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An Analysis of the Decline in Gun Dealers: 1994 to 2007

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Publication Date: August 2007

Publisher(s): Violence Policy Center

Topic: Economics (Economic policy, planning, and development)
Social conditions (Urban conditions)
Social conditions (Social policy)

Keywords: gun laws; licensing reforms

Coverage: United States


According to this study, the number of federally licensed gun dealers in the United States dropped from 245,628 in 1994 to 50,630 in 2007—an 80 percent decrease. It finds the decline is the result of licensing reforms implemented in the early 1990s, combined with changes to the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (the “Brady Law”) and the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

The report examines the causes and importance of the drop in gun dealers, details legislative efforts by the gun lobby to reverse the decline, and offers recommendations to further improve the regulation of gun dealers. The study updates “More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations”—the first national look at abuses by gun dealer license holders—published in 1992 by the Violence Policy Center. Then, the number of Americans who possessed the basic federal license required to sell firearms— outnumbered gas stations 245,000 to 210,000, with the bulk of the licenses being held by illegitimate "kitchen-table" dealers.


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