11/11/2013

Is gun ownership declining?: Yet more evidence that it is increasing

The General Social Survey is taken as evidence that despite gun sales soaring, the percent of the population owning guns has fallen.  As I have noted previously, this claim is inconsistent with other surveys and it is also inconsistent with the huge increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.  Well, it turns out that this is also inconsistent with the issuance of FOID cards in Illinois.
The issue of gun permits surfaced briefly in the Illinois governor’s race, when a candidate claimed that the Illinois State Police had a backlog of 75,000 gun-owner’s ID applications under Gov. Pat Quinn, forcing hunters to miss entire hunting seasons. 
The real number isn’t that high — just 49,000, according to state police. But those numbers belie a bigger headache awaiting the state’s bureaucracy now that lawmakers have set in motion a process to facilitate the carrying of concealed weapons in public, as mandated by a federal court order. 
Whereas a few years ago, 1.2 million Illinoisans held Firearm Owners Identification cards, the number has jumped to 1.6 million, state police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. Soon after the court decreed in December that Illinois couldn’t ban public carry anymore, demand for FOID cards jumped precipitously. In January alone, Bond reported, there were 61,000 FOID applications, nearly double the 31,000 in January 2012. . . .

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