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One of the most startling comparisons is the relationship between new handgun sales in the United States and the homicide rates. The correlation (0.9815, where 1.00 is a perfect correlation) certainly provides extremely strong support for the argument "handgun sales = homicides", although it does not, by itself, establish causation.

Homicides and Handguns

Homicides and Handgun Sales
1950-1997
Year Homicide Rate
per 1,000
Handgun Sales
in 1,000's
1950 5.3 307
1951 4.9 398
1952 5.2 355
1953 4.8 327
1954 4.8 362
1955 4.5 451
1956 4.6 460
1957 4.5 440
1958 4.5 519
1959 4.6 475
1960 4.7 447
1961 4.7 431
1962 4.8 453
1963 4.9 491
1964 5.1 666
1965 5.5 700
1966 5.9 926
1967 6.8 1,259
1968 7.3 1,255
1969 7.7 1,394
1970 8.3 1,448
1971 9.1 1,805
1972 9.4 1,734
1973 9.7 1,715
1974 10.1 2,024
1975 9.9 1,833
1976 9.0 1,880
1977 9.1 1,877
1978 9.2 2,124
1979 10.0 2,370
1980 10.7 2,537
1981 10.3 2,629
1982 9.6 1,967
1983 8.6 1,680
1984 8.4 1,550
1985 8.4 1,428
1986 9.0 1,659
1987 8.7 1,746
1988 9.0 2,031
1989 9.3 1,839
1990 10.0 1,838
1991 10.5 2,010
1992 10.0 2,825
1993 10.1 2,582
1994 9.6 1,723
1995 8.7 1,484
1996 7.9 1,407
1997 7.4 1,240
Sources: Homicide Rates: CDC INjury Mortality data, as reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics at Homicide rates recently declined to levels last seen in 1967 (viewed 2/14/2001)
Handgun Sales: ATF, Commerce in Firearms in the untied States, February 2000

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©Copyright, 2000, Mike Rosenberg
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