According to DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. gun-related homicides dropped 39 percent over the course of 18 years, from 18,253 during 1993, to 11,101 in 2011. During the same period, non-fatal firearm crimes decreased even more, a whopping 69 percent. The majority of those declines in both categories occurred during the first 10 years of that time frame. Firearm homicides declined from 1993 to 1999, rose through 2006, and then declined again through 2011. Non-fatal firearm violence declined from 1993 through 2004, then fluctuated in the mid-to-late 2000s.
And where did the bad people who did the shooting get most of their guns? Were those gun show “loopholes” responsible? Nope. According to surveys DOJ conducted of state prison inmates during 2004 (the most recent year of data available), only two percent who owned a gun at the time of their offense bought it at either a gun show or flea market. About 10 percent said they purchased their gun from a retail shop or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from an illegal source.
While firearm violence accounted for about 70 percent of all homicides between 1993 and 2011, guns were used in less than 10 percent of all non-fatal violent crimes. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of those firearm homicides involved a handgun, and 90 percent of non-fatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun. Males, blacks, and persons aged 18-24 had the highest firearm homicide rates.
- Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011.
- Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.
- Firearm violence accounted for about 70% of all homicides and less than 10% of all nonfatal violent crime from 1993 to 2011.
- From 1993 to 2011, about 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun.
- Males, blacks, and persons ages 18 to 24 had the highest rates of firearm homicide from 1993 to 2010.
The March Pew study, drawn from numbers obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found a dramatic drop in gun crime over the past two decades. Their accounting shows a 49 percent decline in the homicide rate, and a 75 percent decline of non-fatal violent crime victimization. More than 8 in 10 gun homicide victims in 2010 were men and boys. Fifty-five percent of the homicide victims were black, far beyond their 13 percent share of the population.
Those gun crime rates certainly aren’t diminishing for lack of supply…at least not for law-abiding legal buyers. December 2012, the FBI recorded a record number of 2.78 million background checks for purchases that month, surpassing a 2.01 million mark set the month before by about 39 percent. That December 2012 figure, in turn, was up 49 percent from a previous record on that month the year before. FBI checks for all of 2012 totaled 19.6 million, an annual record, and an increase of 19 percent over 2011.
Firearms sellers can thank the gun-control legislation lobbies for much of this business windfall. Marked demand increases have been witnessed over the past five years thanks to the 2008 and 2012 elections of U.S. history’s most successful, if unintentional, gun salesman as president. The firearms market got a huge added boost after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut activated a renewed legislative frenzy.
If that gun-purchasing fervor has abated with the defeat of several congressional regulation proposals, as I’m sure it has, you surely wouldn’t have known it by witnessing the overwhelmingly enormous annual NRA convention in Houston earlier this month. Attendance was estimated to be more than 70,000 people from all over the country.
Those attendees weren’t all guys either…not by a long shot. Last year, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that participation by women increased both in target shooting (46.5%) and hunting (36.6%) over the past decade. Also, 61% of firearm retailers responding to a NSSF survey reported an increase in female customers. A 2009 NSSF survey indicated that the number of women purchasing guns for personal defense increased a whopping 83 percent.
Is John Lott, the author of “More Guns, Less Crime” right? Does the rapid growth of gun ownership and armed citizens have anything to do with a diminishing gun violence trend? His expansive research concludes that state “shall issue” laws which allow citizens to carry concealed weapons do produce a steady decrease in violent crime. He explains that this is logical because criminals are deterred by the risk of attacking an armed target, so as more citizens arm themselves, danger to the criminals increases.
Whether or not you buy that reasoning, and it does make sense to me, what about the notion that tougher gun laws have or would make any difference? With the toughest gun laws in the nation, Chicago saw homicides jump to 513 in 2012, a 15% hike in a single year. The city’s murder rate is 15.65 per 100,000 people, compared with 4.5 for the Midwest, and 5.6 for Illinois.
Up to 80 percent of Chicago murders and non-fatal shootings are gang- related, primarily young black and Hispanic men killed by other black and Hispanic men. Would tightening gun laws even more, or “requiring” background checks, change these conditions?
Gwainevere Catchings Hess, president of the Black Women’s Agenda (BWA), Inc., an organization that strongly advocates strict gun-control legislation, rightly points out that “In 2009, black males ages 15-19 were eight times as likely as white males the same age, and 2.5 times as likely as their Hispanic peers to be killed in a gun homicide.”
