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Thursday, 07 January 2010 09:45

Gun Ownership Up, Crime Down

Written by  Patrick Krey

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the "oft-cited credo that more guns equal more crime is being tested by facts on the ground this year: Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply." FBI statistics for the past several years had shown crime rates holding steady but for 2009, violent crimes dropped "dramatically." Contrast these figures with the fact that gun sales are up 12 percent since the election of Barack Obama.

Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, was quoted as saying:

What this shows is that gun prohibitionists are all wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime.... Hard facts trump hot air. These people are consistently wrong about our rights. Millions of people bought guns, especially semiautomatic sport-utility rifles that gun grabbers want to ban because they say people aren’t safe with all of those guns in private hands. Well, the people disagree, and so does the data.

Gun rights researcher, Professor Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, explained that he believed the surge in gun sales might possibly be having a deterrent effect on criminals. “It’s possible that criminals hear about lots of people buying guns, and then you can see a plausible mechanism, that conceivably could have produced a reduction in murder… It’s all a matter of perception, not reality, for prospective murderers."

Joe Gimenez, writing for The American Thinker, commented:

But shouldn't more guns equate to more murders and other violent crime? Only if you live in liberal never-never land. That certainly has not been the case in early 2009. Guns are purchased so that good people can protect themselves against bad people. And moreover, self-protection is a basic human right, despite the fact that our new wise Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor couldn't bring herself to acknowledge that this summer.

Economist John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, told Human Events that "[t]his is just the type of thing that was predicted… Letting law-abiding citizens carry guns reduces the rate at which criminals are carrying guns… Criminals tend to avoid activities that are risky to them.”

Another encouraging sign is that nationwide, gun laws tend to be loosening. A nationwide review published by the Associated Press, "found that over the last two years, 24 states, mostly in the South and West, have passed 47 new laws loosening gun restrictions." This trend has been accompanied with changing perceptions regarding gun ownership.

The AP also reports that, according to Gallup polling, the popularity of so-called "gun control" has drastically declined over the past 50 years. "In 1959, 60 percent of respondents said they favored a ban on handguns except for 'police and other authorized persons.' By last year, Gallup's most recent crime survey found 69 percent opposed such a ban." There were also laws passed in some states which increased restrictions on gun rights but, overall, the AP found that "more than three times as many laws were passed to make it easier on gun owners."

Photo: AP Images

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