tifosi77 wrote:New owners (or potential new owners like me) are dwindling and have been for three decades.
It is true that those surveys show per-household rate of firearms ownership is lower. But the number of households
certainly hasn't been constant. According to census data, in 1950 there were approximately 43.5 million households
in the United States. If around 50% of them contained someone that owned a gun, that would be 21.75 million gun-owning households
. By 2007, there were 116 million million households
in the United States. If 40% of them owned guns, that's 46.4 million households
, or an increase from 1950. Also, over that period of time the average population per household fell from around 3.4 people/household to 2.5 people/household. The decline could also reflect the fact that more people are living alone or in smaller households
, and that "spreads out" the pool of gun owners over more homes. For example, it is true that women own guns at a much lower rate than men. I believe it's also true that many more women today live alone than did back in the 1950s. The decline in the number of households
reporting gun ownership could be explained by a factor like that.
And the number of gun owners aside, there are certainly more guns in the U.S. than ever before. According to the FBI, in 2011 alone there were 16,454,951 background checks for the purchase of new firearms. A small percentage of those checks were rejected (it's around 2% or so), but that is probably made up by the fact that a single NICS check can be used to purchase multiple guns in the same transaction. From the inception of the NICS on November 30, 1998, to December 31, 2011, a total of 140,882,399 transactions have been processed by the FBI and state users. (Some states do their own background checks, some rely on the FBI. PA does its own.) Even if we be very conservative with the estimates, the United States has added well more than 100 million
new guns over the last 12 years. That rate is far, far in excess of the rate of population growth. If it were a simple matter than "more guns = more shootings" we should expect the homicide rate to be skyrocketing from all of those new guns. But rates of violent crime have in fact been steadily falling for years.