Number of Gun Dealers in U.S. Drops Almost 80 Percent – From 245,628 to 54,902 – Since 1994, New Violence Policy Center (VPC) Report Reveals

For Release:   Wednesday, March 8, 2006

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 190,726 since 1994 according to a new study released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The study (see found that the number of Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) plummeted 78 percent: from 245,628 in 1994 to 54,902 in 2005. (The Type 1 FFL is the basic federal license required to sell guns in America.)

The 1992 VPC publication More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations first focused 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 (see chart below). The full study contains information for all 50 states as well as policy recommendations.

State Number of Gun Dealers Number of Gas Stations State Number of Gun Dealers Number of Gas Stations
Alaska 844 229 Oregon 1,479 1,146
Idaho 682 663 Wyoming 550 401
Montana 1,017 597 U.S. Total 54,902 121,363

California posted the largest decrease in the number of gun dealers of any state in the nation, dropping from 20,148 in 1994 to 2,438 in 2005 – a drop of 88 percent.

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. The dramatic drop in dealers aids not only federal law enforcement, but cities and states as they continue their efforts to reduce illegal firearms trafficking and firearms violence.”







About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
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