The number of licensed U.S. gun dealers has dropped by 194,998 since 1994, says the Washington-based Violence Policy Center. The group says the number of Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) fell 79 percent, from 245,628 in 1994 to 50,630 in 2007. California posted the largest decrease in gun dealers, from 20,148 to 2,120 in 2007–a decrease of 89 percent. Other states that had declines of 80 percent or more during the period were Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island, Louisiana, New Jersey, Georgia, New York, Virginia, Illinois, and Michigan.
In 1992, the firearms dealer licensees outnumbered gas stations, 245,000 to 210,000. The bulk of the licenses were held by “kitchen-table” dealers who operated out of their homes or offices, an unknown percentage of which were actively involved in criminal gun trafficking. Today, the center says that only five states have more gun dealers than gas stations Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming.