Gun violence dropping for twenty years

Most people mistakenly think gun violence is on the rise & gun control is an emotional issue so proponents dislike letting facts rarely get in their way. The fact is that gun violence has been declining sharply for twenty years. Homicides committed with guns are down and non-fatal injuries are down. I know that perhaps I concentrate on the smaller factors, but let’s make a few speculations about statistics.

We sometimes imply causality to laws or changes that are really part of trends caused by other factors. Had we passed a comprehensive gun control law twenty years ago, gun control propoents would be taking credit for the 39% drop in homicides, the 69% drop in non-fatal gun violence & the drop by nearly a third in yearly homicides in schools. It is also true, BTW, that 90% of gun violence is committed with handguns, not rifles.

Politicians taking credit for trends is nothing new, but it can be pernicious since it makes people susceptible to more laws to control things. For example, black incomes were rising before the civil rights acts of the 1960s. The trends continued after the passage of the laws, but then flattened out in the 1970s.

Workplace injuries were falling before OSHA was established. They continued to do this after at about the same rate.

If you play it right, you can get in front of trends and claim credit. It is like putting into place a program to make the weather warmer. If you do this in January, by June you can claim success.

Gun violence is a problem in the U.S., although the strange thing is that it tends to be worse where gun control rules are strictest and it is less of a problem than it was twenty years ago. Sometimes trends are hard to explain and sometimes they go against conventional wisdom.

Posted by Christine & John at May 19, 2013 8:34 AM
Comment #366179

This was Bloomberg about 10 months ago:

“(CNN) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bemoaned Monday what he called a “deafening silence” on gun control from the two presidential candidates after a pair of high-profile shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin killed a combined 18 people.”

This is Bloomberg after the latest gun violence statistics came out:

“New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has not made a peep about gun control since news came out that firearms-related deaths were way down. President Obama has ignored it and continued to pursue more gun-control laws. Their reaction shows how this news screws up their agenda to keep the decline in gun-related homicides a secret from Americans so that they can pass restrictions on the Second Amendment.”

It’s hard to never waste a crisis, when you don’t have a crisis.

Posted by: CasperWY at May 19, 2013 3:47 PM
Comment #366181

The Democrats become irate when they are accused of trying to take people’s gun away from them. They love to claim how much they support the 2nd Amendment; but we always have to be at guard against their backdoor attempts to disarm Americans. Take this latest example of the left’s hatred of gun rights:

“A group of congressional Democrats has signed on to new legislation that would mandate liability insurance for all gun owners in the United States — and fine those who refuse to purchase it as much as $10,000.

The Daily Caller reports that New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Firearm Risk Protection Act says that all gun buyers — before they buy — purchase and show proof of “a qualified liability insurance policy,” and that those caught owning a weapon without the insurance are subject to harsh fines.

“It shall be unlawful for a person who owns a firearm purchased on or after the effective date of this subsection not to be covered by a qualified liability insurance policy,” the text of the bill states.

Ms. Maloney says her bill would shift the cost of gun violence back onto those who own the weapon. Gun rights groups call that logic ridiculous, however.

“[The bill] is ridiculous on its face, as it presumes law-abiding gun owners are guilty for merely exercising a fundamental, constitutional right,” said Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, to The Daily Caller.”

This Bill makes every law abiding gun owner a criminal; not to mention it’s another attempt to tax a group of Americans.

Liberalism vs. Conservatisms: which is the enemy of America? I don’t know, which one wants to take away our rights???

Posted by: CasperWY at May 19, 2013 4:03 PM
Comment #366184

For what it’s worth, 3-D printing will make all the debates about gun control moot. It will be impossible to enforce any laws when anyone can simply print their own gun, so the only alternative will be to liberalize the law.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 19, 2013 5:10 PM
Comment #366188

Warren you don’t need a 3D printer to make your own gun, hi capacity magazine, or magazine extender. The local machine shop has had everything you need. It’s easier to make a gun than it is to cook crack or produce meth and neither of those are in short supply despite prohibition.

People in California line up at local shops on Saturdays to make their AR-15 lowers. Federal laws says that you can make one gun for your own personal use and it is not subject to any registration requirements. Make your own lower then buy the rest of the gun.

Posted by: George in SC at May 19, 2013 6:51 PM
Comment #366190

In 2010, there were 11,078 firearm homicides in the United States.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!

We don’t murder nearly as many people as we used to! That’s America, Baby!

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!

Posted by: phx8 at May 19, 2013 8:19 PM
Comment #366191

Gun violence as a percentage of all violent crime has not declined over the past twenty years. What has dramatically declined is violent crime in general. The drop in gun violence goes hand in hand with a general drop in violent crime.

The issue for gun control advocates has always been to mitigate the consequences of violent crime as well as reducing the number of accidental deaths and injuries from guns. The argument is not that gun control will reduce crime, per se, but rather that it would reduce the number of deaths and injuries from violent acts. That issue remains.

