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Bottom line: About 4.5 million households own 165 million guns—an average of 37 firearms per household.... You may have noticed that every time a new gun law is enacted, or even seriously considered, the media reports a gun-buying bonanza. They make it seem like more and more Americans are arming themselves. But that’s not true. Instead, a small percentage of people are building larger and larger arsenals of guns. Because the gun lobby blocks all reasonable oversight, we can only estimate the numbers—but they are astonishing.

The percentage of American households owning guns has declined for decades. The General Social Survey, housed at the University of Chicago, found that about half of all households owned guns in the 1970s and that has gradually declined to 34 percent of households. Gallup and Pew poll results are similar; they say 37 percent of households now own guns. The cause for this decline is fairly simple: with urbanization, fewer and fewer young Americans are learning to hunt or target-shoot.

At the same time, the number of guns in circulation keeps rising. In our country, there are between 270 and 310 million guns in civilian hands with another 8 million manufactured or imported into the country every year.

There are about 115 million households in the U.S. If we take the more cautious figure of 37 percent gun ownership, about 42.5 million households own about 290 million guns, an average of nearly seven guns per household. That’s pretty extraordinary. But like any activity, there is always a fairly small group that accounts for a disproportionate number.

We can get an idea of the number of arsenal owners by examining data from a poll of gun owners conducted by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Question: “How many guns do you or does a member of your family own?”

About 10 percent of gun owners belong to the NRA. You can do the math yourself. I estimate the owners of one-to-nine guns possess a total of about 125 million firearms. That means the “10 or more” respondents represent about 4.5 million households that own 165 million firearms—an average of about 37 guns per household. And that’s just an average, which means some very large number (a half million?) own more than 100 guns.

A few conclusions:

FIRST: This demonstrates the tremendous need for background check laws to cover private sales. The number of potential private sellers with gigantic quantities of guns dwarfs licensed dealers. There are a few more than 50,000 retail gun stores in America. So, depending on how they’re defined, there are perhaps 50 arsenal-owners for every retail gun store.

SECOND: When you wonder why the NRA is so extreme, it’s because the arsenal owners control it. Poll after poll shows that the NRA’s political positions do not in any way reflect the opinions of gun owners or even rank-and-file NRA members. The NRA is run by and for a group of people who are extremely far outside the American mainstream.

THIRD: If the federal government won’t do it (and it won’t anytime soon), states should create arsenal licenses. There is little practical difference between licensed gun dealers and unlicensed arsenal owners. They both possess many dangerous weapons, and that calls for some minimum standards to protect the general public. There’s already a model bill—the Gun Violence Prevention Act of 1994 contained a provision (Section 204) to require an arsenal license for the possession of more than 20 firearms or more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. I drafted that and it’s still a good idea after all these years.

This article is cross-posted at the Public Leadership Institute's IdeaLog.

Originally posted to Bernie Horn on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:30 AM PST.

Also republished by notRKBA, Shut Down the NRA, and Firearms Law and Policy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  but people NEED fifty guns in their house . . . . (15+ / 0-)

    for defense. What happens if a bad guy breaks into your house carrying 49 guns?  How are you going to win the firefight without having 50 guns of your own?

    And what if you have to fight off Communist cops someday to protect freedomz? WOLVERINES !!!!!!!!!!


    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:42:20 AM PST

    •  Guys with arsenals don't scare me. (8+ / 0-)

      I imagine (with no evidence, but it sounds correct) that people with 10 guns spend more time thinking about them, locking them up, and learning how to use them safely.

      I am more concerned with the guy who has one gun and doesn't know to keep if from his kid, or how to use it safely. Or who bought that One Gun because he wants to shoot someone.

      I would be interested in seeing statistics showing how many gun crimes are committed by arsenal owners versus single-gun owners.

      •  Even that guy doesn't scare me. (12+ / 0-)

        Fact is, gun accidents are pretty rare (1/7th the fatality rate per capita as 50 years ago); and homicides by people with no prior record even more so.

        At least 80% of homicides, generally, are committed by people with prior criminal convictions - most of those felony convictions; if one were to exclude justifiable and excusable homicides, that number would climb. Similarly, victims of homicide have prior convictions and arrests at rates similar to those that commit them.

        The only sort of person I am concerned about with a gun is someone engaged in criminal enterprise. And even then, because I'm not also engaged in criminal enterprise, I'm at comparatively low risk even from him.

