State Handgun Sales At Historic Low
Sales Surged Briefly After Sept. 11, But Are Down Over All
Cal State Dept. of Justice
(AP) (SACRAMENTO) Mar 18, 2002 5:26 pm US/Pacific
California gun sales surged briefly after September's terrorist attacks, but handgun sales for the year dropped to an all-time low, the California Department of Justice said Monday.
Weapons sales spiked by about 2,700 guns a week for about six weeks after Sept. 11, said spokesman Mike Van Winkle, to about 9,200 a week from an average 6,500 per week earlier in the year.
Then sales leveled off once more, resulting in total sales last year of 354,202 weapons -- "a fairly average year," Van Winkle said. Until Sept. 11, overall sales of handguns and long guns had been lagging far behind 2000 levels, and finished the year 8.2 percent below the 386,210 sales in 2000.
However, handgun sales dropped 23 percent, from 201,865 in 2000 to 155,203 last year, the fewest sales since record-keeping began in 1972. The previous low was in 1998, before fears of the approaching millennium sent sales higher in 1999.
Sales in recent years have been split roughly evenly between handguns and long guns. That is a shift from most of the 1990s, when handguns outsold rifles and shotguns about three-to-two.
Long gun sales topped handgun sales last year for only the second time since the state began keeping long gun records in 1991. Handguns also lagged long guns in 1999. Long gun sales increased 7.3 percent last year over 2000.
"It almost seemed like handgun sales almost stopped the last two months of the year," said Luis Tolley of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, formerly known as Handgun Control. "There's certainly been a major change in attitude about buying handguns -- whatever caused it. It's a great thing."
High-profile crimes committed with handguns may have made people gun shy, Tolley suggested. Also, he speculated the state's changing demographics may be playing a role, even as the state's population continues to grow.
But Ed Worley of National Rifle Association-California Grassroots said gun dealers tell him the majority of sales are to first-time buyers who "just decide they want protection, for whatever reason," including post-Sept. 11 trauma.
While handgun sales reached a historic low, ebbs and surges aren't uncommon, said Van Winkle. For instance, there was a big jump after the 1992 Los Angeles riots when a record 433,822 were sold, and a spike in 1999 likely prompted by the millennium scare and a pending ban on assault weapons.
Worley blamed last year's economic downturn.
"It's a discretionary item," Worley said. "I couldn't afford to go out and buy a new handgun right now."
-- continued --
The California Rifle and Pistol Association put up about 300 billboards in October with the message, "Society is safer when criminals don't know who's armed." However, the association said the campaign was planned and paid for before Sept. 11.
In response to that campaign, and to what it said was gun manufacturers' efforts to cash in on Sept. 11, the Washington-based
Alliance for Justice put up 135 billboards in the Los Angeles area in December asserting that guns bought for self-defense lead to an increase in domestic violence, suicide and accidental shootings.
The state justice department blocked 3,607 sales last year because the potential purchaser had a criminal record, an active warrant or restraining order, or a mental health history. The bulk of the blocked sales -- 2,875 of them -- were for criminal convictions.
(© 2002 The Associated Press.
Wait 'till next year with the new liscensing scheme. Well, I'm trying my best, just bought one and got my brother to buy one. Will try to squeeze in three more by the end of the year, but no more 'till I move out of this state. Handgun sales are going to way drop off next year when it becomes too much of a pain in the ass to buy one.
Of course sales drop off when they make it harder to buy.
Typical declaration of victory based on slim findings - yawn...
"He used a handgun in that crime. I don't want a gun because I might become a criminal too"
"He used a handgun, I won't buy a gun because I might act to defend myself"
I don't get it... I never have, I never will.
The new licensing thing is BS. Hell, I don't have a job and I bought a new Springfield a couple of weeks ago. Before the new year, I'm probably going to add a Wilson and a couple of Sigs and that will be that for a few years.
Among the many current irritations to buy a handgun in Kalifornia are:
*Obtaining the BFSC (Basic Firearms Safety Certificate), a disguised one-time taxation and no more.
*10 day waiting period, no %^#&$%(* NICS
*CA state D.R.O.S. fee now at about $24.00 in my area
*2002 requirement to purchase a DOJ-approved gunlock at $8.00+ w/ea gun OR provide proof of ownership of DOJ-approved gunsafe w/ appropriately signed affidavit of make and model, S/N [as I was told].
*[Can't forget]::::: 8% tax
*ONE handgun per month
Exhorbitant pricing on many premium brands. Some dealers just plain gouge people.
*My dealer(normally reasonable) now requires me to poney-up full amount for gun before even beginning the DROS 10-day wait even though we already have been paying for the DROS up front anyway. Dealer claims the state DOJ now charges the FFL for a failed DROS[blocked sale] application of a customer.
*Several pawnbrokers I know of are getting out of the gun business.
HAVE I MISSED ANY?
I guess these really ARE minor inconveniences compared to what's coming next year and ....
As of 2003, I won't be buying any handguns in CA. I'm getting it all done this year.
Who said "it never rains in California"???
I'm gonna be sick if I don't get out of this state soon.
Thanks for listening to me whine...
Handgun sales may be at an all time low, but it's not for a lack of trying on my part. I'm buying 'em as fast as I can.
But between the credit card bill and the one per month limit, that ain't very fast.