Guns have been part of the American way of life since before this nation was this nation. The American people have had guns for hunting and self-defense as well as defending this land from foreign aggression all that time.
But some people are less than thrilled about this fact.
Today, marks the 60th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. In the wake of that murder, the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed, in part to prevent someone like Lee Harvey Oswald from being able to get a gun in the manner in which he obtained it.
Yet over at Salon, they have a piece titled, “60 years after the assassination of JFK: The guns are winning.”
Since JFK’s murder, more Americans have died from civilian gunfire than the well over one million American soldiers killed in all of our wars, according to a flyer circulated by the Virginia Center for Public Safety back in January of 2016. A PolitiFact review of the claim noted that the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention analysis “of yearly gunfire deaths in the U.S. from 1968 to 2014” all added up to 1.5 million gun-related deaths, greater than the 1.4 million lost to armed conflict since the creation of the nation.
Between 2015 and 2020, the United States had an additional 237,000 gun deaths. In 2021, the United States set a record with 48,830 gun-related deaths, with 54 percent flagged as suicides and 43 percent as murders. Overall, that reflected a 23 percent spike since 2019, according to the Pew Research Center.
It is sixty years after JFK’s murder and the guns are winning with the nation’s children and their families that are increasingly losing.
Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re going to look at total numbers since JFK’s assassination, particularly with regard to guns, then maybe we should look at trends from that time and not cherry pick things to look as scary as possible.
JFK was killed in 1963. The Gun Control Act followed five years later. Not an immediate reaction, to say the least, but looking at the provisions in that law makes it clear it was, in part, a response to the assassination.
And what happened immediately after JFK was killed and continued after the GCA was passed? The homicide rate increased.
That’s from the New York Times. What it shows is an increase in the homicide rate that spiked up in the aftermath of the Gun Control Act and continued to be sky high until the early 1990s and didn’t really get down to the early 1960s homicide rate until around 2010 or so.
During that time, we didn’t see a whole lot of gun control being passed. The Brady Bill was passed in 1993 and we had the now-sunset Assault Weapon Ban in 1994, but violent crime was already starting its downward trend, nearly 30 years after JFK’s assassination.
While the last few years have seen a spike in violent crime, that too is trending downward.
So what happened? Well, during that time period, we also saw the rise of concealed carry. States began empowering people to carry guns for their own protection and people started taking advantage of it. That likely contributed
The Assault Weapon Ban spurred a lot of people to buy AR-15s and similar weapons, creating a demand that still hasn’t been satiated. As these are good weapon for self-defense inside the home, this probably also contributed.
See, the issue with the Salon piece is that it’s blaming recent laws and recent actions from the last 30 years for violent crime that took place in the 30 years immediately after JFK’s death.
As guns have become more popular and people are carrying them more often, the homicide rate has trended downward. Even the spike of 2020 was nothing compared to the murder rates of the 1970s and ’80s.
So, in a way, the premise is right, even if not for the reason the author wants us to think. The guns really are winning. They’re making us safer.
The media might not make it seem that way, especially when you can see all the violence with a few keystrokes, but we’re much better off than we were shortly after JFK’s assassination, and I’m tired of pretending we’re not.