Gun Sales Up, Crime Down. Naturally

Via PeterK, we have this from John Lott:

President Obama surely didn’t intend it, but he deserves some credit for last year’s 7.4 percent drop in murder rates. His election caused gun sales to soar, and crime rates to plummet.

At the same time gun sales were soaring, there was an unusually large drop in murder rates. The 7.4 percent drop in the murder rate was the largest drop in murder rates since the 1999. For those who don’t remember, 1999, when President Bill Clinton and Columbine occurred, was another time when gun sales soared. With people such as Elena Kagan serving as Mr. Clinton’s deputy domestic policy adviser were pushing hard for more gun control, Americans were worried that more gun bans were coming. And in response gun sales soared.

Arm Yourself with FactsWhile gun sales started notably rising in October 2008, sales really soared immediately after Mr. Obama won the presidential race. 450,000 more people bought guns in November 2008 than bought them in November 2007, that’s over a 40 percent increase in sales. By comparison, the change from November 2006 to November 2007 was only about 35,000. Over the last decade, the average year-to-year increase in monthly sales was only 21,000.

The increase in sales continued well beyond November 2008. From November 2008 to October 2009, almost 2.5 million more people bought guns in the 12 months after the election than in the preceding 12 months. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, doesn’t tell us how many guns each person bought just the number of people who bought them. Most likely though, gun sales rose by more than the number of people who purchased them.


  1. Anonymous says:

    “His election caused gun sales to soar, and crime rates to plummet.’

    What makes you so sure it was Obama’s election that made gun sales go up? We were on the verge of economic meltdown in September of 2008. You could just as easily explain gun sales with the fear of economic meltdown under McCain/Palin. You could link the murder rate to the relief that McCain wasn’t elected just as easily.

  2. amanda says:

    Gee, Anonymous the thousands of news stories on television and print showing people in line at gun stores saying, “I’m afraid Obama will take my guns” is a clear indication that Trey’s assertions were accurate. Many gun shops, in fact, ran out of ammunition, and only now are supplies being fully replenished.

    I didn’t see or find a single story saying “I’m buying this gun because I’m scared of Palin” or “I want to go moose huntin’ with the her.”

    File this under the law of unintended consequences, but in a good way.

  3. The Googles say:

  4. keith johnson says:

    I frequent gun shows, and right after the election I was standing in a line to get into the Market Hall gun show that snaked around the corner of the building deep into the parking lot; I’m not exaggerating when I say that line was ½ a mile long. Every conversation I over heard in the 50 minutes it took me to get into that show revolved around the election, and the fear that Obama would launch a gun grabbing campaign. These fears were not un warranted, as Obama spent several years on the board of the Joyce Foundation, a group that funnels money to gun control groups.
    Just now, ammo is making a comeback on the Walmart shelves, and just now gun prices have lowered to close to pre election retail.
    Anonymous can offer all the counter theories he/she chooses, the reality is there is a palpable fear of this president and his government, which has been reflected in gun sales around the country.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So, has Obama started the big gun-grab yet? Did I miss it?? I’d hate to think you guys spent all that time waiting to get your Uzi for naught.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What’s better for shooting meth-crazed liberals, a Desert Eagle or a Winchester pump?

  7. Anonymous says:

    “So, has Obama started the big gun-grab yet?”-Anonymous
    Not yet, he’s still working on destroying the economy, running off our allies and shoving Cap & Trade down our throats.
    Give him time.

  8. keith johnson says:

    Trey the above post was mine, dunno what I did wrong.

  9. amanda says:

    @ Anon 4:09…I always liked the Lady Colt. The pearl handle matches metrosexual fashion statements, and it fits nicely in a “murse.”

  10. Tim R. says:

    Never let it be said that I’m in favor of restricting gun rights– BUT, I know a spurious association when I see one .

    The headline implies a direct link between higher gun sales and lower crime. That’s bullshit.

    It’s like saying more churches causes more crime because the numbers show such a relationship (which, incidentally is an accurate correlation..) when the real culprit is higher population density causing both more churches and more crime.

    The drop in crime is nothing more than a demographic shift resulting from lower birthrates in the late 80′s and early 90′s, thus reducing the number of men in their early twenties that commit the crimes.