In the past couple of weeks, gun violence at the
University of California, Santa Barbara and
Seattle Pacific University resulted in the deaths of seven
innocent people. These criminal acts have also, inevitably, led to
calls for gun control. However terrifying these stories are,
they need to be put in context. As Nick Gillespie pointed out in a
Reason TV program released in the wake of the mass shooting at
Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there are
five basic facts about guns, schools, and violence that are worth
“5 Facts about Guns, Schools, and Violence,” Written by
Nick Gillespie and produced by Amanda C. Winkler. Approximately
Original release date was January 10, 2013. The original writeup
In the wake of December’s horrific mass shooting at Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Vice President Joe Biden
is chairing a panel of experts that will make gun-control
recommendations to President Barack Obama by the end of the month.
The president has said that enacting new restrictions on guns will
be one of his highest priorities.
No one wants to ever again see anything like the senseless
slaughter of 26 people — including 20 children – at a school. But
as legislators turn toward creating new gun laws, here are five
facts they need to know.
1. Violent crime — including violent crime using guns — has
dropped massively over the past 20 years.
The violent crime rate – which includes murder, rape, and
beatings – is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the
violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined
at a similar pace.
2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years.
Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer’s
theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not
becoming more frequent. “There is no pattern, there is no
increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern
University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass
killings peaked in 1929.
3. Schools are getting safer.
Across the board, schools are less dangerous than they used be.
Over the past 20 years, the rate of theft per 1,000 students
dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crime, the victimization rate
per 1,000 students dropped from 53 to 14.
4. There Are More Guns in Circulation Than Ever Before.
Over the past 20 years, virtually every state in the country has
liberalized gunownership rules and many states have expanded
concealed carry laws that allow more people to carry weapons in
more places. There around 300 million guns in the United States and
at least one gun in about 45 percent of all households. Yet the
rate of gun-related crime continues to drop.
5. “Assault Weapons Bans” Are Generally Ineffective.
While many people are calling for reinstating the federal ban on
assault weapons — an arbitrary category of guns that has no clear
definition — research shows it would have no effect on crime and
violence. “Should it be renewed,” concludes a definitive study,
“the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best
and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is as horrifing a
crime as can be imagined. It rips at the country’s heart and the
call to action is strong and righteous. But as Joe Biden and his
panel of experts consider changes to gun laws and school-safety
policies, they need to lead with their heads and not just their
Over the past dozen years, too many policies — the Patriot Act,
the war in Iraq, the TARP bailouts — have been ruled by emotion
Passing sweeping new restrictions on Second Amendment rights
won’t heal the pain and loss we all feel but just may create many
more problems in our future.
from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1owcw6S