Gun Violence Decreasing
by Kerby Anderson
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans believe that gun violence is greater than ever. The problem with that view is that the opposite is true. Violent gun crime has dropped dramatically in the past two decades.
The Pew report explains that: "National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime." Government statistics show that the rate of non-fatal violent gun crime victimization dropped 75 percent in the past 20 years. The gun homicide rate dropped 49 percent in that same period. (During that same time period Concealed Carry permits, by good citizens, has increased by approximately the same percentages. RB)
Most Americans are unaware of this drop in gun crime. According to the Pew survey, 56 percent of Americans believe gun crime is worse than it was 20 years ago. If you add in those people who believe it has stayed the same, then you have 84 percent who believe it has either gone up or stayed the same. Only 12 percent have the correct view: that gun violence has decreased the last 20 years.
Let's put it another way. At a time when the nation was having a debate about guns and gun control, more than 8 out of 10 Americans had a perspective about gun violence that was completely opposite of the true reality. I think we all know why the public perception is incorrect. The news media focus our attention on crimes, especially gun crimes. This has been true for some time, but was especially true since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The Pew Research report also puts these mass shootings in context. "According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less the 1 percent of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008." In other words, they are very rare, but of course get lots of media attention when they occur.
This latest survey once again is a reminder that public opinion can often be wrong, and that's why we need accurate statistics before we enact government policies.
Please don't overlook the fact that as increasing numbers of law-abiding citizens get gun carry licenses, the number of people shot in the U.S. decreases. RB
Here is a 12 minute video of a black sheriff addressing a national NRA conference. This brave, freedom loving Constitutionalist drew a constant outbreak of applause from this huge crowd of American Patriots. You too may find yourself standing and applauding. RB