something that is only mentioned when they can puff themselves up in righteous anger, and preen in their cloaks of moral righteousness; because their opinions are right and those who disagree are clearly evil.  If something cannot be used as a weapon against your enemies, it is ignored.

Their silence makes it all too obvious how this is not a battle for what’s right, or to reduce “gun violence” whatsoever, but to score points off their opponents.  Because, let’s face it: If these people were truly passionate about their beliefs, if they truly felt that Black Lives Matter, or that every life is precious, then they would be screaming about this sort of thing happening. Instead, we hear crickets.

The political winds do not favor gun control, thus the faithful do not need to be rallied.  Better to save their outrage for whatever other convenient controversy can be manipulated.

4th Circuit ruled that Assault Weapons & “Large Capacity Magazines” can be banned… what nonsense.

Freed up by the Supreme Court’s ongoing reluctance to engage in depth with the Second Amendment, the Fourth Circuit has taken it upon itself to rewrite Heller en banc. In a 10–4 decision, issued yesterday afternoon, the court upheld Maryland’s ban on both “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” By so doing, it deprived the people of Maryland, the Carolinas, and the Virginias of the core protections to which the Constitution entitles them.

As Judge Traxler’s dissent pointedly establishes, the majority achieved this transformation by contriving “a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service.’” In effect, this “test” is designed to permit judges to determine that any weapon they might dislike is unprotected by the Second Amendment and can therefore be prohibited with impunity. Forget that Heller contains its own explicit tests. Forget the “common use” standard. Forget “dangerous and unusual.” There’s a new kid in town, and he’s coming for your rifles.

What counts as “most useful in military service” under this rubric? Well . . . everything, theoretically. “Under the majority’s analysis,” the dissenters contend, “a settler’s musket, the only weapon he would likely own and bring to militia service, would be most useful in military service — undoubtedly a weapon of war — and therefore not protected by the Second Amendment.” Indeed, “the ‘most useful in military service’ rubric would remove nearly all firearms from Second Amendment protection as nearly all firearms can be useful in military service.” A standard semi-automatic handgun is plausibly “most useful in military service.” So, too, is a hunting rifle. So is a sword. Perhaps the Fourth Circuit would like to strip the constitutional protection from those weapons, too?

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445145/fourth-circuit-decision-maryland-assault-weapons-ban-constitutional-travesty

Ted Cruz shows how ridiculous this test is here:

http://fave.api.cnn.io/v1/fav/?video=politics/2017/02/23/ted-cruz-cpac-2nd-amendment-guns-feather-duster.cnn&customer=cnn&edition=domestic&env=prod

As usual, the slippery slope exists & they really do want to take your guns.