So, how many laws already?<quoted text>
No you didn't. The link was to the front page of a pro gun website. No numbers whatsoever.
Counted how? The Brady law for example, is one law passed by Congress, but more than 3,000 words long. Brady ended up as several different numbered statutes on the books, and amendments to others. How many laws is that?
It originally required a waiting period, now it's a national background check, and it even regulates airline baggage. Would you call that three "laws"? Are each of the many separate requirements it places on the Attorney General separate "laws"? Attempts to count the various things controlled by "one" law are fruitless -- the law is designed to expand and encompass any case brought before it.
You still want some numbers? OK, let's do some counting. The book that describes the Texas gun laws is nearly 300 pages long. The unabridged federal guide is almost 400.
Most (though not all) of the language in an enacted "law" ends up as numbered and named "sections" or "articles" in law books. By Bloomfield Press' count, Texas had 226 of these numbered gun laws in 2005. Federally, there were 231 numbered statutes in February, 1996, and by 2005 that had grown to 271. Did 40 more federal gun laws in ten years finally outlaw crime? It's almost too silly to ask.
We went from 65,999 words in 1986 to 93,354 words in 2005 on the federal books (we identify and publish all those gun laws so we can word-count them; I don't believe anyone else can do that without a ton of work). Some laws got smaller in word count, but much greater in effect. See for example 18 USC §1114: instead of a long list of federal agents who get special treatment, it now basically says any government employee -- less words, far more impact on society.
Which brings us to the most metrical way of figuring how many laws there are. Texans in 2005 were under at least 49,442 words of state gun law, and 93,354 words of federal gun law -- a total of more than 143,000 words of law. An average novel is around 40,000 words.
So now you have a number. In Texas, you have to follow 143,000 words of law to stay legal, and on the flip side, we have this huge body of rules to use against bad people. What does that do for you? How do you interpret it against the obvious bias -- is that enough words?
Federal gun law in 2005:
93,354 words in 271 numbered statutes
Arizona gun law in 2006:
36,645 words in 183 numbered statutes
Virginia gun law in 2006:
45,494 words in 191 numbered statutes
Texas gun law in 2005:
49,442 words in 226 numbered statutes
California gun law in 1998:
158,643 words in 541 numbered statutes
Florida gun law in 1998:
46,585 words in 229 numbered statutes