FBI Crime Stats Show an Armed Public Is a Safer Public by Howard Nemerov

Data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation show that America has been on a firearms buying spree since the end of 2005. Meanwhile, the FBI recently released preliminary 2009 crime data indicating that violent crime has been dropping at an accelerating rate since the end of 2006.

The FBI reports the number of background checks, by month, requested for potential firearms purchases through licensed dealers. When a prospective buyer wants to buy a gun, he fills out a form which the dealer submits to law enforcement. If approved, the sale proceeds. This system is called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS for short.

Between November 2005 and October 2009, nearly every month’s requests were higher than the year before. (For example, there were 12.4% more NICS requests in September 2009 than in September 2008.) The sole exception was December 2007, which saw 1.9% fewer requests than December 2006. On an annual basis, each year’s total saw double-digit growth over the previous year beginning in 2006.

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