I wish I could do the Spock eyebrow thing when I say "Fascinating!"
I was checking the Violence Policy Center website to see if they had any reaction to today's Parker decision, and came across their latest "analysis," A Shrinking Minority: The Continuing Decline of Gun Ownership in America (a PDF file). The report tells us what the title does, apparently guns just aren't popular in America any more. So says the General Social Survey, which the Violence Policy Center tells us:
...is conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. Begun in 1972, the GSS completed its 26th round in 2006. According to NORC, "Except for the U.S. Census, the GSS is the most frequently analyzed source of information in the social sciences" and is "the only survey that has tracked the opinions of Americans over an extended period of time."So much for the GSS's bona fides.
Y'all know how much I love the VPC's graphics. Well, here's the centerpiece of this report:
Yes, according to the GSS:
During the period 1972 to 2006, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home has dropped nearly 20 percentage points: from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006.While at the same time:
In a June 2006 press release, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) President Doug Painter states that "...gun sales and ownership in our country continue to rise." The NSSF is the self-described "trade association for the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry." In the release, the NSSF adds without attribution, "The number of American households with at least one firearm is now estimated at nearly 47.8 million." According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, in 2005 there were an estimated 108,819,000 households in America. Using NSSF's figures, 43.9 percent of American households have a gun — more than nine percentage points higher than the most recent NORC household gun ownership figure.I don't see what the VPC's problem is, then. Obviously the NSSF is lying and it appears that since gun ownership is declining on its own, there's no need to pass legislation banning handguns, "semi-automatic assault weapons" etc. The "gun culture" is going away!
Except, it doesn't seem to be. I mean, President Clinton wouldn't lie to us, would he? In a February 4, 2000 White House press release he announced:
Handguns Account for Nearly Half of All New Gun Sales – About 2 Million Per Year. Fifty years ago, handguns represented only one out of every 10 new gun sales. Now they account for more than four out of 10.Um, if two million a year represents, say 45% of all annual gun sales, then that puts the total annual gun sales (carry the one...) at about 4.4 million per year. And that's just new gun sales. As I've noted many times before, guns are durable goods. A gun made 100 years ago can certainly be perfectly functional today, and many are.
Now, I certainly believe that those of us who collect guns are building bigger collections, after all, I've got (mumble mumble...) guns myself and my wife insisted that I buy the bigger model gun safe because "You'll fill it up eventually." But do I believe that all of those guns each year are going into the collections of a shrinking number of aging geezers like me?
I do not.
According to the General Social Survey FAQ site, about 3,000 people are interviewed for their survey, and about 75% of them respond. It's not a telephone survey, either. You'll note, also, that after the 1998 survey the response rate dropped to about 70%, so right off the bat about 30% of the people they go to interview now tell the interviewers (in effect) "F$%# off!"
Gee, I wonder what the gun ownership rate in that demographic is?
Second, the VPC, Brady Center et al. have been striving for decades to convince people that "Guns are bad, mmmkay?" This, despite the fact that since 1986 the number of states with "shall issue" concealed-carry legislation has increased from 6 to 37 (and Alaska has gone from no carry to unrestricted.) People, somebody had to be buying those millions of "pocket rockets" and they weren't all prior gun owners. Perhaps the best illustration of what I'm talking about here comes from NPR contributor and gun convert Emily Yoffe, the "Human Guinea Pig," in her Slate piece Guinea Get Your Gun: How I Learned to Love Firearms:
So anathema are guns among my friends that when one learned I was doing this piece, he opened his wallet, silently pulled out an NRA membership card, then (after I recovered from the sight) asked me not to spread it around lest his son be kicked out of nursery school.Ye gods. As fellow blogger and activist Joe Huffman has noted, in many areas - specifically the "blue states" and metropolitan centers - the gun bigots have made gun owners into "gun niggers." Hell, newspapers seem to think that concealed-carry permit holders are the equivalent of sex offenders. It happened again just today.
So where are all those guns going? Well for one thing, I think the National Opinion Research Center has its head up its collective posterior when it says:
Some have speculated that the 9/11 terrorist attacks undermined support for the regulation of firearms, arguing that fear of terrorism increased the public desire for firearms for self-defense. However, this was not the case. (E)xcept for a small bulge in handgun applications in September-October, 2001 which had already started to subside by November, there was no increase in firearm purchases in response to the 9/11 attacks.What about after Katrina? A LOT of people figured out fast that the government wasn't responsible for their protection - was, in fact inimical to it in some cases. (Just ask Patricia Konie and her attorney Ashton O'Dwyer).
So, given this "decades-long slow motion hate crime" perpetrated against gun owners, is it any surprise that people either decline to answer, or (dare I say it) lie when asked whether their home contains a firearm? I mean, if you fear that your toddler might be evicted from nursery school because daddy owns a pistol...
So go ahead, VPC, Brady Center and all the other Joyce Foundation sponsored gun
I really enjoy watching you splutter like Sylvester the Cat every time a new piece of gun-control legislation goes down in flames, or gun-rights legislation passes with a veto-proof margin, or, as also happened today, a gun-rights court decision stands.
UPDATE: I swear, I wrote this piece before I ever saw this.
UPDATE II: D'OH! Instapundit link fixed. I need a vacation....
UPDATE III: Woohoo! Instalanch!