Posted by: Rich at May 19, 2013 8:23 PM
Comment #366193


Simply stating that the problem is much improved in the last twenty years. Would gun control have made it drop more? In Brazil guns are strictly controlled and even most hunting is illegal. Yet gun violence is much worse here. It is even worse in Venezuela, which also controls guns. It is also true that places with strong gun control in the U.S. have high murder rates, such as Chicago or DC.

America has some violent sub-cultures that use violence and guns. But not always. C grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. Everybody had guns. Murder was generally unknown and crime in general was virtually non-existent. Her parents died about ten years ago and never locked their door. They left the keys in their car. Perhaps the presence of all those guns kept the bad guys away.

I work sometimes in rural southern Virginia. People are well-armed. Many carry guns in their trucks. Crime is low. You can leave stuff out and nobody takes it.

We should analyze why some parts of our country are so peaceful and others are so violent and figure out the similarity and differences. Guns do not seem to be the dominant factor.


If violence goes down in general, fewer people are victims of violence. That is why murder rates in Northern Virginia are lower than those in DC even though Virginia has liberal gun laws (using liberal in the original sense of freer) while DC is very strict.

From the PEW study you link - “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.”

Good, right?

Posted by: CJ at May 19, 2013 9:19 PM
Comment #366195

I see. 11,078 firearm homicides is really not so bad if we simply compare it to a larger number.

A better comparison might be the US with Australia. Both countries have similar cultures, similar medias, movies, video games, and so on. In Australia, which has gun control, the firearm homicide rate comes in at .13 per 100,000 in the year 2010. In the US, the same rate clocks in at 3.6 per 100,000 for the same year.

In other words, in two similar countries, a person is 27 times more likely to be murdered in the one without gun control.

Gun control done in the style of Australia, including an aggressive gun buy-back program, would decrease firearm homicides by about 95%.

Thgat is a headline I would like to see: Firearm homicides decline by 95%

Posted by: phx8 at May 19, 2013 10:40 PM
Comment #366196

Of course its good, C&J, that violent crime with or without a firearm is dramatically down. But, firearm crimes as a percent of all violent incidences remains the same. Fewer incidents but same proportional outcome.

Gun control advocates would argue that further deaths and injuries could be avoided by regulating the opportunity and firepower of weapons used in violent incidents.

If deaths from failure to use a helmet in motorcycle accidents were dramatically down that wouldn’t argue against helmet laws if the decline was simply proportional to an overall decline in motorcycle ridership and/or accidents and especially if lack of helmets remained at the same causal percent for death.

The issue of reducing death and serious injury from gun related violence and accidents remains as compelling as ever.

Posted by: Rich at May 19, 2013 10:58 PM
Comment #366232

“In other words, in two similar countries, a person is 27 times more likely to be murdered in the one without gun control”

That’s not exactly true, Phx8.
In the US, urban areas with more strict gun laws have more gun deaths than suburban and rural areas with lesss strict gun laws. In MO, where I am at, the large urban areas have more than three times as many gun deaths as suburban and rural areas.
Suburban and rural areas have more guns, more of the scary looking ARs and large cap mags, but we have a lot less murders and other crime.
If 5 million people can live with a 2nd Amendment, why can’t 1 million?

“The issue of reducing death and serious injury from gun related violence and accidents remains as compelling as ever”

Not really, Rich.
IF we really want to tackle the issue head on, we must drop the PC crap and look at the real problem: people.

Posted by: kctim at May 20, 2013 10:00 AM
Comment #366236

“The issue of reducing death and serious injury from gun related violence and accidents remains as compelling as ever”

This is clearly not the intent of lawmakers based on the legislation that was originally proposed by D. Feinstein, because if reducing death and serious injury was the goal then an Assuault Weapons Ban is starting with the least likely cause.

In 2011 there were 31,672 firearm related fatalities. Of these 733 were long gun homicides, 2,924 long gun suicides, 83 long gun unitentional, and 23 long gun others (source: Removing suicide from “gun related violence” means taking out of the total number the number of suicides (31,672-19,392= 12,280) and using the total of long gun homicides, accidents and others (839). That means the legislation proposed addressed 7% of the problem.

And that’s the rub; there’s no credibility coming from Gun Control advocates. They went straight back to the AWB and magazine restrictions, legislation with a 10 year proven track record of futility. That didn’t work so then said they said “we don’t want to take away your guns (what’s the point of a “ban”?)”. Finally they backed up to just wanting sensible gun control (universal NICS). This has caused gun rights advocates like the NRA to to oppose ANY legislation on guns just as Sen. Shummer warned in his December Op-Ed.

Say what you really want-“you don’t need a gun except for MAYBE hunting.” To do so means the registration then confiscation of 300m of existing firearms and the ban on manufacturing and distribution. Oh and an amdendment to the Constitution. Taking the progressive, incremental approach just ins’t going to work on this issue.

Posted by: George in SC at May 20, 2013 11:26 AM
Comment #366237
I see. 11,078 firearm homicides is really not so bad if we simply compare it to a larger number.

The VAST majority of those firearm homicides are due directly to the drug war. If we end the war, the prohibition effect that is fueling it will go away. The US will be a much safer place.

A better comparison might be the US with Australia. Both countries have similar cultures, similar medias, movies, video games, and so on.

