Gun Sales Up, Homicide Rate Down, Few Paying Attention Surprised

Once again reality has proven harsh to the advocates of gun control that have been warning us that blood will run through the streets whenever firearm laws are repealed or liberalized. As it turns out gun homicides are down 49% since their peek in 1993:

National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.

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.

As Robert Heinlein wrote in Beyond This Horizon, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” Advocates of gun control believe that the only way to reduce violence in society is to give the state a monopoly on gun ownership. Somebody holding a less authoritarian view on society would point out that centralizing power has, historically, be ineffective at reducing violence. Decentralizing power, on the other hand, has been far more effective at reducing violence. Even the year with the highest homicide rate in the United States can’t compare to the millions upon millions killed in countries where power is or was centralized.

Nobody should be surprised by this news. Deductive logic would lead one to understand that having more armed people in a society increases the overall cost of initiating violence. Much like predatory animals that prey on the weak and sickly, violent people prefer to prey on the unarmed.