With our current incarnation of the gun debate, we who support the Second Amendment are constantly bombarded with claims that we don’t care about the violent crime epidemic. We’re told our world is too violent, our people are too violent, to be allowed legal access to firearms.
It’s too bad for them that their entire argument is prefaced on a lie.
Since 1993, the United States has seen a drop in the rate of homicides and other violence involving guns, according to two new studies released Tuesday. Using government data, analysts saw a steep drop for violence in the 1990s, they saw more modest drops in crime rates since 2000.
“Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011,” according to a report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, “and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011.”
There were seven gun homicides per 100,000 people in 1993, the Pew Research Center study says, which dropped to 3.6 gun deaths in 2010. The study relied in part on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew,” according to the Pew study. “The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.”
All of that is good news — but many Americans don’t seem to be aware of it. In a survey, the Pew Research Center found that only 12 percent of Americans believe the gun crime rate is lower today than it was in 1993; 56 percent believe it’s higher.
That’s because our media is constantly blasting us with news that makes it sound like there are more criminals, more violence, than ever before.
Let’s also note that while the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 falls within this range, that ban sunsetted in 2004, but violent crime rates continued to fall even after the sunset. People can have 15 round magazines in their handguns, or more if the weapon is capable. People can own so-called assault rifles in most of the country. People can do all sorts of things now that they couldn’t under AWB ’94.
Through it all, crime continued to drop.
Further, also during that time, we had the decisions of D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago that strengthened gun ownership rights in this country. People lamented those decisions, claiming that the streets would run red with blood.
But they didn’t. They never do.
Instead, despite the passage of no other new gun control laws on the national scale, violent crime dropped. We’re safer despite an expansion of gun rights.
Or maybe, just maybe, we’re safer because of that expansion.
Criminals are learning that more and more people are carrying guns, and they don’t know who that is. Advancements in firearm and holster design make it easier to carry a handgun in ways that no one can tell it’s there.
All of this changes the math for them. It’s always been “risk versus reward.” The risk of being arrested, versus a few bucks might be worth it. The possibility of being killed for a few bucks, though? Not so much.
As a result, there’s less of a problem. This is a good thing.
But expect the anti-gunners to ignore it. They have a habit of ignoring inconvenient facts these days.