Just the facts according to ... << About the NRA and the Brady Campaign  

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The NRA and the Brady Campaign interpret the Second Amendment very differently: the NRA believes the right to keep and bear arms belongs to "the people", while the Brady Campaign argues this right belongs to "a well regulated militia." Unable to agree on the meaning of this single sentence, it is no surprise that the two groups present different statistics to support their positions.

Compare gun facts according to the NRA and the Brady Campaign. The numbers reflect data posted on the organizations’ Web sites as of April 2003, and provide the basis for their arguments over fundamental issues.

  Does gun legislation impact crimes involving gun violence?

NRA: The Gun Control Act was imposed in 1968, yet violent crime increased until 1991, and declined for three years preceding the 1994 Brady Act. 85% of police chiefs say the Brady Act’s waiting period for handgun purchase did not stop criminals from obtaining handguns.


Brady Campaign: In the six years following the 1994 Brady Act, 600,000 felons and other prohibited purchasers have been prevented from buying handguns from licensed dealers. By 1997, gun homicides had declined by 24% since 1993.

  Do concealed weapon laws help criminals or potential crime victims?

NRA: For each addition year that a law permitting concealed handguns is in effect, the murder rate declines by 3%, rape by 2%, and robberies by over 2%.


Brady Campaign: In states where it is illegal to carry concealed weapons, the crime rate has fallen by more than twice as much as in states permitting concealed weapons.

  What do comparisons of gun use in America versus gun use in other countries show?

NRA: Despite rigid gun laws in the 1980s and 1990s, Great Britain’s overall murder rate recently rose to the highest level since records began 100 years ago. Meanwhile, in America, the number of privately owned guns increased by 5.3 million each year during the violent crime rate decline of the 1990s.


Brady Campaign: In 1996, handguns were used to murder 2 people in New Zealand, 15 in Japan, 30 in Great Britain, 106 in Canada, and 9390 in the United States.

  Do guns in the home increase or decrease the security of the home?

NRA: Guns are used for protection 2.5 million times each year. Guns are used three to five times more often to stop crimes than commit them.


Brady Campaign: Guns in the home are 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal, unintentional or suicide-related shooting than in self-defense. When someone is home, a gun is used for protection in less than 2% of home invasion crimes.

  How many deaths are caused by gun accidents each year?

NRA: 824. Since 1930, the annual number of accidental deaths has decreased 74%.


Brady Campaign: 866. A study that compared 26 industrialized countries reported that the unintentional firearm death rate for children 0-14 is nine times higher in the U.S. than in the other 25 countries combined.

  How many children and teenagers are killed by guns each year?

NRA: In 1999, there were 488 firearm related deaths for children ages 0-14 and 2877 firearm related deaths for juveniles and young adults, ages 15-19, for a total of 3365. Only 2% of school administrators consider guns a serous problem on school grounds.


Brady Campaign: During 1999, 52% of all murder victims under 18 in the U.S. were killed by guns. In 1998, a total of 3,792 Americans ages 19 or under died by gunfire in murders, suicides and unintentional shootings. For every child killed with a gun, four are wounded.

  How many suicides by gun occur each year?

NRA: 7.35 per 100,000 people (note: equivalent to approx 21,000 based on 280 million Americans)


Brady Campaign: 16,599 (note: equivalent to 5.76 per 100,000 people based on 280 million Americans)

  What percentage of American households has guns?

NRA: 45%


Brady Campaign: 39%

Make your own decision about the gun debate - statistics are available at the following Web sites:

National Rifle Association
The Brady Campaign

Government sites:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Firearms Statistics
Bureau of Justice Firearms and Crime Statistics
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports
National Center for Health Firearm Mortality Statistics



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