Study sheds light on guns

A recent Pew Research social trends study that was published May 7, shows that more than half of Americans are more likely to believe that gun deaths and violent crime were up statistically in the United States, even though they have dropped exponentially since 1990 when violent crimes peaked.

“Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey (March 14 to 17), today 56 percent of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12 percent think it is lower.” – Pew Research, 2013

The study which was compiled by several researchers and scholars found that the United States’ crime rates have been dropping since the early 1990s when violent crimes topped out and started rapidly dropping in number and severity, according to data gathered from government and other legitimate sources.

The researchers also paid special attention to gun deaths in the United States, due to national visibility over recent shootings that have sparked heated debate and has widened a gap in the public’s understanding of statistical gun crime and subsequent laws.

According to CDC data expressed in the study, shows that in 1990, eight in 100,000 people died from gun violence in overall violent crime rates. That number has come down to about three in 100,000 in 2010.

In finding that violent crimes overall have fallen and are continuing to do so, although not as at a rapid pace as the 1990s, the data on gun crimes has fallen 49 percent since 1993 alone, even while stricter federal laws on guns and background checks were put into affect with the “Brady Bill” and others. The study suggests towards massive new gun ownership in American households may have a large affect on these trends.

Yet, they also note that there is little information on how many guns Americans actually own, but rough estimates put it about 310 million, with possibly greater variables due to the past five or more years that suggest approximately one million guns on average are sold in America each month.

They also conclude that while the public pays special attention to mass-shootings in particular …

“They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1 percent of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008. … Looking at the larger topic of firearm deaths, there were 31,672 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010. Most (19,392) were suicides.”

The study, according to the National Academy of Sciences may suggest a link that is happening at the local level which has led to further knowledge suggesting that, while shootings may occur and gun ownership may subsequently go up, the reverse is not true, lending credibility to gun rights activists brand message of “when gun ownership goes up, crime goes down.”

This study also shares other statistical information and possibilities as to why violent crimes have exponentially dropped, even while many Americans have proven naive towards actual facts on correlations between guns and crime rates overall.

You can find the entire study and its findings at:

Sam Ludtman