As Pew has reported in recent years, the American public is “unaware” that the homicide rate in the United States has fallen by 49 percent over the past twenty years. And while Pew doesn’t report on it, it’s also a safe bet that the public is unaware that homicide rates have collapsed as total gun ownership in the United States has increased significantly.
Over a recent 20 year period, the number of new guns in the US that were either manufactured in the US or imported into the US increased 141 percent from 6.6 million new guns in 1994 to 16 million in 2013. That means a gross total of 132 million new guns were added into the US population over that time period.
Naturally, these facts are steadfastly ignored by people who can’t do basic arithmetic, like the constitutional law Professor David S. Cohen who wrote Monday at Rolling Stone that the second Amendment must be repealed because it is “a threat to liberty” and a “suicide pact.”
We have demonstrated that trends over time do not lend much help to the idea that the availability of guns have increased homicide rates. Nor is there any clear help for the gun control argument if we look at homicide rates on a state-by-state basis. Indeed, some states with the least restrictive gun laws, such as New Hampshire, Vermont, and Idaho, have some of the lowest homicide rates found anywhere in the world. And, even slightly more restrictive states like Minnesota and Colorado have very low homicide rates.
Gun control advocates like to point to Canada as a model for more restrictive gun laws, but what we find is that as states become more like Canada in terms of demographics and climate, they have more similar homicide rates. So, many states that border Canada have gun laws far more permissive than anything found in Canada — but have similar homicide rates.
We also fail to find support for gun-control claims along the southern border as well. Mexico has far more restrictive gun laws than the United States, and even when we take “informal” (i.e., illegal) gun ownership into account, there are still fewer private guns in Mexico than in the United States. And yet cities and counties that border Mexico tend to have much, much lower homicide rates. The city of El Paso Texas, for example, which is of course within the jurisdiction of Texas’s lax gun laws, has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, at a mere 0.6 per 100,000 (as of 2012). El Paso has long been considered to be one of the safest cities in North America (and one of the most Hispanic cities, as well). Notably, El Paso is within easy walking distance of Chihuahua State in Mexico where homicide rates are among the worst in the world, and where gun laws are extremely restrictive.
Source: Center for Global Development.
Many advocates for gun control employ their usual soft bigotry of low expectations and claim that Mexicans could never be expected to behave like people in “advanced” countries, thus no comparisons are allowed. Naturally, no standard for why one North American country cannot be compared to another is ever provided. But if we do allow ourselves to believe that Mexicans are, in fact, full-fledged human beings, we will make a comparison and wonder why gun-tolerant Texas is so much more peaceful than gun-restrictive Mexico.
The reality is that gun control advocates seem to all come from the same party or political ideology, which is big government and minimal individual rights and responsibilities. They want to feel safe by taking away individual rights and telling people what to do. But it is also the position of the elites, including Democrat lawmakers, who insist they need armed security and workplaces that have well armed police details, but they would rather that individuals are exempted from the right of self protection. It is laughable that they call themselves the party of the common people. They are anything but that.