It's not guns driving violent crime

It's not guns driving violent crime
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Violent crime has been making headlines for the last couple of years. With the homicide rate hitting the highest point in decades for several major cities, it’s unsurprising that it would


If it bleeds, it leads.

Also unsurprising is that many are trying to use this surge in violent crime to claim that guns are the problem. The fact that no gun laws changed prior to the violence surge is completely irrelevant to these discussions.

However, some are trying to argue that it’s not the guns that are the problem.

Gun owners across the commonwealth are outraged by Gov. Tom Wolf’s and Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s continued scapegoating of firearms as the cause of violence in Philadelphia. As the Pennsylvania director of Gun Owners of America, an organization dedicated to gun ownership, I hear from other gun owners regularly. Let me walk you through our thinking.

Wolf, Shapiro, and Democratic allies in the General Assembly are pushing no less than six bills — SB 413, SB 414, HB 271, HB 414, HB 1315, and HB 1966 — aimed at making homemade firearms illegal. These bills would require pieces of metal and plastic to be regulated as firearms.

Philadelphia Democrats and the attorney general frequently rant about the number of homemade firearms that are used for crime in Philadelphia. With all this focus on what they incorrectly call “ghost guns,” you’d think homemade firearms are used in all crimes in Philly. But, according to a notice issued by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, from 2016 through 2020 less than 2% of the firearms used in homicides or attempted homicides nationwide were homemade.

The cause of the skyrocketing violence in Philadelphia isn’t homemade firearms. It’s not even commercially produced firearms. No, a major cause of the increased violence in Philadelphia is an unwillingness to prosecute criminals, and the culprit is District Attorney Larry Krasner, who was first elected in 2017.


That was from GOA’s Pennsylvania director Val Finnell. Finnell ain’t wrong, either.

Nor is he alone in this belief, either. For one thing, I share it. There are others as well:

Soft-on-crime district attorneys across the country are to blame for a spike in violent crime – not firearms, a former federal prosecutor told Fox News Digital.

“Guns don’t commit crimes, neither do knives and hammers, people do,” said Charles Stimson, now a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “It’s a red herring to focus on guns rather than the harder issue of how to enforce the law fairly and hold criminals accountable.”

Stimson blamed much of these increases on progressive district attorneys who have weakened consequences for a range of serious crimes in mostly Democratic-run cities.

“It is not true that crime is rising in every big city — it’s true that it’s rising in cities that have elected rogue prosecutors,” Stimson said, specifically highlighting the policies of George Gascón in Los Angeles, Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, Kim Foxx in Chicago, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia and others.

Now, it should be noted that not everyone agreed. The article quoted directly above does provide some who offer a counterpoint.

However, the claim boils down to “there’s no evidence.” That’s a far cry from evidence to the contrary, though, which is important.


No evidence doesn’t mean there’s no connection. It may well mean there’s insufficient study.

In fairness, it’s also possible that while woke prosecutors are part of the problem, they’re far from the totality of the issue. We also had months of anti-police rhetoric and sentiment and talk of defunding the police that made officers less likely to intervene if they could avoid it.

Couple all that with a pandemic that kept us locked up in our homes for months on end and you get a recipe for disaster.

But there’s nothing to suggest that woke prosecutions are making anything, anything at all, better. Instead, we see violent crime rates soaring right about the time these dipsticks came to power.

Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but causation tends to lead to correlation. Or, more simply put, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

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