        Portraying the violence rate in this country as being an issue of crazed loner gun collectors is absurd. It's overwhelmingly criminals killing criminals.

        Want to cause the homicide rate to crash?

        1) Put the effort that goes into random stop-and-frisk and other profile-based harassment into surveilling known offenders with violent priors. Hartford, CT did this, and their gun homicide rate plunged by half.

        2) End drug prohibition, and other prohibitions that simply pump money - and the incentive to violently defend it - into criminal enterprise. Oh, and doing this would free up the resources to do the above.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:22:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  your figures also show why the whole "protection!" (7+ / 0-)

          argument is simply silly.

          Virtually nobody in the US is killed by a stranger with a gun. When someone breaks into your house, he wants your jewelry and your TV set, not your life. The overwhelming majority of people who are killed with a gun are killed by someone they already know. The whole "I need a gun to protect me from homicidal strangers !!!" story is just nonsense. The reality is that even if you never own a gun in your entire life, the odds are tremendously that no stranger will ever pull a gun on you at all, much less break into your house with the intention of killing you. Particularly now, that the crime rate in the US has been steadily declining for years.

          So people who use a gun in self-defense are FAR more likely to use it to shoot their neighbor or their sibling or their co-worker than they are to shoot a strange intruder.  But alas, the gun industry recognizes that "You may need to shoot your boyfriend!!!" isn't a very appealing advertising slogan--hence all the "one of THOSE people may break in and rob you!!" imagery instead.

          The entire "self-defense" industry is based on the fact that humans are terrible at risk assessment, and tend to fearfully pee their pants in terror at the possibility of something that is in fact virtually nonexistent. (The "national security" state, btw, is based on the same silly pants-peeing; virtually nobody, worldwide, is ever killed by terrorists--you have a better chance of winning the lottery and becoming a millionaire.)

          The self-defense industry of course also plays on some people's superhero fantasies, as well--"be the hero who pulls the gun and thwarts the crime !!!"--once again, an incident which virtually never actually happens in reality, but one that many people find very appealing anyway.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:38:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have an argument in favor of "self-defense". (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kentucky Kid, Joy of Fishes

            Criminals also suffer from the inability to assess risks.

            I believe that a person living alone in a rural area is made safer by gun ownership. Not because they actually have a gun, but because they might have a gun.  The fact that a gun might be there deters criminals.

            I often stay at an isolated house in a rural area. I'm all alone. I'm unarmed. But I know that nobody will bother me because gun ownership is widespread in that area. Only a fool would look for trouble in that part of the country.

            •  au contraire, that only increases the risks of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              88kathy, dawgflyer13

              gun deaths, including your own. If the criminals think you have a gun, they bring more criminals with more guns--and a gunfight ensues.  If guns in houses really deterred crime, we'd be the lowest-crime country on the planet, and Japan would be number one.

              The criminals want your TV, not your life. If people were not so stupid as to fight to the death (literally) for their TV set (!!!), no one would get killed in robberies. Me, if a robber wants my TV, I'll happily help him carry it to his car. Nothing in my house--absolutely nothing at all--is worth either him or me dying for, and I have zero superhero fantasies. And I think engaging in a gun fight over my TV set is absolutely the stupidest thing I can ever think of anyone doing.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:19:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Which one of that bunch of criminals is going to be the first in the door, the first to catch a shotgun blast in the face? Which one of them is going to volunteer for that?

                When looking at a house that has a likelihood of having a gun owning occupant, each individual is not going to want to be the first in the door, each individual is going to want someone else or several someone elses to go through the door first.

          •  Longer Parole terms for gun violence! (0+ / 0-)

            Parolees face enhanced supervision and understand that supervision term much better than probationers.  When an individual offender is released from prison who has been convicted of a gun offense, that offender should face an extended period of parole - not the standard 1 or 2 years.

            There is no reason to continue to treat addiction with incarceration.  Violence and larceny - when there is no possibility for restitution should be subject to incarceration.

            My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

            by NM Ray on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 02:18:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  And those (4+ / 0-)

      descending from rope ladders out of all those black helicopters!

      "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

      by lyvwyr101 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:09:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  34%? (8+ / 0-)

    Two thirds of us don't have guns?
    That other third sure gets a lot of attention considering their minority.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:43:28 AM PST

  •  it would be interesting to see that chart (9+ / 0-)

    expanded with respect to people who own 11-15 guns, 16-20 guns, etc.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:45:14 AM PST

  •  A wonderful idea. (9+ / 0-)

    Who genuinely needs dozens of assault rifles? Did the framers of the Holy Second Amendment actually have racist loners with mental illness collecting massive arsenals in mind when they drafted the legislation?

