When it was reported this week that in ten short years the number of gun owners in California has more than doubled, the anti-gun crowd must have been spittin’ nails. They have, after all, made buying a gun about as easy as scaling Half Dome, right? As much of an exaggeration as this might be, it’s less far-fetched than ignorant claims that it’s easier to get a gun than to buy cigarettes.
Regardless, the truth is the truth. Despite some of the most restrictive laws in the country, Californians are still buying guns, and this is according to our own uber-friendly Department of Justice. (Exaggerating again). A lot of knickers were in a twist over these interesting revelations.
The Washington Free Beacon broke the report down and staff writers Stephen Gutowski and Charles Fain Lehman penned “as of 2019, there are more than 2.5 million gun owners in California, compared to fewer than a million in 2008. That figure translates to about 8 percent of Californian adults owning guns, compared to 3.4 percent in 2008—a more than two-fold increase, even when adjusting for population.”**
What’s more noteworthy, however, is that the article details how these numbers likely underestimate – and seriously so – the total number of gun owners in the Golden State. GOC agrees for many reasons, one being the abject mess of the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS), which has fallen far short of their goal of identifying individuals who are prohibited from firearm ownership. DOJ has been under fire for the past five years for the embarrassing backlog of identifying APPS subjects, many of whom are violent felons. Even with millions of new dollars having been added to the Department’s budget to fix this problem, the backlog remains above 10,000. Further adding to probable inaccuracies is that APPS relies on data from both the Dealer Records of Sale (transactions recorded by firearm dealers) and the Automatic Firearms System (list of guns required to be registered). The problem is, “full figures … are only available dating to the 1990s—and does not necessarily include all private sales.” Not necessarily, indeed!
While some may attribute the bump in gun ownership to advancements in DOJ recordkeeping and may not actually signal an increase in “the real population of gun owners,” GOC thinks otherwise. Gutowski and Lehman do as well, writing that “Data from the DROS database indicate a substantial increase in the total number of annual gun sales, tracking the trend in gun owners.”
This is significant because we have a host of goofy laws that have put more than a pinch on what we can buy in California. So-called “assault weapons” are a no no and we have a roster of supposedly “safe” handguns that we are “allowed” to buy (thanks mom and dad). Plus, we have a law that limits us to one handgun a month, which may include all types of guns if Senator Anthony Portantino get his way this year (see SB 61), Plus, we must take a special test to make sure we are qualified to reap the benefits of a Constitutional right. In spite of all this baloney, the people of California still buy guns.
In our view, this is predictable.
Gutowski and Lehman report that “The overall increase in ownership is surprising for two reasons. Firstly, it shows a steady increase in gun ownership even as California is widely regarded to have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation…Secondly, the spike in California gun ownership runs counter to trends in gun ownership identified in national surveys. Data from Gallup show that the percentage of Americans who have a gun in their home has remained roughly flat over the past ten years—around 40 percent of Americans have a gun in their home,” and “Data from other, less frequently administered surveys show similar trends: An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has consistently found between 40 and 50 percent of Americans have a gun in the home… These findings indicate the challenges of accurately measuring the number of gun owners in America.”
The California data measured against the national surveys show that while a smaller percentage of Californians own guns than the national average, the increase in ownership rates among Californians is far more pronounced than the nationwide trend.
The Free Beacon
The Free Beacon also reported insight from Professor David Yamane, who teaches sociology at Wake Forest University. “The restrictive nature of gun laws and political culture of California, especially in the most populated areas, makes a low estimate realistic, but 8% is well below survey-based estimates of around 15% that I have seen,“ he said. “And I would take any survey-based estimate as a minimum so the gun ownership rate is probably even higher then these government numbers say. So, this makes the situation confounding because you have a dramatic increase in the known gun ownership rate and yet even at the end of that increase at probably still under estimates actual gun ownership in California.”
GOC has always maintained that the number of Californians who have a gun in their home far surpasses government estimates. It’s likely, too, that the Department of Justice knows this, which is why they are so eager to register everything from ammunition to intra-familial transfers, etc.
The state will no doubt continue its vendetta against the 2nd Amendment, even though it hasn’t put dent in gun crimes. Neither has it put a chill on people in California who want to own guns, because as we all know, it’s a tangible and effective means of protection against the dangers of our very broken world.
**To read the full article, which includes excellent illustrative links and graphics, click here.