Congress adopted most of our recommendations. But this bill--as big as this bill is--still falls short, because we just could not get the Congress to carry out the requests we made of them. I asked for the national registration of all guns and the licensing of those who carry those guns. For the fact of life is that there are over 160 million guns in this country -- more firearms than families. If guns are to be kept out of the hands of the criminal, out of the hands of the insane, and out of the hands of the irresponsible, then we just must have licensing. If the criminal with a gun is to be tracked down quickly, then we must have registration in this country. -- Lyndon Johnson, remarks on the signing of the GCA 1968, 22 October 1968.
"I signed the Gun Control Act of 1968 so why aren't you peasants paying any attention to it?"
In my Sunday post "Give me that old time (gun control) religion," I highlighted this statement from the latest Congressional Research Service report on gun control legislation:
"Per capita, the civilian gun stock has roughly doubled since 1968, from one gun per every two persons to one gun per person."
The CRS report also stated:
"By . . . 2009, the estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the United States had increased to approximately 310 million."
The official U.S. Census Bureau announced that the "2010 Census showed the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2010, was 308,745,538," so actually the number was slightly more than one firearm per person in 2009. What I neglected to give you, my readers, was the number of Americans in 1968 so that you would have a baseline to appreciate how firearms ownership has grown since the modern push for citizen disarmament began 45 years ago.
Well, here it is. In 1970, two years later, the Nineteenth United States Census determined the resident population of the United States to be 203,392,031. Thus, if we accept that the number of firearms at the time was one per every two persons that gives us something in the neighborhood of 101,000,000 in 1968.
So, by the CRS report's count, the frantic efforts of the gun banners have not only doubled the number of weapons per person, but they have more than tripled the aggregate number of firearms in the country.
The statement of Lyndon Johnson quoted above puts the number at 160 million, but this was provided him by the gun control lobby and although one guess may be as good as another (we will never know how many firearms were brought back from America's foreign wars in barracks bags and footlockers), it was criticized at the time as an overstatement. Even if we accept it as fact, that suspect statistic still reflects a doubling of the aggregate number of firearms in the country.
Personally, I think Johnson's number was inflated. Even so, give me some more of that old time gun control religion.
It's good enough for me.