    In 1785, the potential 'collateral damage' of one deranged crank with a single-shot muzzle-loading musket was pretty limited, and (though I completely disagree) one can make a defensible argument that the 2nd Amendment really did mean any fool can have a gun in the closet, rather than permitting organized State militias.

    But in 2014, it's flat-out insane for us to continue to permit maniacs with grudges to accumulate lethal arsenals of rapid-fire military grade assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Our friends, neighbors and children are paying the price in blood every single day in America.

    •  Hard to know (5+ / 0-)

      Did the framers of the holy 1st amendment have in mind racist loners with mental illness and purveyors of porn posting all over the internet when they acknowledged the right of free speech? If they didn't, well, then we should definitely restrict their activities. And, of course, we all believe that the framers' original intent is the controlling factor.

      •  guns don't kill people! (0+ / 0-)

        but beware deranged internet postings!

        /snark (just in case that is not obvious to all concerned)

        •  Wrong way 'round (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Arguably, guns also save lives and protect property. The issue is to how to accommodate the right, not to tailor the right to accommodate other concerns. The right to determine the measures necessary for self-defense is held to be more fundamental than the repercussion of its exercise—that's why it's a right and not a privilege or permit.

          One might as well claim that because censoring speech or prohibiting free exercise of religion kills absolutely no one, that there is a reasonable argument that such censorship is benign and permissible.

          And once past all that, I would remind that I actually responded to the argument that our understanding of how a right might be exercised is tied to how it was understood by the Framers. Oddly, my impression is that few here on DKOS would wish to take that approach for the either the 1st or 4th amendments.

  •  I think the 6+ qualifies as an arsenal. (9+ / 0-)

    A pistol for 'self-defense', maybe a target pistol, a few different types of rifles/shotguns for different types of hunting, and then you're getting into 'arsenal' range.

    •  An example of an"arsenal". (4+ / 0-)

      If I bought one weapon for each of those categories, and upgraded half of them once per decade and kept the old ones for sentimental reasons, I'd still have several times your "arsenal" definition.

      •  And what would be the problem with calling a (2+ / 0-)

        spade a spade and getting a license?

        Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

        by 88kathy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:06:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And so? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber

        Does the word 'arsenal' somehow not apply if you amass a large number of weapons as a result of 'sentimental' reasons?

        •  Why should it? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kasoru, KVoimakas

          Why should any word be inappropriately redefined for propaganda purposes?

          ar·se·nal (noun)
          A governmental establishment for the storing, development, manufacturing, testing, or repairing of arms, ammunition, and other war materiel.

          There are other definitions, but if you read them all you will see that "arsenal" is just a buzzword designed to generate heat rather than light. For instance, the diary is not titled "The Case for a Gun Collector License". That's not scaaaaary, but "arsenal" brings up all sort of mental imagery that helps push an agenda but is completely inaccurate. It might as well be a Fox News headline.

          But I suppose your opinion is valid as long as you agree that other people get the right to define "abortion" as "murder" and regulate it as such...

          •  I didn't get my definition from the same (0+ / 0-)

            dictionary you did, but around here it just means 'a place where a lot of weapons are stored'.

            •  Yeah, well (0+ / 0-)

              there are some parts of the "around here" where "abortion doctor" just means "baby murderer", but that doesn't make it so, now does it?

              Propaganda is a science and the use of inappropriate words to manipulate public sentiment is a classic technique. It is called transfer or transference, where you start people associating one word with something else, either in a positive or negative sense. For instance, what connotations do conservatives constantly associate with "socialism" or "Islam"? Or the entire Southern Strategy? You may also hear something like this referred to as "dog whistle politics".

              And then tell me that associating the connotations of "arsenal" (military, war, mass destruction, outfitting an army) with "guy who has accumulated a dozen guns over several decades" is not more of the same?

              Pull my other finger.

            •  A more appropriate term would be 'armory'. (0+ / 0-)

              But even that is not really correct unless the owner happens to be a gunsmith or range owner.  Maybe we ought to just stick with "collection".

