Gun Crime Is Way Down, Though Americans Think The Opposite

New gun crime statistics reveal that the issue of gun violence could be overblown. According to a new study, the volume of gun crime is way down from where it was in the mid-1990s.

(By “gun crime,” the study authors are including “killings, assaults, robberies, and other crimes,” the L.A. Times reports.)

In spite of this, the Pew Research Center (PRC) has found that most Americans believe that gun crime statistics have gotten worse.

Rates Cut In Half

In less than 20 years, the murder rates involving a firearm have been cut in half, the findings showed. “Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns,” noted the Times, adding that “Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.”

In a separate report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that “gun killings” had fallen by 39 percent, while non-fatal crimes fell even more sharply at a rate of 69 percent. (Both stats between 1993 and 2011.)

Perceptions Aren’t Reality

Switching back to the Pew survey of more than 900 participants, only 12 percent of those surveyed felt that gun crime statistics had gone down with the overwhelming majority believing it to be a bigger issue than it is.

D’Vera Cohn, senior writer at the PRC, admitted that “It’s hard to know what’s going on there,” noting that “women, people of color, and the elderly were more likely to believe that gun crime was up than men, younger adults or white people.”

Despite having a higher amount of guns per capita than any other country in the world (according to the Swiss-led Small Arms Survey), the United States does not have the highest murder rate.

Still, Pew points out that the rate is “higher than most other developed countries.”

One particular point that gun rights advocates, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), like to point out about the move for more stringent gun control laws is this: Chicago has some of the toughest laws in the country against the handling, acquisition, and ownership of firearms, but it somehow leads the nation in the number of murders, with guns being utilized most often as the weapon of choice.

Do you think these new gun crime statistics favor the NRA and gun rights lobby? If not, what do you think is causing the drop in gun crime violence throughout the United States?

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