Liberal politicians and talking heads like (former host) Piers Morgan ask the same sanctimonious question after a media-publicized shooting. “How many more have to die in order for us to do something about gun violence?”
What they won’t tell you of course is that “gun violence” has been going down for decades. The media might be reporting on incidents of gun violence a lot more than they ever have, but in reality, there have been far fewer occurrences in recent years of homicides involving guns compared to 20 or 30 years ago.
And not surprisingly, because of the media’s fixation on these incidents, Americans falsely believe that gun violence must be on the rise. KLTV in Texas brought to light a recent study highlighting these statistics:
More than half of Americans believe gun violence has increased over the past two decades, but what you’re watching on the news, may be skewing your view.
That recent study said compared to 1993, the peak of US gun homicide, the rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, even though the population had grown. In other words, fewer people are dying by guns.
Assaults, robberies, and sex crimes also went down by 75 percent in 2011 [compared to 1993]. Perhaps images from shooting crime scenes seem all too familiar, but perhaps the attention to gun violence in recent months has caused more Americans to be unaware that gun crimes are actually markedly lower than they were two decades ago.
There have been about two mass shootings per month in the US over the past five years, according to another report. A mass shooting is constituted as four deaths or more, but this study said each year less than one percent of gun homicides are from mass shootings. Between 1983 and 2012 there were 547 deaths from mass shootings. These shootings are highly publicized and the public is paying close attention.
The study also noted more than half of gun-related deaths are suicides. Researchers aren’t sure why gun violence has gone down so drastically, but the study did note that the decline has slowed over the past decade compared to the rapid reduction in the 90’s.
If you’d like to read that entire study, which also explains some ideas as to why gun homicide has declined, click here.
Looking back 50 years, the U.S. gun homicide rate began rising in the 1960s, surged in the 1970s, and hit peaks in 1980 and the early 1990s. (The number of homicides peaked in the early 1990s.) The plunge in homicides after that meant that firearm homicide rates in the late 2000s were equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.1 The sharp decline in the U.S. gun homicide rate, combined with a slower decrease in the gun suicide rate, means that gun suicides now account for six-in-ten firearms deaths, the highest share since at least 1981.
You’re never going to hear the mainstream media or D.C. gun grabbers exploring the reasons that gun violence has been declining. Their first statement will be to deny that’s even true and then try to delve into why gun violence has been rising sharply in recent years. They’ll talk about “mental illness” and how “lax” gun laws and “loopholes” allow mentally ill people easy access to guns. They’ll talk about how the NRA is behind every mass shooting and how the mass shooter is always a white, “anti-government,” racist, right-wing extremist conservative who hates Obama because he’s half-black.
Of course, none of that is true. The truth isn’t all that sensational. Gun violence has been going down over the past several decades, and gun ownership has gone up. No surprise to those of us who have a brain.