              "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

              by DaveinBremerton on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:05:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  What percentage of arsenal owners (6+ / 0-)

    are dealers or resellers? Because that could be driving the extremism as much as the manufacturers themselves.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:05:49 AM PST

    •  Just a small percentage... (2+ / 0-)

      There are only 130,000 federally-licensed dealers, collectors and importers combined.

      •  You (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darwinian Detrius

        do not need a license to sell a gun in the US.

        "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

        by Kevskos on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:47:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bernie - is there any data to suggest (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IndieGuy, KVoimakas, meagert, Kentucky Kid

        that people who own more than 20 guns commit more crimes, or deal in more illegal arms sales, than people who own less than 20 guns?

        I have never owned a gun but 1,000 rounds of ammunition seems like a very small amount to be considered an "arsenal". If someone did a lot of target shooting with multiple pistols and rifles you could use 1,000 rounds quickly.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:54:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good point, but there's no way to know (7+ / 0-)

          We are probably the only country in the world that allows the unlicensed possession of 20+ guns. Because there is no license, we know nothing about these folks--even how many there are. My guess would be they do not commit more crimes than average but many buy and sell guns as often as licensed dealers and ought to be treated as such.

          •  Bernie - how do we know that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IndieGuy, KVoimakas

            they buy and sell as many guns as a dealer?

            If that's the issue shouldn't the proposed law place a limit on transactions rather than registering the guns? Registration is the big line in the sand for gun rights supporters. It will be difficult to create any national laws that require registration. However, if you had universal background checks you could have purchase and sale limits that would require registration as a dealer.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:30:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cannot know... (4+ / 0-)

              because there are no records. I agree that the real issue is universal background checks--these private sellers evade the checks when they sell. I am suggesting that, based solely on the tremendous numbers of owners (and what I personally know of collectors) that they may very well account for more gun sales than licensed dealers--or at least a huge number--that should be subject to background checks. I agree that the owners themselves are averse to registration, but you already have to register if you own a machinegun or sawed-off weapon, there is a federal collectors license that I think they are evading, and the public is strongly for licensing. As a practical political matter, I agree that licensing is off the table in Congress for many years in the future.

            •  I am hearing that the community has no (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Glen The Plumber

              say in how an arsenal of deadly weapons is stored, accounted for, or maintained. Because everything is fine.

              Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

              by 88kathy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:10:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Data points (0+ / 0-)

            I recently got back from a trip to Europe. Met a guy in a gun store in northern Finland who had over seventy guns. He was an unusual case, but did not require any special permit because he owned that many. Switzerland does have limits on how many guns of a few specific types you can own, but for some classes of firearm you are allowed an unlimited number, and in the Czech Republic if you have a permit for a class of firearm you can buy as many of that weapon as you wish. None of these three countries have limits on the quantity of ammunition you may have for a weapon.

            All of these countries do require licensing to own a firearm, but for the most part once you have that license, there are no limits on how many of them you can have.

        •  I would bet there's evidence to suggest (0+ / 0-)

          that people who own a lot of guns are considered better targets for thieves who feel the need to obtain guns illegally.  

          They'll be easier to rob than actual dealers, while still having lots of expensive weapons to steal.

          Once stolen, it doesn't matter if a gun was originally 'legal'.

          •  Which begs a couple of points... (0+ / 0-)

            (1)  We already know that public data about gun ownership cannot be trusted in the hands of zealots.  Remember when The Journal News published the names and addresses of all concealed-carry permit holders in two New York counties?  If the names and addresses of owners of large collections of firearms were similarly published, one could reasonably expect it to result in targeting of those residences.

            (2)  The more productive focus would be on setting safe storage requirements and promoting the purchase of effective safe storage materials and strategies, not on collecting ownership data.  Focusing on safe storage would harden gun collections against theft, which accomplishes the goal of reducing the number of firearms getting into the hands of criminals.

            As I said earlier, collecting data merely makes a single-point failure node...all that is needed is one zealot with an ideological axe to grind and anyone on the list could end up targeted by thieves, which might negate any safety benefit gleaned from collecting the data in the first place.

            "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

            by DaveinBremerton on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:23:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The people (6+ / 0-)

    accumulating the arsenals are never going to feel safe---no matter  how big their arsenal is.

    It is never going to be enough---their arsenals are stored in bottomless pits.

    "The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?”---Bob Marley

    by lyvwyr101 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:13:42 AM PST

  •  Actually the gun manufacturers (4+ / 0-)

    control the NRA.  They went from being a voice for gun owners and gun safety to being shills for the industry.

