DEBUNKING THE MYTHS: Gun Violence Is NOT As Bad As LiberalsWould Have You Believe.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Americans weretreated to the usual round of breast-beating decrying what an incrediblyviolent country we are. The solutionaccording to Democrats and the media? Gun control. The only problemwith this is that hard numbers show that, as ordinary, law-abiding Americanshave become more heavily armed, America has become a safer, not a moredangerous country.
In a March 3 story, the Washington Post reported that gundeaths and violent crimes are both down in America:
Back in the crack-infused 1980s, young men with guns anddrugs ruled the single block of Hanover Place NW. People who lived in thetwo-story rowhouses one mile north of the Capitol fell asleep year round to thesounds of the Fourth of July, a pop-pop-pop that they hoped was firecrackers.It rarely was.
But after two decades of consistent and dramatic declines inhomicides and gun violence in Washington and many other major cities, HanoverPlace is mostly quiet these days. Complaints to the police tend to be moreabout kids shooting craps on the sidewalk than about drug dealers shooting atrival street crews. On a block where houses were unloaded for as little as$30,000 in the 1990s, the most recent sales have ranged from $278,000 to$425,000.
The post even has a really cool chart it made based upon FBIstatistics. The abrupt drop in violentcrime is staggering: See Bottom of Page
Marc Fisher, who wrote the above words, is delighted thatviolent crime is declining, but cannot, for the life of him, understand whythis is so. In the same article, hetosses out a variety of possible reasons:
As welcome as such changes have been, explanations for thenation’s plummeting homicide rate remain elusive, stymieing economists,criminologists, police, politicians and demographers. Have new policestrategies made a difference, or have demographic shifts and populationmigrations steered the change? Could the reasons be as simple as putting morebad guys behind bars, or does credit go to changes made a generation ago, suchas taking the lead out of gasoline or legalizing abortion?
All of those reasons could be correct. But there’s another possible reason for thedecrease in violent crime between 1992 and 2011. An equally nice chart shows a nicecorrelation between the decrease in gun crime and the fact that more and morestates allowed responsible citizens to get concealed carry licenses. Rob Vance, who blogs at No Lawyers — OnlyGuns and Money, generated a chart that’s just as nice as the Washington Post’schart. The only difference is that,instead of showing only the FBI’s decreased crime numbers, it also includesdata about increases in concealed carry:
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out thatdecreases in crime and increases in armed citizens might be related. Rather than ruminating ponderously aboutimpossible-to-prove theories such as decreased led in gasoline or increasedabortion, Marc Fisher might have had an easier time of it if he stuck to thenumbers.
Here are some more interesting numbers that address Fisher’spoint about the stunning decrease in crime in Washington, D.C., which was onceone of America’s most violent cities. The one thing that has been remarkablyconsistent when governments ban private citizens from carrying arms is that theviolent crime rate increases. Englandexperienced a drastic increase in its violent crime rate when it imposedstringent gun bans. One needn’t go sofar from home, though. Both Washington,D.C. and Chicago, which enacted the strictest gun control laws in America, sawtheir violent crime rates skyrocket.
Beleaguered Washington, D.C. residents eventually filedsuit, alleging that the gun control laws violated their constitutional right tobear arms. The Supreme Court, inDistrict of Columbia v. Heller agreed, striking down the gun control laws. Gun control proponents then predicted thatWashington, D.C.’s already high crime rate would reach apocalyptic heights. As John Lott explained back in March 2010 in aFox news opinion piece, these predictions were far off the mark:
But Armageddon never arrived. Quite the contrary, murders inWashington plummeted by an astounding 25 percent in 2009, dropping from 186murders in 2008 to 140. That translates to a murder rate that is now down to23.5 per 100,000 people, Washington’s lowest since 1967. While other citieshave also fared well over the last year, D.C.’s drop was several times greaterthan that for other similar sized cities. According to preliminary estimates bythe FBI, nationwide murders fell by a relatively more modest 10 percent lastyear and by about 8 percent in other similarly sized cities of half a millionto one million people (D.C.’s population count is at about 590,000).
The Washington Post argues that America is a safer place inrecent years in spite of guns. Thisconclusion is almost certainly bass ackwards. The reality is that America is a safer place in recent years because ofguns. It’s certainly true that the otherfactors Marc Fisher included in his article — demographic shifts, stricterprison terms, lead-free gasoline, and abortion — may all affect the violentcrime decline but, as Fisher acknowledges, it’s almost impossible to prove astrong correlation for any of these. Theone factor that correlates strongly and effortlessly with decreased crime,however, is concealed carry.
All of us, wherever we sit on America’s political spectrum,are grateful when are nation is a safer place. Those of us who believe in the Second Amendment, however, can only bedeeply frustrated when Progressives acknowledge this change, but then work asaggressively as possibly to reverse the single trend — rising concealed carryrates — that most closely correlates with this drop in crime. One wishes that Progressives would understandthat, if you hear hoof beats outside your window, don’t go looking for zebrasthat you’re not likely to find; look for plain old horses instead.
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