The gun control movement isn’t based on “moderation” or “common sense”. Its goal isn’t to pass “reasonable” measures that recognize the inherent and fundamental importance of our right to keep and bear arms. At best, the end game is to steadily erode that right until it’s nothing more than a privilege to be doled out by the state. At worst, the fever dreams of the anti-gunners revolve around enacting a new era of Prohibition; one aimed at guns this time, not booze.
Most of the time the establishment gun control groups are pretty good about not letting the mask slip, but over the weekend the outfit Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence couldn’t help themselves. In their response to a federal judge halting enforcement of some of the state’s newly-created “gun-free zones”, the group gravely intoned that “we must address a fundamental issue: the excessive availability of firearms.”
— Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence (@gunviolenceprev) October 1, 2023
“America’s unique problem of gun violence cannot be tackled effectively with an ever-growing number of weapons. A citizen-led arms race is not a solution,” the group maintains.
And there you have it. According to the anti-gun nuts themselves, there’s no way for their movement to be successful as long as Americans are free to purchase a firearm, whether for self-defense, target shooting, hunting, or just because it’s their right to do so. Given that consumers have purchased more than 1-million guns each month for the past four years, what Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence is really saying, even if they’re not even willing to admit this to themselves, is that their efforts are doomed to failure.
We live in a nation with more than 400-million privately owned firearms and the established right to keep, bear, and yes, acquire them for lawful purposes. If the only way to reduce “gun violence” is to reduce the number of guns in circulation, then the gun control movement truly is a lost cause. Even if they somehow managed to repeal the Second Amendment, there are tens of millions of Americans who will keep ahold of their firearms. The United States will never be “gun-free”, and the number of firearms in the hands of lawful citizens is going to continue to grow.
Contrary to the anti-gun group’s statement, however, that does not mean that violent crime is destined to spiral upwards. Quite the contrary. Even as the number of personally-possessed firearms soared over the past three decades, crime steadily declined, at least until 2020. The COVID pandemic, closures of courts, civil unrests and riots, and the pullback/defunding of law enforcement led to the biggest one-year spike in the nation’s homicide rate ever recorded, but just three years later it looks like we’re in the middle of the biggest one-year decline. Crime analyst Jeff Asher has been crunching the numbers all year and says we’re on pace that for a 12% reduction in homicides; something that should be impossible if Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence were right.
The change in murder in cities of all sizes tend to correlate strongly with the national change with the group of cities from 250,000 to 1 million and cities under 100,000 tending to have the most predictive value from year to year. At this point, however, we’re getting much more into guesswork considering how little of the smaller cities sample we really have.
There is also some good evidence of a sizable decline coming from the few states with complete or somewhat complete data for 2023. Murder was down 13.5 percent in Utah and down 14.1 percent in Oregon through July (though some smaller agencies may not yet have reported data to those state UCR programs), and fatal shootings were down 35 percent in the 20 GIVE agencies of New York through August.
What it all means is that it is becoming increasingly likely that murder will have fallen at or near a historic rate in 2023. Murder has never fallen more than 9.1 percent nationally from one year to the next (data back to 1960) and there have never been a one-year decline of 2,000 or more murders.
Neither milestone is by any means certain this year but both are definitely in play.
Even in Baltimore, which has seen more than 300 homicides every year since 2015, homicides are down by a remarkable 20% compared to this time in 2022. The city has recorded 201 murders through September 23rd, and unless there’s a major increase in shootings over the next three months the city will likely end up with its lowest homicide rate in more than a decade.
I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that Baltimore became a safer place when the average resident finally gained the right to carry a firearm in self-defense without having to demonstrate a “justifiable need” to do so. And while many of the state’s new “gun-free zones” took effect on Sunday, the truth is that for most of the past year there were relatively few “sensitive places” where the tens of thousands of new concealed carry holders in the state were prohibited from carrying. The end of the state’s “may issue” regime and scores of new concealed carry licensees didn’t lead to a spike in crime. It actually corresponds to a major reduction in violence in Baltimore and around the state; great news for Second Amendment advocates and those of us concerned about public safety, but an uncomfortable truth for those intent on banning their way to safety and eradicating our right to keep and bear arms.