Ten Fundamental Gun Facts

On March 31, 1995, Tulane University criminologist James Wright delivered the following statment before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary. His straightforward facts show why gun control will never succeed, and why that is a good thing.

Dr. WRIGHT: Thank you so much, and thank you for the opportunity to be here. My name is James Wright... and I'm a professor of sociology at Tulane University. I've spent the last twenty years of my academic career conducting research on guns and violence in American society. In the course of these two decades, I have come to the conclusion that there are at least ten simple, but terribly important facts about guns in America that every participant in the gun control debate should be aware of. I have referred to these in a recent paper as "Ten Essential Observations on Guns in America," and my point is to share them with the Committee today.

While many of the facts of the gun control issue are hotly contested, and matters of great dispute, the ten fundamental truths that I wish to discuss are matters about which everyone more or less agrees.

  1. Half of U.S. households own guns
  2. 200,000,000 firearms are in the U.S. now
  3. Most guns are owned for recreation
  4. Many guns are owned for defense against crime
  5. Bad guys don't buy guns through retail channels
  6. Bad guys carry guns for surviving violent world
  7. Bad guys indifferent to existing gun control laws
  8. Demand for guns creates its own supply
  9. Guns are not inherently good or evil
  10. Guns are part of the American culture