    I know some legitimate hunters who might have ten guns, some purchased for various sporting purposes, others are heirlooms.  It is likely that many of the "arsenals" are owned by such people.  

    Here is a non-threatening arsenal scenario:

    2 scoped large caliber rifles for hunting large game
    2 scoped small caliber rifles for plinking, small game
    3 shotguns, maybe two for upland bird hunting, another for waterfowl
    3 handguns for no particular reason.

    Any one of these categories might include family heirlooms, which tend to be used only lightly to preserve them.

    Long term, the answer to gun violence is not more control, but to change society itself, especially income inequality.  Happy, prosperous people don't go on shooting rampages.  We need to be more like Switzerland.

    •  I agree that hunters may own 10 guns... (7+ / 0-)

      but that's only a tiny percentage of gun owners and accounts for a mighty small percentage of guns in civilian hands. The majority of guns are owned by this category of collectors/militia-types who have an average of 37 per household. As for the manufacturers, I think they would have agreed to background checks for all private sales long, long ago--after all, they don't profit from secondhand sales by private owners. The fact that the NRA puts the private sellers over the manufacturers and retail dealers' best interests suggests it's the arsenal-owners who control that group.

      •  Clarification? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IndieGuy, Kasoru

        First, you have some statements like "tiny percentage" that would be better off with some documentation and detail. Is "tiny" 1 percent? 10 percent? 20 percent?

        Second, wouldn't there be a difference between a "collector" and a "militia type", rather than lumping them together? One of those seems a lot more legitimate and less threatening than the other.

        •  Roughly 35% of gun owners are hunters (0+ / 0-)

          per 2010 CRS source cited by Pew in the same document sourced for 310 million firearms.

          CRS cites 2009 ATF on the 310 million, but that figure includes guns available for sale by licensed dealers (of which there are roughly 130K per the ABC link).  My rough guess would be around 20% of those are held by dealers.  Of course, gun ownership has increased in the intervening 4 years, but this number also includes guns owned by private firing ranges, hunting lodges, etc.

          The same source says that 310 million is composed of: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns.  

          Leaving aside for a moment the loaded nature of this issue, most people have more than one pair of shoes, because they are of different types.  As Zygoat describes above, even within the broad categories, there are very significant differences.  I would lay pretty good money that most people with a deer rifle also have a .22.  A lot of folks with a 12-gauge, also have a 20-gauge, in the same way that most people have at least two sizes of Phillips screwdriver.

          The wording of the Luntz survey is interesting, since it does not specify that the family members at issue are members of the same household.  Luntz often commissions polls specifically for use in political ads and campaigns, not as unbiased research.  

          Pollsters like Pew and Gallup generally agree that getting accurate data on the number of firearms and firearm owners is much more difficult than the typical polling problem, as explained in the link to Pew.  

          Census data for 2012 show 27.7 million households with 4 or more members.  In gun owning households, I suspect it is not unusual for more than one family member to own weapons.

          Note: I do not own a gun, and I support significant regulation of firearms under the 2nd Amendment, although I do not vote on this issue and do not consider it a litmus test for Democrats.  I also support fairly sourced and reasoned argumentation.  One of the many regulations I would be happy to see is a law allowing federally funded research on these topics.

          I have a great many family members and friends who I am quite confident are not illegal gun dealers, who have multiple firearms, which they are not stockpiling for Armageddon.  

          Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

          by benamery21 on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:27:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I've known a few 'casual' hunters, and none of (0+ / 0-)

      them had more than three weapons for hunting.  But I imagine it's like any 'sport'.  There's a wide range in how much equipment and paraphernalia you have depending upon how obsessed you are.  The people I know basically just get their license, go out in season, and shrug if they don't get their tag limit.

  •  "There oughtta be a Law" (9+ / 0-)

    Not trying to be oppositional here...
     There is an "arsenal" type Law, already, I believe. Last I remember, if you own 100 guns, you need to obtain a special license. Arbitrary numbers, I know. Maybe it should be the twenty you suggest, who cares. The facts are what I look for in enacting any Law. Please show me the numbers, or even what you think might be the justification for enacting such a law. Has it been proven that "arsenal" owners are a detriment to society? Are they the highest percentage cause of firearms crime? Do they even commit ANY %?
     If the only reason you want this Law is in hopes that it reduces the number of firearms injuries, or reduces the amount of firearms that are created and owned, then you really don't have a democratic case for it, without, at least, some causal relationship between numbers owned, and injuries occurring.
     I know a megafuckload ton of firearms owners. In all my years, I knew of one person who even came close to the 100 gun owners, a handful of 10-12, and most under 6.
     This sounds like "we gotta do something". Maybe we do, but this would certainly, IMHO, be on the most bottom rung of proposals.

