According to The Washington Post, the incidence of violent criminals using a firearm is down in the United States. In the newspaper’s list of reasons for this phenomenon, there is one glaring omission—widespread gun ownership. As often as the subject of what the media like to inaccurately call “gun violence” arises, when it comes to examining the reasons for ever-increasing levels of safety, the fact that more Americans than ever own firearms is almost always left out of the equation.
This is intentional. Equating more gun ownership with an uptick in the safety of Americans goes against the ideological bent of those who seek to weaken the Second Amendment.
The first reason given for fewer gun crimes is more police on the beat. There are more police on duty in suburban areas, but inner cities plagued by persistent crime aren’t getting nearly the manpower needed to crush gangs and bring peace back to hotspots embroiled in the drug wars.
Equating more gun ownership with an uptick in the safety of Americans goes against the ideological bent of those who seek to weaken the Second Amendment.The Post’s second reason for less violent crime using firearms is that police are utilizing computers to collect data on crime and pinpoint their efforts, maximizing efficiency. This is true to some extent, but doesn’t account for the fact that when robbers bust in the window or door, the police are several minutes away. What a homeowner needs, and increasingly has at the ready, is a firearm to protect him or herself and loved ones from the assailants. With nearly 500,000 defensive uses of a firearm in the United States each year, it’s clear that law-abiding gun owners are contributing greatly to the reduction in crime.
WaPo’s third reason was “less booze,” which doesn’t square with reporting by CBS News on millennial wine consumption. Millennial drinkers consume 42 percent of all wine purchased, a trend expected to increase over time. CBS said of young wine drinkers, “Research also showed that younger drinkers are thirstier than older oenophiles, drinking an average 3.1 glasses, compared to 2.4 for Gen Xers and 1.9 for boomers.” Overall drinking has shown an increase as well, with The Washington Post itself reporting that alcohol-related deaths reached a 35-year high in 2014.This couldn't account for a lower firearm death rate unless only the criminals were drinking themselves to death.
The article then goes on to discuss the results of good public policy relating to lead exposure. Lead is a toxin; studies demonstrate a link between early childhood lead contact and an increase in aggressive behavior. While there is no denying that our air is cleaner and fewer children are poisoned by lead today as compared with years past, it’s quite a stretch to attribute a 56-percent drop in violent crime to people being healthier. People learning healthier gun ownership habits, on the other hand? That’s a yes.
The last reason given is a healthier economy. While this makes sense on its face, the underlying fact that so many Americans have become gun owners because they can afford to purchase a gun due to increased job security and better pricing is never mentioned.
Let’s give credit where it is due: Gun ownership rose markedly during the same period examined by The Washington Post.Let’s give credit where it is due: Gun ownership rose markedly during the same period examined by The Washington Post. Every year of the Obama administration broke records for gun sales. Annual federal firearm background checks surged to a new high: 23.1 million in 2015 and 27.5 million in 2016, with 2017 on track to surpass even those sky-high numbers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, deaths by criminal firearm use are down from a high of more than 18,253 in 1990 to 10,945 in 2014. That's good news—but let’s be honest about the reasons why. Increased gun ownership played a significant part. While this factor doesn’t account for the entire decline, gun ownership is a critical element in deterring crime—and that is news worthy of reporting, whether the Post chooses to acknowledge it or not.
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis. She loves God, guns, and is a member of the NRA, obviously.