For Release: Wednesday, September 25, 2002
California Leads Nation With Decrease of 16,905 a Drop of 84%
Number of Gun Dealers Reduced by Nearly 75%; Dramatic Drops Seen in All 50 States
WASHINGTON, DC – The Violence Policy Center (VPC) today released a new study revealing that the number of gun dealers has dropped by more than 181,000 since 1994. The study found that the number of holders of Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) plummeted 74 percent from 245,628 in January 1994 to 63,881 in April 2002 a decrease of 181,747. (The Type 1 FFL is the basic federal license required to sell guns in America.)
California posted the largest drop in the number of gun dealers of any state in the nation. The number of Type 1 FFLs in the state fell by 16,905; a drop of 84 percent from 20,148 in January 1994 to 3,243 in April 2002.
Behind California, the remaining top five states reporting the largest drops in the number of gun dealers are: Texas (13,199, a drop of 73 percent), Michigan (9,060, a drop of 75 percent), Pennsylvania (8,602, a drop of 73 percent), and Florida (8,059, a drop of 81 percent).
The decrease is the result of new licensing and renewal criteria contained in 1993’s Brady Law and 1994’s federal crime bill, enhanced ATF enforcement, and state and local initiatives. All of these changes were designed to reduce the number of “kitchen-table” gun dealers dealers who operate out of their homes often in violation of state and local law and limit licensing to legitimate gun dealers.
VPC Policy Analyst Marty Langley states, “Kitchen-table dealers are notorious for supplying guns to gangs, drug dealers, and street criminals. 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.”
The new VPC analysis comes nearly 10 years after the organization released its December 1992 study More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations. The study 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.