TeeJaw Blog

Guns Sales Set New Monthly Record in December, 2011

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 11: 28 PM

Over 1,600,000 guns were sold in December, 2011. That number is based on the number of NICS (National Instant Background Check) performed by the FBI and state investigative units required for all gun sales sales by Federal Firearms Licensees, i.e, dealers (FFLs). It includes handguns, rifles and shotguns.  The number of NICS checks is not exact for the number of sales since about 3% of applicants are refused, but it also doesn’t account for those who purchase two guns at the same time on one NICS check, which is legal.

Some people I know are no doubt dismayed by the pace of gun sales in America, but I am heartened by it.  The more people who own guns and the more guns they own the harder it will be Obama and Holder and nanny Bloomberg and others like them to get their sticky mitts on our guns, which rumor holds to be in the plans if Obama wins a second term.  Rumors should ordinarily be discounted, but not rumors that a statist politician is planning sneaky ways to impose tyranny and oppression on citizens.

The chart was prepared by the National Shooting Sports Foundation from data supplied by the FBI.

These are all legal gun sales to law-abiding citizens. So where do criminals get guns? The National Center for Disease Control reported a long time ago that gun control laws are ineffective for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. That’s believable because in countries such as Great Britain and Australia which outright prohibit everyone from owning guns there is rampant crime by criminals using guns. Even in the Soviet Union the criminals had guns, even the ones who weren’t members of the politburo. In Jamaica and Mexico with very strict gun prohibition criminals often buy guns, or just rent them by the hour, from police officers. In Mexico the criminals are the cops themselves and deserters from the army who took their M-16 with them. There is also corruption in the Mexican Army that supplies criminals with guns. In short, there is just no place on earth, even within totalitarian regimes where criminals cannot obtain firearms with which to ply their trade. It’s almost a waste of time to ask where criminals get guns, they get them. In third world countries full auto AK-47s and 74s and their derivative are easily obtainable, which is not all bad because the term “criminal” in those countries applies to the government even more than to most of the population. Despite its illicit uses and the hatred of anti-gunners everywhere, Mikhail Kalashnikov’s rifle has also given peasants in the third world a fighting chance against despotism. Kalashnikov always insisted that resistance to tyranny is what motivated him. There is no doubt that his gun has been an important instrument in the fight for freedom around the world. See The Gun by C.J Chivers.

Many criminal guns in America start out as stolen in home and business burglaries, or guns that citizens lose due to carelessness or just fate. There may also be a large number of guns specifically aimed at the criminal market which start out as bulk sales by high placed illegal arms dealers, which is a large criminal enterprise that exists throughout the entire world. And then there is another source of criminal guns which goes largely unnoticed.

Those still convinced that gun control laws are necessary to reduce crime and keep guns from criminals should consider this thought experiment. There are only four possible scenarios in any society regarding guns:

1. Everyone has access to guns.
2. No one has access to guns, they simple don’t exist in that society.
3. Only non-criminals have guns.
4. Only criminals have guns.

That’s it. Those four possibilities exhaust the universe of the possible, at least by a priori knowledge . But on closer examination and empirical evidence, only two of those four are possible in the real world because the other two are either not possible or of such low probability as to be effectively impossible. Those are numbers 2 and 3. No society in modern times has ever completely ridded itself of guns, unless on a tiny atoll in the Pacific, and even that is doubtful. So number 2 should be stricken from the list. Likewise, no society in modern times has ever been able to keep guns from criminals so that only the good guys have them. Strike number 3 from the list. That leaves 1 and 4 as the only choices. Which would you choose?

Great Britain and Australia* have chosen number 4. It isn’t working out very well.

*There is extremely limited legal gun ownership in Australia, mostly in the outback and restricted to small rifles and shotguns for animal control and dispatching wounded domestic animals. Self defense is not considered a reason to own a gun. Only about 5% of Aussies in remote areas legally own guns and in cities the percentage is so small it can be rounded to zero. Hoplophobia is so strong in Australia the police are generally not allowed to take their firearms home with them when their shift ends. None of this has prevented or even reduced gun crime. Thus, the Aussies have effectively burdened themselves with option number 4.


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