Gun Control Laws and Enforcement Trends 2023

Written by Sam Jacobs Subject: Gun Rights

Report Highlights

The amount of State gun laws nearly doubled between 1991 and 2016 (Source).

The first Federal gun control law was passed in the 1934 National Firearms Act, which limited civilians' access to machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled shotguns, and others (Source).

Between 1886 and 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States interpreted the Second Amendment to include the right of the individual to keep and bear arms six times.

Homicides (all methods) increased 27% from 1968 to 2021.

Homicide rates increased 28% while incarceration rates fell 15% during the 2020 pandemic.

The 1994 Crime Bill authorized $12.5 Billion dollars for law enforcement, while the ATF receives $1.5 billion annually to enforce Federal firearm laws.

The ATF seized more than 360,000 firearms in 2021 (Source).

The Enforcement of Laws vs. The Passing of New Laws

Timeline of Federal Firearm Laws in the U.S.


1934 National Firearms Act

1938 Federal Firearms Act

1968 Gun Control Act

1986 Firearm Owner's Protection Act

1988 Undetectable Firearms Act

1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act

1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

1994 Public Safety & Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act

2022 Protecting Our Kids Act

Supreme Court Cases Involving Individual's Rights to Bear Arms

1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford - Determined Slaves do not have 2A rights.

1875 US v. Cruikshank - The right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

1886 Presser v. Illinois - States can ban individuals from forming militias.

1939 US v. Miller - Courts ruled the Federal Government can regulate firearms not effective for militias (i.e. short-barreled shotguns).

1980 Lewis v. United States - Upheld that felons cannot keep and bear arms.

2008 District of Columbia v. Heller - Determined that an individual does not have to be a part of the militia to keep and bear arms.

2010 McDonald v. City of Chicago - Determined that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment also applies to the Second Amendment.

2016 Caetano v. Massachusetts - Determined that the 2nd Amendment applies to firearms that did not exist in 1791.

2020 New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of Bruen - Ruled that states must maintain a "Shall-Issue" stance of concealed carry outside of the home.

Timeline of Federal Firearm Laws in the U.S.

Economic Costs of Enforcing Gun Laws

ATF - 2022 - $1.5 Billion

NICS - 2022 - $8.4 Billion

Criminal Justice System - 2022 - $12.62 Billion

*Compared to $2.8 Billion in medical costs yearly.

Economic Costs of Enforcing Gun Laws

ATF Conviction Stats

34,436 Cases Initiated

10,138 Recommended for prosecution

6,315 Prosecuted

5,338 Convicted

*The Federal Government prosecutes 15% of all cases initiated.

ATF Conviction Stats

Gun Laws & Prosecution Trends

Gun Laws & Prosecution Trends

Firearm Laws & National Homicide Trends

Homicides in the U.S. are now 27% higher than before the 1968 Gun Control Act (per capita). They declined by nearly 20% after the 1994 Crime Bill and remained low until 2015. Homicide rates sharply increased in 2019.

Firearm Laws & National Homicide Trends

Incarceration Trends & Homicide

Incarceration Trends & Homicide


Incarceration Trends

Firearm Homicide Trends

BJS Incarceration Trends

2022 Incarceration Data

Impact of the 1994 AWB

BJS Firearm Homicide Trends

1990-Present Homicide Data

BJS Incarceration Trends


Gun Violence Research Budget

Federal Firearm Prosecution Trends

BJS 2020 Incarceration Stats

18 U.S. Code § 922

18 U.S. Code § 924

26 U.S. Code § 5861

Gun Control Laws and Enforcement Trends 2023 originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

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