    Join the Koskraft Group Koskraft

    by meagert on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:26:54 AM PST

    •  So no one knows the rate of turn over in the (0+ / 0-)

      50 gun arsenal. It is fluid and not accounted for. I could easily have 50 guns at one time and 1,000 guns over a year's time. There is no license required to sell guns.

      Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

      by 88kathy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:13:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent idea. (nt) (4+ / 0-)

    An HR from a member of the RKBA is like an F rating from the NRA
    ---We Shall Overcome (12/3/13)---

    by earlybird on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:30:32 AM PST

  •  What can you do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, notrouble

    with eleven guns that you can't do with ten? Why do you think paperwork keeps anybody safe?

    •  It's all about pretending to do something. (5+ / 0-)

      Somebody must be punished, so why not start with folks who aren't breaking any laws? It's easier than doing anything about the actual causes.

      •  It is a reasonable step (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, Glen The Plumber

        The U.S. has tremendously more guns and tremendously more gun crimes than any civilized nation. This is because our gun laws aren't civilized. Licensing (and/or universal background checks) is a very mild step. Everybody continues to have the ability to keep as many guns as they want. But we need a few measures to help curtail gun trafficking to felons, not to mention Mexican drug cartels. Modest laws, on any subject, do not "solve" a problem. But in this case, some lives would be saved at extremely little inconvenience to the sellers.

        •  It is UNreasonable, for all the stated reasons. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shamash, notrouble

          You have nothing to back up your assertions here other than to say, "I'd feel really, really good about myself if this came about." Please go through the diary and answer the questions put to you about what factual basis you have for saying this will make any difference whatsoever.

        •  It should make you feel safer... (0+ / 0-)

          The fewer households that hold all the guns the less potential there is to use those guns. After all, you can't shoot more than 2 guns at once!

          To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

          by notrouble on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:00:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  For the same reasons we do it for many other (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber, 88kathy


      Regulations, which you refer to as "paperwork", save many, many lives every year.  Safety regulations in cars is a good example.

      We require licenses for many things, including driving and hunting, for safety reasons.

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:53:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I call it paperwork (0+ / 0-)

        because the author only proposes an arsenal license. Since registration does not exist, he is basically just asking people who own some arbitrary number of guns to fill out a form informing the government that he owns more than some arbitrary number of guns. Other than having another piece of paper to keep track of, nothing has changed.

    •  Be a under the table gun dealer. 10 guns at a time (0+ / 0-)

      Not accounted for, no license required to sell guns. 10 or 11 guns on the premises could easily mean any number over time.

      Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

      by 88kathy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:15:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is the contents of my "arsenal" (6+ / 0-)

    I count 7 long guns and 3 pistols, purchased or inherited over a period of 30 years.  Nearly all are hunting rifles or shotguns.  I haven't bought a firearm in about 12 years.

    One of those long "guns" is a crossbow, which would be my preferred deer hunting tackle if the State-O-Washington would come to realize that, compared to modern archery and modern muzzle loaders, my crossbow is the only primitive weapon that's still primitive.  Instead they see it as hunting's answer to nuclear weapons (but I digress).

    I keep this apparently massive pile of Armageddon locked in a big steel fire safe that is bolted to a concrete floor and a couple concrete walls because I'm trying to give some crack head a disabling back injury.  First he has to get past the nosy neighbors, loud dog who absolutely will bite, and house full of teenagers and cell phones.

    While I'd use a firearm in self defense if one were handy, my major defensive strategy revolves around 911, a healthy sense of cowardice, a 3-foot hickory pick handle, and being perpetually broke due to the fact that a house full of teenagers is like having a colony of carnivorous termites.

    I think I'm a fairly typical hunting-oriented gun owner (dog and teenagers may vary).

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:28:40 AM PST

    •  I visited my my fathers sister on the east coast . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Glen The Plumber, 88kathy, WakeUpNeo

      Her husband had an arsenal . He has his guns all over the house is display cases . His home looked like a gun shop .

