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More Handguns in U.S., Streets Safer than Ever

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In 1979, the group now known as the Brady Campaign said "over 50 million handguns flood the houses and streets of our nation. . . . If we continue at this pace, we will have equipped ourselves with more than 100 million handguns by the turn of the century. One hundred million handguns. Will we be safer then?"

In 2008, after the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban in District of Columbia v. Heller, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said, "introducing more handguns into the district will mean more handgun violence."

And in 2010, after the Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to arms nationwide, Chicago Alderwoman Freddrenna Lyle said, "If people bothered to read, as opposed to getting their news from the 'Tea Party Times,' they would understand and see that there is more harm done by the proliferation of handguns than there is benefit."

That's the kind of fear-mongering, naive and sarcastic rhetoric we've heard from the Second Amendment's opponents over the years. Now here are some facts:

Since 1980, the number of handguns has increased 50 percent, and the nation's murder rate has decreased 52 percent. After Chicago imposed handgun registration in 1968, murders in the city increased.After D.C. banned handguns in 1976, its murder rate rose 201 percent through 1991, while the U.S. rate increased 12 percent. After Chicago banned handguns in 1982, its murder rate increased 49 percent through 1994, while the U.S. rate decreased one percent. And in the year following the repeal of D.C.'s handgun ban, its murder rate decreased 24 percent. In sum, the number of handguns is at an all-time, and the nation's murder rate is at a 45-year low.

To see these statistics in line graph form, please click here.


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