From the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Gallup, some facts — real facts, not opinions dressed up as facts, which is a very popular sport these days:
- Both in 2001 and in 2011, 41 percent of U.S. households reported owning guns. Broken down by region and in both years, 52 percent of households in the South, 48 percent of households in the Midwest and 29 percent of households in the East reported owning a gun. The rate of gun ownership has not changed in the past decade.
- In states with lower gun ownership rates, there were more robberies at gunpoint (39.5 per 100,000 people) than there were in states with higher gun ownership rates (30.1).
- The firearm murder rate was slightly higher in the states with higher gun ownership rates (2.9 per 100,000 population) than in the states with lower gun ownership rates (2.7 per 100,000). But the overall murder rate was almost identical (4.3 per 100,000).
- In 1980, there were 6.4 firearm-related homicides for every 100,000 people in the United States. By 2008 (the last year for which data are available), the rate had fallen by almost half to 3.6 — a rate not seen since the mid 1960s.
This information is quoted almost verbatim from TribLive. The italics were added by me. Thanks to a friend, Doug, for sending it to me. Read the whole thing. It’s pretty different from what you have been hearing.
Doug noted that “I’m pretty much agnostic on gun ownership (don’t own one myself), but this is worth a read whichever side of the issue you are on.” Doug is not a drooling redneck with no front teeth. In fact, he’s a Stanford graduate (class of 1969 — the hippie era) and — as noted — does not own a gun.
The hurricane of hysteria following Newtown is predicated on the assertion that removing guns from households will reduce “gun violence.” (Oh, yes, it’s “gun violence” now, not “gun control,” because people don’t like to be “controlled.”) Doesn’t seem that way, now does it? Of particular interest is the data on robberies at gunpoint in high-gun states versus low-gun states.
I’ve stayed out of this gun argument because it’s a tar baby. The “discussion” ended a long time ago; the anti-gun position is identified as the moral high ground by most of the Jesses*, and facts or reason no longer operate. There seems to be no possibility of changing minds on either side of the question, however strong the evidence might be, so what’s the point?
Still, it is interesting now and then, just as an intellectual exercise, to look at the actual data and see if it supports one viewpoint or another. Here, we learn that most of what we are being told by the anti-gun viewpoint is just not true. As the TribLive article concluded:
The data, however, are very clear: There is no “wave of gun violence.”
In fact, there is a lot less gun violence now than in past years. There is also no relationship between readily available firearms and levels of gun violence.
Given all of this, there are but two possibilities for the wave of gun-restricting legislation being newly discussed: Legislators are either woefully misinformed, which is unforgivable, or they are using a terrible single event to justify their attempt to control the American people further — which is far worse.
* Jesse: a superior consciousness that selects its opinions from an approved list of consensus-derived options deemed suitable for all right-thinking, highly-evolved beings, with a strong sense of tribal loyalty and and an unshakable faith in the incontrovertibility of their dogmas.