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Despite Violent Crime Near All-Time Low, More Guns Bought For Self Defense Than Recreation

First Posted: Jun 23, 2017 05:37 PM EDT

Americans love guns. Rural America loves to hunt. But this is not what is driving gun sales. According to a new study, more guns purchased in this country are bought to be used for self defense rather than sport. The manufacturing and purchasing trends are evidence that Americans are buying guns because they are scared. What are they scared of? Apparently its not a fear of ducks or deer.

According to Donald Trump. People are fearing violent crime. He said when he was a candidate for president that there was a rising tide of violent crime in America.  This statement turned out to be false according to a recent study. New York University's Brennan Center for Justice found 2016's crime rates near an all-time low. 2016 showed a slight increase in violent crime with an overall increase of just 0.3 percent. The numbers are statistically at the low end of a 30 year decrease in violent crime in this country. So why all the guns for self-defense?

America is scared. This fear is not new. If we look at the statistics, the increase in gun purchasing and manufacturing, fueled by an increase in pistol manufacturing began to rise in dramatic numbers in 2009 and peaked in 2012. 

Researchers looked at data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) for all 50 U.S. states for 1990-2015, as well as FBI data from National Instant Background Checks, investigators identified trends in the type and caliber of firearms being manufactured in the U.S. from 1990 through 2014. The chart shows that that gun production was pretty much flat from 1990 until 2005 Gun productionn was at a steady rate of about 3-5 million guns per year. Think about that for a second. It wasn't like we as a country were not scared at this time. Even the terrorist attacks of September 11th did not make Americans scared enough to go out and buy firearms.

Then in 2005, gun sales started to rise slightly as demand for hand guns increased. The productions of guns increased 1.7% in 2005, 1.6% in 2006 and 3.3 % in 2007. After this, we see a large spike in gun sales and manufacturing.

In 2009, the percentage of firearm production rose 11%. This was fueled by an increase in pistol sales which rose 18% in 2009. That is an increase in overall firearm sales that is nearly double  the increase of the previous year and triple the increase in 2007. 

Why did the sale of firearms suddenly spike during this time? The gun lobby, mostly the NRA, and the right wing of the media sold the Americans a huge lie that President Obama was here to take their guns. The spike in firearm sales should be known as "Obama effect." The thing that American gun owners were scared of turned out to be a black president. 

The firearms production numbers continue to be high throughout the Obama years. Gun production rose a whopping 14.5% in 2012, the year Obama was re-elected. 

Guns as self-defense tools are here to stay. Even Barack Obama couldn't pry them out of the hands of owners. In fact his presidency saw the sale of these weapons increase dramatically. Now President Trump is in power and has repeatedly told us that we need to be scared of Muslims, Mexican drug dealers and just about any other boogey man he can dangle in the face of white America. The gun as a self defense tool is here to stay.

It is up to public health officials to figure out what to do about that. Don't expect the NRA or the rest of the gun lobby to solve this problem. They are too busy counting their money

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