If More Gun Sales Mean More Crime, Explain 2020 Violence

(Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)

Violence exploded in 2020, and I’m not just talking about the riots that ripped through the nation a year ago. Amid the riots came a surge of violent crime the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1990s. It got ugly and, perhaps more distressingly, it hasn’t gone away, either.


Instead, the violent crime has spilled over in 2021 and we’re not looking at it going away anytime soon, either.

For many, this is all the evidence they need that we should pass new gun control laws. After all, in their mind, how else can you address this kind of thing.

Yet John Lott makes a very good point in a recent interview.

“If you’re primarily disarming the most law-abiding good citizens who obey the law, you make it easier for criminals to go and commit crimes,” said John Lott, a former adviser to the Trump administration who wrote the book, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

He added that “You have had the biggest spikes in the areas where police are not being allowed to do their job either because of orders or because of changes in budgets. It’s not really shocking to me that you see the increase.”

Lott pointed to Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle as examples of this.

“I would have been surprised if you hadn’t seen an increase in crime,” he added.

Lott went on to say that calls for increased restrictions on firearms won’t solve the problem.

“My question would be, what changed last year with regard to gun control that could explain [an increase in homicides]?” he said. “If gun control or the lack of it is responsible for the spike, what changed last year that coincided with the big increase that we saw in murders?”


Precisely. I’ve made this point myself a few times, but it’s always good to see it from the experts.

The truth of the matter is that there hasn’t been any appreciable change in gun laws throughout the nation since last year. Nothing at all that could possibly account for this surge in violent crime.

So, then, what could be the problem?

Well, there are a lot of thoughts on that and I can’t rule most of them out. For one thing, a lot of people lost coping skills being locked down for months on end, so those inclined toward violence in the first place are jumping there much more easily than they used to. I’ve also speculated that because people can get away with wearing masks and have been required to wear them in many places, they took the anonymity provided and settled old scores.

The above-linked article points to the Defund the Police movement, which has definitely created an impact, to be sure. Less funding for police officers doesn’t translate to better police protection, after all.

Frankly, I don’t think there’s one cause for what we’re seeing, though. Violence is a complex problem and that means there’s no one cause of it.

What we do know, though, is that if more guns resulted in more crime, we’d see surges in violent crime correlate to the loosening of gun control laws.


“But haven’t gun sales surged?”

Yes, they have…but to law-abiding citizens who pass criminal background checks and adhere to all the other gun control laws on the books already. Because of the demand, it’s harder for criminals to purchase firearms through any avenue other than the black market, and those are the people who are committing these crimes.

The loosening of gun control laws would be necessary for these individuals–the people who commit violent crimes–to supposedly get firearms. That hasn’t happened.

Instead, they’re getting guns and acting out violently despite all we’ve been told about gun control. Shocking, I know.

More gun sales haven’t correlated to more violence because gun control laws are too weak. The truth is, more gun sales are taking place because people had a feeling that more violence was coming.

It turns out, they were right.

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