      "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

      by indycam on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:58:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly the wrong thing to do (0+ / 0-)

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

        by DaveinBremerton on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:47:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Really ? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber

          I've been informed on this site by the leader of the gun group that he feels free to have his guns not locked up and that people who suggest that his guns should be locked up are wrong . He has said that his guns are in his home and that he will keep them out and that anyone who touches them / takes them are criminals .

          "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

          by indycam on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:02:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I take it you don't read all my comments. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DaveinBremerton, Kasoru

            I lock up all my firearms so they're inaccessible to unauthorized users.

            Well, except the one I'm carrying.

            And yes, anyone who takes a firearm from my house without my permission is a criminal. This is...not ok?

          •  He certainly is free to do so (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But, as he states himself in this thread, he doesn't.  40 years ago shooters often had their long guns on display in glass-fronted cabinets.  I haven't seen one of those things since the late 1980's.

            I would love to see the CDC free to study firearms ownership from a variety of perspectives, including the impact of safety training and secure storage on firearms-related injury and death statistics.  I suspect ownership risk is heavily skewed away from experienced, trained gun owners who diligently lock up weapons that aren't under their immediate control.

            "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

            by DaveinBremerton on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 01:55:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not Sure I've Ever Seen An Actual Glass Gun Case (0+ / 0-)

     someone's house.  Mostly just on old tv shows where someone dramatically smashes the glass to grab a gun.

              I've certainly never seen one for sale in a store.

              Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

              by bernardpliers on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:56:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Glass-fronted (0+ / 0-)

                You know, the old colonial style hardwood display lockers with a glass paneled door.  One could buy them from the Sears catalog when I was a kid, but I haven't seen one in forever.

                "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

                by DaveinBremerton on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:05:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  How many arms do these people have? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kasoru, KVoimakas, IndieGuy, notrouble, 88kathy

    Because unless they grow a new one for each gun, owning ten guns makes them no more dangerous than owning one.

  •  How many cars before you're a car dealer? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kasoru, KVoimakas, IndieGuy

    Owning a lot of something does not make you a dealer in that something. Otherwise, one look in my medicine cabinet and you'd decide I'd need a pharmacy license.

    The point is, we already license gun dealers and have for nearly a century. We already have laws on the books to prosecute people who run unlicensed dealerships under the guise of oodles of "private sales". We already have laws that make "straw purchases" illegal. So making the assumption that ownership of X guns or Y bullets makes you the equivalent of a dealer is silly. For instance, take the statement:

    There is little practical difference between licensed X dealers and unlicensed (lots of X) owners.
    Does owning 10 plots of land make me a real estate broker?
    Does owning 10 cats make me a pet store?
    Does owning 10 bottles of whiskey make me a liquor store?
    Does having a big pantry make me a supermarket?
    Does owning a fuel bunker for my heavy equipment make me a gas station?

    I fail to see the purpose the diarist's proposal serves that is not equally or better served by enforcing existing laws. Much like would be done to me if I started selling whiskey off my back porch.

    It is a solution in search of a problem, written by someone with zero familiarity with firearms. As a child I would blow through 500 rounds of .22 rimfire ammo in an afternoon. With a manually reloaded lever-action rifle. Needing an "arsenal license" to go down to the hardware store and buy a couple bricks (500 rounds each) of .22 ammo for plinking?


    •  There are no licenses for selling guns. There (0+ / 0-)

      are no licenses for having an arsenal. How would you ever know a private arsenal was not an under the table gun dealer.

      Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

      by 88kathy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:18:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Presumption of guilt is a liberal value? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In some quarters, apparently so. But it sounds more to me like a perfect storm of fear, ignorance and intolerance.

        I've got a big box of Sudafed in my medicine cabinet. How would anyone ever know I'm not an under the table meth cooker?

        I've also got a penis, so I'm apparently also under suspicion for being an under the table rapist. Does anyone know where I can get a permit to let me avoid that stigma?

        And yes, there are licenses for being a gun dealer, so if you are an under the table gun dealer you are breaking the law.

        But thank you for playing. Please don't let the reality door hit your ass on the way out.

        •  Sudafed bad example (0+ / 0-)
          Sales limits (per customer):

              Daily sales limit—must not exceed 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine base without regard to the number of transactions
              30-day (not monthly) sales limit—must not exceed 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine base if sold by mail order or "mobile retail vendor"
              30-day purchase limit—must not exceed 9 grams of pseudoephedrine base. (A misdemeanor possession offense under 21 U.S.C. § 844a for the person who buys it.)

