Following the massacre of school children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, the anti-gun lobby has been pushing hard to get tighter gun laws passed. Their talking points are always the same and have been largely discredited by actual events and statistics. In a fresh setback, a new report on gun violence reveals facts that contradict the anti-gun narrative.
The report, entitled Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence (2013), was commissioned by President Obama, who treats gun violence in the same manner that he treats terrorism; if we can only find the one magic clue that leads us to the reason behind it, we can make it all go away overnight. Unfortunately, the President would simply confiscate all firearms by force, if he thought he could actually do it. Gun violence, like terrorism, however, has no one single cause; firstly, one has to define “gun-violence”. Usually, the lists of gun-related fatalities produced by the anti-gun people – such as the now discredited list recently publicized by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – are extremely deceptive, in that they include criminals who have been shot by police, accidental shootings, suicides and law-abiding citizens using guns in self-defense or to prevent the commission of a crime. None of those scenarios accurately warrant the “gun-violence” label.
Compiled by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), this report was recently published and contains both good and bad news for gun-control advocates. The good news, for them, is that there are parts of the report they will be able to cite as showing a need for stricter gun laws. As an example; the report tells us that “the U.S. rate of firearm-related homicide is higher than that of any other industrialized country: 19.5 times higher than the rates in other high-income countries.” This will be music to the ears of those who want to disarm the American people. One interesting fact about this statistic, however, is that if one were to exclude figures for Illinois, California, New Jersey and Washington D.C., The homicide rate in the United States would be in line with any other country and – of course – the nation’s capital, along with these three states, have some of the strictest gun laws in the country. The irony of this is not lost on gun-rights advocates.
Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and other sources to produce a map, which compared gun violence rates in the major metropolitan areas of the US to rates in entire foreign nations. Whilst it was a clever way to shock the uneducated into thinking that gun violence in the US was completely out of control, one glance at the map actually confirms the pointlessness of so-called “gun-control”; with the exception of New Orleans, Louisiana and Miami, Florida, the overwhelming majority of gun crime in the United States is concentrated in areas which have the strictest gun laws; The worst area being around Washington D.C., Baltimore, New Jersey and New York City; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois and California. Compared to the areas mentioned, the rest of the country has relatively little gun-crime.
Other gun violence facts in this new report, however, distinctly contradict the usual anti-gun narrative: Whilst we are constantly told that “military-style” or “assault” rifles are such a threat to the public safety, this report asserts that hand-guns are, by far, the firearm most used in incidents of gun violence: “Handguns,” the report states, “are used in more than 87 percent of violent crimes.”
Another well-known anti-gun refrain is that more guns lead to more crime. FBI statistics have been proving, for years, that this is simply not true and the CDC report backs that up, as follows: “Overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past five years.” Gun sales in the same period have increased dramatically.
The CDCP report also tells us that “The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths.” In addition, it points out that “firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States.”
Possibly the most significant statement in the report refers to the defensive use of firearms by law-abiding citizens. In regards to this, the report states “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals.” This, of course, is something that is never reported in the mainstream media. Perhaps more importantly, this report reveals that armed civilians are more likely to survive an attack than those who do not have a firearm: “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used“ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
The Obama administration’s official interpretation of this report will be interesting. Parts of it could, without doubt, be spun to fit either side of the gun debate, but the salient points contained within these findings on gun violence unquestionably contradict the anti-gun narrative.
Graham J Noble