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Crime Surge Revives Gun Debate Ahead Of Campaign Season

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

There’s no doubt there’s been a crime surge in this nation. We left lockdown and went right into an increase in crime, particularly violent crime. The moment people realized they could walk outside of their homes – right around the time of the riots last summer, actually – they decided it was time to rob, steal, and shoot. It also looks like they made up for the lost time.

Yet, the surge also fueled the gun control debate just in time for campaign season.

The battle over gun control is emerging as a campaign issue heading into the midterms as gun violence rises in the U.S.

The country has seen a wave of gun-related deaths as it reopens amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive for NBC News, firearm deaths increased by 15 percent last month compared to the same period in 2019.

Republicans have attributed the rise in violence to progressive efforts to reform and in some cases direct funds away from police departments. But Democrats say gun policies are at the heart of the issue.

“At the moment there’s so many examples of irresponsible gun ownership, people having easy access to guns. It sort of makes the case,” said University of New Haven criminal justice professor Michael Lawlor, who also served as a Democratic member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.

Democrats point to polling that shows more Americans in favor of stricter gun control regulations. Eighty-four percent of voters, including 77 percent of Republicans, say they support gun buyers having to go through a background check, according to a March Morning Consult poll.

First, let’s point out that Democrats are claiming gun policies are the problem, yet there hasn’t been some massive liberalization of gun laws in this country. The gun laws on the books now are the same ones that have been on the books for decades now. These are the same laws that were present when violent crime was dropping year after year.

If gun policies were the problem, then just why didn’t this crime surge happen decades ago?

The answer, of course, is that there’s no such cause-and-effect relationship. It’s merely correlation, and correlation does not equal causation, especially when the correlation doesn’t exist over decades when the supposed cause was already there and the supposed effect isn’t.

Now, let’s talk about Mr. Lawlor’s comments. There are so many examples of irresponsible gun ownership and people having easy access to guns, eh? Well, then, why not tell us, Mr. Lawlor, about those. Cite examples. Further, I want to know just how many of these acting out now purchased their firearm from a gun store or from a law-abiding citizen conducting what they thought was a legal sale compared to how many purchased theirs on the black market.

There’s no reason to increase gun control. That’s especially true when you know that the vast majority of criminals are obtaining weapons through already illegal means.

Oh, but these measures are popular, right? Not really. That support has been dropping, according to recent polls. You can site a poll and claim there’s support, but that support is soft at best, especially since we have plenty of other polls that suggest it’s waning.

Our gun rights aren’t up for debate, especially when we know that the crime surge can be addressed through other initiatives. We know because we pushed the crime rate down before, and while gun control advocates love to claim that it was because of the “assault weapon” ban back in 1994, the truth was that it was already on the decline and continued that way well after the ban sunset.

We can address the violent crime surge without infringing on the rights of law-abiding Americans to do so. The problem is that we have legions of politicians who would rather infringe on those rights than try to do something that might actually work.

Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET