I've long argued (as regular readers will know) that so-called 'gun control' focuses on the wrong target. It's trying to control a thing (the gun), rather than the person wielding that thing (the shooter). That's nonsensical. When we encounter drunk driving, we don't charge the car - we charge the driver. It's always the user that commits the crime or perpetrates the error, not the thing.
That said, there's been a lot of propaganda about how, if we control guns per se, we'll automatically control so-called 'gun violence'. Figures of 250- to 300-odd million guns in circulation in the USA have been bandied about, with no real evidence to suggest that they're correct. Recent research has argued that gun ownership is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of collectors or 'super-owners' (presumably to imply that it's less of a problem to go after guns than previously thought - after all, if it affects only a small number of voters, it's politically less of a liability to do so).
Weaponsman has come up with a thought-provoking calculation to debunk this train of thought.
We believe that the correct number [of firearms in circulation in the USA] is much higher — somewhere between 412 and 660 million. You may wonder how we came to that number, so buckle up (and cringe, if you’re a math-phobe, although it never gets too theoretical): unlike most of the academics and reporters we linked above, we’re going to use publicly available data, and show our work.
What if we told you that one ATF computer system logged, by serial number, 252,000,000 unique firearms [produced from 1999-2016], and represented only those firearms manufactured, imported or sold by a relatively small number of the nation’s tens of thousands of Federal Firearms Licensees?
. . .
At this point we have a reasonable and very conservative, very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016. The question becomes one of estimating how many firearms were made and imported in the period from the invention of modern metallic cartridge, smokeless powder ammunition from, say, 1899 to 1998 — and how many of those survive as practical, usable firearms.
. . .
Absent a better idea, we can say that the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media.
There's much more at the link. Recommended reading.
This is very interesting statistical research, and I think Weaponsman draws some entirely logical conclusions. If the number of guns in circulation is at least double what's been previously estimated (and I'm willing to believe that it is, based solely on my own knowledge of what I and my friends and acquaintances own in the way of firearms), it will make it that much harder for gun-grabbers to confiscate them all, even if their owners were willing to hand them over. (Most aren't. For example, in Connecticut, most owners of recently banned rifles are allegedly disobeying the requirements of that state's law, and in New York state the same thing appears to be happening. I daresay the same would happen in any other state where such draconian legislation is enacted.)
Another aspect that hasn't received much attention is ammunition sales. The recent 'ammo drought' is still fresh in the minds of most American shooters, many of whom have since built up their stocks to make sure they have enough to 'take care of business' in the event that something like it happens again. I order ammunition online as and when I need it, typically buying a few hundred to a couple of thousand rounds at a time, and my main supplier is selling container loads of the stuff as fast as he can unpack it onto his shelves. The relative good health of that market argues that many people aren't simply stockpiling guns - they're shooting them, and maintaining their skills through regular practice.
Hmmm . . . if there are that many guns in circulation, perhaps I don't yet own my fair share of them! I'll have to do something about that.