Gun Control Essay

983 words - 4 pages

The decline in handgun sales since the mid-1990s has been attributed to many factors, from tougher gun-control laws to an increased feeling of safety as crime dropped throughout the decade. But to some, the roots go deeper, suggesting a subtle shift in attitudes, as America becomes ever more suburban - and more likely to connect guns to shooting sprees than to weekend duck hunts.Laura Kennedy has seen the shift at her Bay Area sporting goods store, where almost no one says they've "got to get a gun to protect themselves" anymore. Federal data show that requests for background checks - a key indicator of sales - are now below last year's levels."The long-term trend in the US is ... going ...view middle of the document...

Maryland also saw a drop in the requests for applications to purchase firearms in 2001.* The most recent figures from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms show that handgun manufacturing dropped by more than half between 1993 and 1999. In 1998, the latest year available, fewer handguns were manufactured than in any year since 1967.* The University of Chicago's General Social Survey shows that 24 percent of adults polled in 2001 owned at least one gun, down from 31 percent in 1996. Previously, the figure held steady near 30 percent for the survey's 16-year history.The trends aren't industry-wide: Sales of long guns - such as shotguns and rifles - remain healthy. But historically, pistol and revolver sales have closely mirrored crime-rate fluctuations, from the 1960s until today. "The single biggest reason for having a handgun has been declining for the past eight years," says Tom Smith of the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, which puts out the General Social Survey.Other variables also affect handgun sales. America's increasing immigrant population has less of a tradition with firearms: It lacks the iconography of John Wayne and the cultural history of dads teaching their sons to shoot a .22 or hunt partridge. In addition, some say, most people who want guns already have one.Indeed, the biggest years for handgun sales in US history came not when new buyers sought to protect themselves, but when current handgun owners rushed to buy more. As President Clinton signed the Brady Bill gun-control law, enthusiasts stockpiled certain models, worried that it was their last chance."Bill Clinton was a great marketing tool,"...

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