Those are terrible statistics, but here are some others. Today, 72% of black children are born out of wedlock, as are 53% of Hispanic children and 36% of white children. Back in 1965, 25% of black children were born out of wedlock, nearly one-third fewer. As a result, promiscuous rappers, prosperous dope peddlers and street gang leaders are becoming ever more influential role models. It’s probably no big stretch of imagination to correlate such grossly disproportionate crime and victimization rates with comparably staggering rates of single-parent families, those without fathers in particular.
Yet in the general population, and although the agenda-driven media hasn’t noticed, we can be grateful that gun violence has been trending downward since 1993 when it hit its last peak. Don’t want to credit a rise in gun ownership and concealed carry by law-abiding citizens for this good news? Fine. But then, don’t imagine that gun legislation is the reason or answer either. Leave that illusion to gun-control cheerleaders in the media.
- Only about 10% of Americans think crime has gone down in recent years.
- In 2010, there were 3.6 gun homicides per 100,000 people, compared with 7.0 in 1993, according to CDC data.
- In 2010, CDC data counted 11,078 gun homicide deaths, compared with 18,253 in 1993.
- Men and boys make up the vast majority (84% in 2010) of gun homicide victims. The firearm homicide rate also is more than five times as high for males of all ages (6.2 deaths per 100,000 people) as it is for females (1.1 deaths per 100,000 people).
- By age group, 69% of gun homicide victims in 2010 were ages 18 to 40, an age range that was 31% of the population that year. Gun homicide rates also are highest for adults ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 40.
- A disproportionate share of gun homicide victims are black (55% in 2010, compared with the 13% black share of the population). Whites were 25% of victims but 65% of the population in 2010. Hispanics were 17% of victims and 16% of the population in 2010.
- The firearm suicide rate (6.3 per 100,000 people) is higher than the firearm homicide rate and has come down less sharply. The number of gun suicide deaths (19,392 in 2010) outnumbered gun homicides, as has been true since at least 1981.
- In 2011, the NCVS estimated there were 181.5 gun crime victimizations for non-fatal violent crime (aggravated assault, robbery and sex crimes) per 100,000 Americans ages 12 and older, compared with 725.3 in 1993.
- In terms of numbers, the NCVS estimated there were about 1.5 million non-fatal gun crime victimizations in 1993 among U.S. residents ages 12 and older, compared with 467,000 in 2011.
When it comes to the gun control debate, there are two kinds of data: data that’s accurate, and data that left-wing billionaires, politicians, and media want you to believe is accurate. In The War on Guns, economist and gun rights advocate John Lott turns a skeptical eye to well-funded anti-gun studies and stories that perpetuate false statistics to frighten Americans into giving up their guns.
In this, his latest and most important book, The War on Guns, Lott offers the most thorough debunking yet of the so-called “facts,” “data,” and “arguments” of anti-gun advocates, exposing how they have repeatedly twisted or ignored the real evidence, the evidence that of course refutes them on every point.
In The War on Guns, you’ll learn:
- Why gun licenses and background checks don’t stop crime
- How “gun-free” zones actually attract mass shooters
- Why Stand Your Ground laws are some of the best crime deterrents we have
- Why having background checks on private gun transfers is a bad idea
- How big-money liberal foundations and the federal government are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into “public health” studies, the sole purpose of which is to manufacture false data against guns
- How media bias and ignorance skew the gun debate—and why it will get worse
- How anti-gun activists have targeted not just the Second Amendment, but the First Amendment—all in an effort to shut down pro-gun arguments
Concerned about your gun rights? You should be. And John R. Lott Jr.’s The War on Guns is the essential book for defending your Second Amendment Rights—before they are taken away forever.
A simple guide to understanding your Second Amendment freedoms.
So much of the debate about the Second Amendment is in scholarly journals and academic papers written by scholars and judges, or directed towards other scholars, law professors, attorneys, and judges. Trying to wade through the extensive footnotes and references to legal cases and historical precedents known only to the academic elite is more than enough to make anyone feel hopeless.
With The Second Amendment Primer, Les Adams finally provides an accessible discussion of the Second Amendment. It is a “primer” because it is elementary. Chronologically arranged, it traces the development of the right to keep and bear arms from its birth in ancient Greece to its addition in the U.S. Constitution. Supplemental essays discuss the Second Amendment’s interpretation in today’s world from the viewpoints of both firearms enthusiasts as well as those who would limit the amendment’s purview.
Although The Second Amendment Primer is aimed at the average reader, Adams’s facts are detailed and well-documented. Reference margin notes, an extensive bibliography, and a comprehensive subject index showcase the author’s research and show more curious readers how to continue on their path to understanding exactly what the Second Amendment is saying. Using this “citizen’s guide” as a stepping stone, anyone can become a successful scholar of the right to bear arms.