New research points out that violent gun crime, including murder, has dropped drastically since the 90’s.
A Pew Research Center analysis of government data shows that non-fatal and fatal incidences of gun violence have dropped by more than half.
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
Pew’s analysis also points out just how misled Americans have been on the topic of gun violence. The public’s mis-perception is likely due to the mass media’s over-hyping of rare gun violence incidents and politicians spreading misleading statistics from anti-gun groups’ false “studies.”
Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.
Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago. A new Pew Research Center survey (March 14-17) found that 56% of Americans believe the number of crimes involving a gun is higher than it was 20 years ago; only 12% say it is lower and 26% say it stayed the same. (An additional 6% did not know or did not answer.)
The report also examined gun ownership as it relates to gun violence. At a national level, no good correlation could be found. At the local level, correlation between rates of gun ownership and rates of gun violence are evident, but it is unclear which causes which.
National Academy of Sciences review of possible influences on crime trends said there is good evidence of a link between firearm ownership and firearm homicide at the local level; “the causal direction of this relationship remains in dispute, however, with some researchers maintaining that firearm violence elevates rates of gun ownership, but not the reverse.”
The confusion over causality is easy to understand. While anti-gunners would readily point out that where there are more guns, gun violence rates are elevated, a rational person might instead assume that if crime is high in an area, more people would be motivated to own a firearm for personal protection.
Pew’s analysis is fair, statistically backed and worth digging into. It shows that gun crime is not as big an issue as the media would have Americans believe and that it’s actually getting better without any new gun laws.