Louisville Paper's Dive Into Gun Violence Finds Interesting Facts

(AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

The term “gun violence” isn’t popular with many in gun rights circles because it suggests that violence committed with a firearm is somehow fundamentally different than that committed with another weapon. To some degree, though, it is. Violence committed with a knife isn’t generally used to try and inhibit people from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, after all.

Yet I also understand where folks are coming from. It’s a made-up term that’s meant to invoke fear in the population so they’ll call for more gun control.

However, the term is here and has been accepted by the public at large, so pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t helpful. Instead, the term needs to be addressed.

Meanwhile, some in the media look at gun violence in various ways. Recently, a Louisville paper opted to delve deep into gun violence, and they found some interesting things.

In the next 12 hours, somewhere in this city, someone will likely be shot.

Since the beginning of 2020, through the first four months of this year, that’s been the pace of shootings in Louisville.

More than 1,000 people have been killed or wounded by gunfire, including men and women as old as 77 and as young as 3 months — casualties of an epidemic of unmatched bloodshed disproportionately inflicted upon the city’s Black communities.

While civic leaders struggle with how to pull the city back from record levels of violence, a nearly year-long investigation from The Courier Journal has — for the first time — exposed in detail how a proliferation of legal and illegal guns has flooded Louisville’s streets, and how the city and state are unable, or unwilling, to stop this arsenal from falling into the wrong hands.

Now, much of what they found is behind a paywall. Most of this article is outlining how they put the story together, which is interesting enough, but not overly relevant.

However, this paragraph is really the money shot.

Using those numbers, the newspaper was able to find more than 1,000 examples of stolen guns later tied to criminal investigations. The reporting also revealed how more than two-dozen seized guns auctioned by the state eventually resurfaced in criminal cases.

Now, they say that more than 1,000 people have been shot. They found more than 1,000 examples of stolen guns tied to criminal activity. Hmmmm.

To be fair, they also say they spent a year looking at this, so they probably looked at a lot more than just a little over 1,000 violent crimes committed with a firearm, but it’s still interesting.

What they found, though, was that a significant number of the firearms used in gun violence in the city were stolen. Based on this phrasing, it seems to suggest the lion’s share of them were. I’m sure that doesn’t make anyone on the gun control side of the debate feel very happy.

What’s interesting is the claim about two dozen guns auctioned off by police resurfacing. This is something many anti-gunners vehemently oppose, claiming there’s some massive number of these returning to criminal hands. However, if these two dozen were part of that 1,000 guns, then they were A) stolen and B) less than three percent of the firearms recovered.

Not much of a threat, to be sure.

Still, it’s interesting to see the paper admit how many of these guns were stolen. Like it or not, that’s where most guns used in criminal activity come from, and it’s nice to see a media outlet acknowledge that, even if it looks pretty clear they didn’t want to.