Actually, that’s not really correct at all. There are lots of differences between Australia and the US Cultures. The primary one being that Australians have never had the rights that the US Citizenry has had, especially when it comes to arms.

In Australia, which has gun control, the firearm homicide rate comes in at .13 per 100,000 in the year 2010. In the US, the same rate clocks in at 3.6 per 100,000 for the same year.

In other words, in two similar countries, a person is 27 times more likely to be murdered in the one without gun control.

You make the mistake first of assuming that the societies are similar, they aren’t. Second, you make the further mistake of saying that you are more likely to die because the murder rates BY GUN are higher. That doesn’t mean you are more likely to be killed, just that the way you will be killed is more likely to be by gun.

Let’s look at some crime statistics between the two countries.

Per Capita Assault Victims.

Australia 2.4%
United States 1.2%

Belief in Police Effeciency

Australia 76%
United States 89%

Perception of Safety

Australia 64%
United States 82%

Rape Victims

Australia 1%
United States .4%

Suicide Rates (13-24)

Australia 14.6 per 100,000 people
United States 13.7 per 100,000 people

Suicide Rates (25-34)

Australia 18.7 per 100,000 people
United States 15.3 per 100,000 people

Total Crime Victims

Australia 30.1%
United States 21.1%

We have a lot of gun violence in this country as a direct result of black/black crime and gang warfare directly related to the drug war we have been engaging in. This inflates the gun deaths in this country tremendously. And even with that going on, TOTAL VIOLENT CRIME is less in the US than in Australia, the feeling of being safe is greater and the actual fact of being safe is greater as well in the US than in Australia BECAUSE we allow our citizens to better defend themselves against violent crime.

Now, take the STATES in the US that have the most ‘free’ gun laws and compare their murder rates and violent crime to the UK and Australia and you see an even bigger disparity. The fact is that allowing responsible citizens the ability to defend themselves against violent crime results in less violent crime, period.

Here’s a great stat…

Please note that the United States has approximately 251,273,040 more people than the UK and only about 5,000,000 more crimes.

Now lets look at New Hampshire and Vermont, the two states with the least restrictive gun laws. They both rank between the lowest and next to lowest in most violent crime categories. (or rather 49-51 out of 51).

On the other hand, California (most restrictive) has a crime rate that puts in in the top half of the country, in the top 20 in murder rates. New Jersey is second most restrictive and is in the top 30 in murder and violent crime. Massachusetts is 3rd most restrictive and hover at the top 20 in violent crime and top 30 in murder. DC of course is ranked #1 in both violent crime and murder and has arguable the most restrictive gun laws imaginable. They were the worst until their very restrictive gun laws were found to be unconstitutional is 2008, since then their violent crime rate has dropped by over 8%…

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 20, 2013 12:16 PM
Comment #366238

Sorry my figures above were for 2010 and not 2011. 2011 numbers were incomplete.

Posted by: George in SC at May 20, 2013 12:29 PM
Comment #366239

“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” - MLK Jr

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 20, 2013 12:30 PM
Comment #366240

“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” ― Calvin Coolidge

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 20, 2013 12:33 PM
Comment #366262

Rhinehold, I have heard that gun crimes in America also includes those involving the police. Do you know if that is true.

I have also heard that crimes committed in the UK are doctored to fit their numbers showing less crime. Not sure about Australia or other gun ban countries.

Thanks for you stats; I’m sure the libs hate it when you come back at their silly talk with real facts.

Posted by: CasperWY at May 20, 2013 10:26 PM
Comment #366266

Um, Casper, Rhinehold never disagreed with the fact that over 11,000 Americans were victims of gun homicides in 2010. He never disagreed with the fact few Australians are murdered with guns, while many Americans are murdered that way. He cited statistics involving overall crime, assaults, and so on. He speculated about possible reasons for why so many Americans are murdered with guns, such as the War on Drugs.

He did everything BUT address the fact that over 11,000 Americans were murdered with guns in 2010.

By the way, gun homicides in Great Britain are even lower than Australia, much lower. They still have crime in Australia and Great Britain. They just don’t murder each other with guns.

Posted by: phx8 at May 20, 2013 11:26 PM
Comment #366270
They just don’t murder each other with guns.

And they don’t defend themselves with them either. Which is why there are more victims of violent crimes than in the US.

Of course, you didn’t address the fact that states with more lax gun laws have less murders with guns than states with stricter gun laws.

You want to try to make the suggestion that the fact that guns are available to responsible citizens, that is why more people are dying due to guns. It’s simply not the backed up with facts when you look into them deeper than a 3rd grader would.

The real problem is why do some people think it is ‘ok’ to kill another human. Once we crack that nut and figure out what about our society is causing that (I think I have enough facts and research on the subject to get to the root of the problem) then maybe we can stop the problem.

Simply making guns harder to get for responsible people (who do NOT kill others with guns, 99.9% of legal gun owners do not use them to harm another) will not do anything to lower that number, no matter how much emotive rhetoric you employ.

Posted by: Rhinehold at May 20, 2013 11:57 PM
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