J. D. Heyes
December 31, 2012
It isn’t a firearms statistic that liberal progressives and gun banners like California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will want to hear but it’s true nonetheless: According to the most recent statistics, the more guns that have been sold in the Golden State, the fewer gun deaths and injuries there have been.
According to the state’s office of the Attorney General, gun dealers sold around 600,000 guns last year, nearly double the 350,000 sold in 2002, according to figures compiled by department officials.
During the same period of time, however, “the number of California hospitalizations due to gun injuries” fell by some 4,000 a year to roughly 2,900, a drop of about 25 percent, “according to hospital records collected by the California Department of Public Health,” the Sacramento Bee reported.
Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office said, the number of deaths from firearms fell from 3,200 a year to about 2,800, an 11 percent decline, according to California health department figures.
“Most of the drop in firearm-related injuries and deaths can be explained by a well-documented, nationwide drop in violent crime,” the paper said.
California’s example is being repeated all over the country
There’s more. Data show that the number of injuries and death in the state caused by accidental discharge of firearms has fallen as well, suggesting as one explanation, perhaps, that instruction in the use of firearms may have improved (Note: California allows concealed carry of handguns, but is much more restrictive than most other states, according to USACarry.com).
There are some caveats to the California figures, the SacBee reported. For one, state figures track gun sales, now gun ownership, meaning the state treats “a family’s first gun purchase the same as a collector’s twelfth.” Secondly, gun sales in California reached their zenith in the mid-1990s, when violent crime also peaked.
What is going on in California is being repeated all over the country – again, to the chagrin of gun-banning politicians, Hollywood types, academics and the mainstream media, the latter of which barely reports the phenomenon.
Gun-related violent crime has also steadily fallen in Virginia over the past six years, though the sale of firearms has risen dramatically, “according to an analysis of state crime data with state records of gun sales,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
The total number of guns bought in the Old Dominion climbed significantly – 73 percent – from 2006-2011. When you factor in the increase in state population, firearms sales per 100,000 residents rose 63 percent, still a substantial increase.
But higher numbers of guns has not translated into more violent gun crime. As in California, gun crime has fallen in Virginia, dropping 24 percent over the same period. When adjusted for the population increase, gun-related offenses fell by more than 27 percent, from 79 crimes per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 crimes in 2011 (Note: Virginia has much less restrictive carry laws than does California).
The numbers contradict what Americans are being told by the gun controllers and banners; that more guns in circulation equals more violent, gun-related crimes, notes Virginia Commonwealth University Prof. Thomas R. Baker, who compared the state’s crime data for the aforementioned timeframe with gun-dealer sales estimates obtained by the Times-Dispatch.
Concealed carry is helping to lower crime, deaths
“While there is a wealth of academic literature attempting to demonstrate the relationship between guns and crime, a very simple and intuitive demonstration of the numbers seems to point away from the premise that more guns leads to more crime, at least in Virginia,” said Baker, who specializes in research methods and criminology theory and has an interest in gun issues, the paper said.
Gun control advocates refused to accept the reality of the data, but those who understand the effects of more Americans accepting responsibility for their own self-defense weren’t surprised.
“My opponents are constantly saying, ‘If you got more guns on the street, there’s going to be more crime.’ It all depends on who has the handgun,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League and an avid gun rights supporter. “As long as it’s going into the hands of people like you or me, there’s not going to be a problem. Criminals are going to continue to get their guns no matter what.”
Emily Miller, the editorial page editor for the Washington Times, pointed out in June that the drop in gun crime and armed violent criminal action has directly coincided with a rise in the number of states that allow concealed carry, an assertion backed by FBI crime data.
“If the gun grabbers were right, we’d be in the middle of a crime wave, considering how many guns are on the streets,” she wrote.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam made a similar connection.
“This is not a one-year anomaly, but a steady decline in the FBI’s violent-crime rates,” he told Miller. “It would be disingenuous for anyone to not credit increased self-defense laws to account for this decline.”