For Release: Wednesday, August 15, 2007
California Leads Nation in Decrease (-89%), Followed by Hawaii, (-88%) Massachusetts (-88%), Florida (-87%), and Connecticut (-87%)
America Once Had More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations, Now Only Five States Do: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming
WASHINGTON, DC – The number of gun dealers in America has dropped by 194,998 since 1994 according to a new study released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The study (see http://vpc.org/studies/dealers07.pdf) found that the number of Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) plummeted 79 percent: from 245,628 in 1994 to 50,630 in 2007. (The Type 1 FFL is the basic federal license required to sell guns in America.)
California posted the largest decrease in the number of gun dealers, dropping from 20,148 in 1994 to 2,120 in 2007 – a decrease of 89 percent. Additional states that had declines of 80 percent or more during the period were: Hawaii (-88%); Massachusetts (-88%); Connecticut (-87%); Florida (-87%); Maryland (-85%); Washington (-85%); Rhode Island (-84%); Louisiana (-82%); New Jersey (-82%); Georgia (-81%), New York (-81%); Virginia (-81%); Illinois (-80%); and, Michigan (-80%).
The 1992 VPC publication More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations was the first to focus national attention on abuses by FFL holders and revealed that at the time of its release the number of Americans who possessed the Type 1 FFL outnumbered gas stations 245,000 to 210,000. The bulk of the licenses were held by illegitimate “kitchen-table” dealers who operated out of their homes or offices, an unknown percentage of which were actively involved in criminal gun trafficking. As the result of policy recommendations contained in the study that were implemented under the Clinton Administration, today only five states have more gun dealers than gas stations: Alaska; Idaho; Montana; Oregon; and, Wyoming.
The drop in the number of gun dealers coincides with a continuing decline in household gun ownership. According to National Opinion Research Center (NORC) data, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home dropped from 43.9 percent in 1994 to 34.5 percent in 2006.
VPC Policy Analyst Marty Langley states, “The sharp drop in gun dealers is one of the most important – and little noticed – victories in the effort to reduce firearms violence in America. Fewer gun dealers reduces the potential number of sources for high-volume illegal gun trafficking.