Firearm Violence, 1993-2011

The Bureau of Justice Statistics collects and publishes all manner of criminal data. Of course it lags a little bit because you have to wait for the year to end, then allow time for data collation. Nevertheless, there is no bias, no agenda, just pure data from the .gov.

And we can trust the .gov, right?

In May 2013, they published their Firearm Violence, 1993-2011 report.

Let’s look at some of this data.

Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011.

Of course, if you listen to the “news,” you’d think it was at an all-time high.

About 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun from 1993 to 2011.

So why then do they want to ban rifles? Something doesn’t add up.

From 1993 to 2010, males, blacks, and persons ages 18 to 24 had the highest rates of firearm homicide.

What’s going on with these populations that cause them to have the highest rates? Maybe we should examine some deeper social issues?

In 2004, among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of offense, less than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show and 40% obtained their firearm from an illegal source.

So if they didn’t follow the laws we have now, how will bans, background checks, and other regulations and limits stop anything? Perhaps we need to look for real answers, not knee-jerk reactions, not solutions that don’t stop crime but do stop good, law-abiding citizens?

In 2004, among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of offense, fewer than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show, about 10% purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37% obtained it from family or friends, and another 40% obtained it from an illegal source (table 14). This was similar to the percentage distribution in 1997.

Further data on the above. So they talk about the evils of the gun shows and make them out like a Wal-Mart for criminals, yet gun shows are barely a statistical blip. Most are getting them off the street, through theft, drug deals, or obtaining from people they know. So they’re already committing an illegal act to obtain their guns. How will making it more illegal do anything? They aren’t regarding the current laws.

Persons living in urban areas had the highest rates of nonfatal firearm violence

Basically that means they stuck a gun in your face, you gave them your money, and they left without killing you (still maybe harming, maiming for life, but you lived). This also means that if you live in the city, you’ve got more chance of being the victim of a violent crime than if you live in a rural area.

In 2011, higher rates of nonfatal violence occurred in areas with a population of more than 250,000 residents than in areas with a population under 250,000

That further backs up the above: live in a big city? greater chance of being victim of a violent crime, than if you live in a small town.

In 2007-11, the majority of nonfatal firearm violence occurred in or around the victim’s home (42%) or in an open area, on the street, or while on public transportation (23%) (table 7). Less than 1% of all nonfatal firearm violence occurred in schools.

Actually the summary is a little deceiving and you need to look at the table itself. The upshot? Yes, violence can and does happen in the home. But the majority of violent encounters happen outside the home: open area, street, public transportation, parking lot or garage, or near your home (but not in it). The implication? As Tom Givens like to say, “Carry your damn gun, people.” People seem to have no problem preparing for a home break-in’, or want to carry a gun in their car. But when the data shows that most violent crime happens in not-these-places, what are you doing to be prepared for those violent encounters?

As well, firearm violence in schools? It’s marginal. It might grab the most headlines, but that’s the only thing it has a lot of.

Anyways, you can read the report for yourself.

Yes, the report also contains some things that “pro-gun” folks might not want to tout. For instance:

For both fatal and nonfatal firearm victimizations, the majority of the decline occurred during the 10-year period from 1993 to 2002

That somewhat coincides with the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (through 2004). So did that ban work? Hard to say, but I would think it had no effect because if the vast majority of crimes were committed by handguns (which really weren’t the target of the ban, and if you look at the firearms used in crimes again it doesn’t mesh with those firearms targeted by the AWB). Then from about 2002 to 2011, numbers have remained about the same.

Really, what a lot of this says to me? The common tactics of addressing “gun violence” are not addressing gun violence at all. They might be trying to address the symptoms, but they are not addressing the root causes. It’s like taking a cough drop: sure you stop coughing, but you’re still sick.  It’s evident the common tactics of bans, restrictions, checks, etc. are ineffective because those things have been in place and are still in place, but yet they make no impact towards the end of “reducing/eliminating gun violence”.  So why are you continuing to seek solutions in answers that have been proven ineffective? Or do you not understand the definition of insanity?

Or maybe you use “stopping violence” as a front, and your goals are more nefarious.

But let’s assume you mean well and truly want to stop violence. If so, you need to stop taking cough drops and get some proper rest. You need to work at the root causes. Again, why are young black males the overwhelming majority of perpetrators? What is going on to bring that about? What’s different in the Hispanic populations that has brought about the largest drop in that group? Maybe we should be looking at deeper social issues, economic issues, etc. to see what’s causing people to turn to guns and violence as the way to proceed in life.

I know it won’t give instant results, nor easy answers. In fact, it may be rather a tough pill to swallow because it might not be very politically correct. But if you want real solutions, you’ll face the Ugly Truth and work to make things truly better… else, things will only get worse.


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