BOSTON — A new study has determined that Americans are purchasing more guns specifically made for personal defense compared to those for recreational purposes.
Researchers analyzed 25 years worth of national firearm data (1990-2015) from both the ATF and the FBI to conclude that the number of guns being manufactured increased exponentially. Most of the uptick was due to the increased production of handguns, which are primarily used for self-defense rather than hunting or target practice.
“Our research suggests that guns are increasingly being viewed as having a primary role in self-defense, rather than in use for hunting or sport,” says Michael Siegel, the study’s lead investigator and doctor at Boston University School of Public Health, in a press release.
“Public health practitioners need to understand and accept the increasing view, among gun owners, of firearms as a means to security and freedom,” he adds. “Only by acknowledging the value that firearms have in the lives of gun owners can public health practitioners develop programs and policies that respect the desire to own weapons for self-defense while at the same time mitigating the firearm violence that is ravishing our communities.”
According to the study, from 2004 to 2015, production for pistols calibered in .380 ACP rose 1,200 percent, while those in 9mm went up by 700 percent. Larger caliber handguns — such as the popular .45 ACP — jumped by 250 percent. Furthermore, the overall production of guns exploded from 3.2 million in 2004 to 10.3 million in 2013.
Siegel and his team hope to help alleviate America’s growing firearm violence issue, which is seen as a public health problem that hurts or kills more than 100,000 people annually.
“The findings of this study have significant implications for finding working solutions to the problem of firearm violence. Further research is needed to determine whether industry marketing is contributing to a change in the demand for firearms and the cultural perception of guns in society,” says Siegel.
The study is published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.