          Now they have the 2nd (safety net for sloppy) Amendment, and can't be infringed to actually treat their gun like a gun and not a video game controller.

          by 88kathy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:44:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a perfect example (0+ / 0-)

            Your logic presumes that because I own something that can be misused then I intend to misuse it. Presumption of guilt.

            And look! Regulations on the commercial sale of it. Just like there are regulations and licensing for being a commercial seller of guns. And I bet there are already criminal penalties for being an unlicensed drug seller. Just like there already are for dealing guns illegally.

            The proposed legislation does nothing to solve the problem that the diarist complains about because it does nothing that is not already handled by existing legislation.

            Now, if you want to send a letter to Eric Holder and ask him why 100,000 people who failed background checks due to being a felon were allowed to walk away from an attempt to illegally purchase a gun, then maybe you'll find people like me willing to co-sign it. Yes, something like two-thirds of the people who fail a background check in a gun store are indicted or convicted felons (47%) or fugitives (19%). These guys are not the sharpest tools in the shed and are low-hanging fruit for law enforcement.

            We have laws. Laws that people like me support. But which are not being enforced. So, enforce what we have, show me the results and then come back to me with suggestions for improvement.

  •  The numbers may need some changes (5+ / 0-)

    More than ten guns per person and more that 1,000 rounds, seems low and or subject to gaming.

    My home has 19 long guns and four hand guns. But no one person "owns" more than nine.

    The 1,000 is way low. I will go through a brick of 500 in an afternoon at the range with our three .22's. When at an IDPA event 250 rounds will go quickly, and I'll have over 2,000 for training and practice. Per pistol.

    Having to get a permit or license to have an "arsenal" sounds good, but how or what does it do to make things safer? Unless the goal is to not allow arsenals at all.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:00:35 AM PST

  •  There is already a license for this (0+ / 0-)

    It's called a Federal Firearms License.

  •  How does an arsenal license increase safety? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kasoru, Shamash

    I'm not seeing what the license would prevent from occurring.  If I wanted to sell guns under-the-table, I'd simply not keep enough inventory to meet the definition of an arsenal.  I'd also do as much buying as possible through newspaper classified ads or at estate sales and simply stay off the radar.

    The claim that 'arsenal' owners are no different that gun stores is an opinion that relies on the assumption that 'arsenal' owners are frequently selling firearms.  This is a dubious assumption for which no supporting data is provided.

    I fear the unskilled or careless gun owner who possesses a few unsecured firearms a whole lot more than I fear the arsenal collector who is skilled at safe handling and storage techniques.

    I think public safety would be better served via a focus on firearms safety training, safe storage requirements, and penalties for unsafe handling or storage that result in injury, death, or minors having unsupervised possession of a firearm--with and added penalty for the kid taking a gun to school.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 12:15:50 PM PST

  •  Just prosecute reckless "owners"... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shamash, DaveinBremerton

    There are enough "gun laws".

    Why fabricate the concept of "arsenals"? We only have two hands, and "arsenal" owners aren't fielding armies, which is a crime. (We have our government sanctioned mercenaries for that.)

    If the issue is about violent crime with guns, appropriately prosecute and imprison armed violent offenders. That seems to fail, still. Really--how many armed felons repeat with a gun in possession? Just search/read of the "on probation for killing" armed offenders…these aren't the collectors who have "arsenals".

    If the issue is home safety, child safety, and gun recklessness, look at the facts. Rare is a negligent gun owner prosecuted for a child getting their gun and maiming or killing. It is a crime, so enforce the law.

    Arsenals? What a false issue. Having more than one or two guns, the limit that can be used at one time, is non-issue. Ten, twenty, whatever, only one or two can be deployed at a time if corm were the intent. Usually, it's a collector hobby, obviously something that the writer has no understanding of.

    Why not address the problem of "shall issue" CCW licenses, and promote gun safety. Require legal and safety training for concealed carry (CCW). Prosecute the stupid, negligent "owner", not the gun collector. They aren't criminals. Most armed criminals are felons who can't have a gun, anyway.

  •  Half the guns in America are owned by 4.5M... (0+ / 0-)

    ... people? (The US population and the number of guns, at last report, is about the same, I think.)

    Frankly, that statistic makes me feel better - a little better - about the rest of us!

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 03:24:51 PM PST

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