In January, disgraced Governor Ralph Northam and his anti-gun allies in the Virginia General Assembly made it clear they were hell-bent on enacting gun control legislation. They wanted to confiscate guns, and they wanted taxpayers to fund it. Despite claiming that their goal was to further public safety, Virginia’s existing low crime rates and liberal gun laws easily dispelled that claim.
In 2018 (the year with the most recent available data), violent crime in Virginia fell for the second consecutive year, and the Commonwealth had the fourth-lowest violent-crime rate in the nation. Also for the second consecutive year, Virginia from 2017 to 2018 had the 25th-largest decrease in the violent-crime rate, while holding its spot as the fourth-safest state. Virginia has been outpacing the nation in reducing violent crime; the national rate decreased 3.6%, while Virginia’s decreased 5%.
It isn’t just overall violent crime that has decreased in Virginia. The murder rate fell by 17.3%, and firearms-related homicides specifically fell by 13.8%. For all of Michael Bloomberg’s talking points that Northam and his minions regurgitate, there were eight homicides with a rifle of any type in Virginia in 2018. There were 3.75 times more homicides with knives (30 total) than rifles of any type and about twice as many fatal assaults with hands, fists or feet (15 total) than rifles of any type.
Virginia has 14 times the population of Baltimore, but a similar number of total homicides—391 in Virginia statewide compared to Baltimore’s 309. Clearly firearms aren’t the problem, and gun control doesn’t work.
The robbery rate from 2017 to 2018 fell 17.3% in Virginia, and there was a decrease in both the number of robberies committed with a firearm (down 7.5%) as well as the percentage of all robberies committed with a firearm (down 2.4%).
The aggravated-assault rate increased 0.7%, and changes in the number of aggravated assaults committed with a firearm tracked with the number of overall aggravated assaults (increases of 8.1% and 7.9%, respectively). The share of aggravated assaults that involved a firearm was steady, while the percentage of assaults involving a knife or other cutting weapon increased 1.4%. More aggravated assaults (9.2%) were committed with knives.
So, violent crime decreased. Homicides and robberies committed with a firearm both decreased. The percentage of aggravated assaults involving a firearm held steady, and the overall aggravated-assault rate only marginally increased. To listen to anti-gun legislators and activists, one might think Virginia is some kind of apocalyptic frontier with no law, no order and danger around every corner. Yet, data shows Virginia is safe—indeed, it’s one of the safest states in our nation.
None of this is to suggest that any level of crime is acceptable. There is still violent crime in Virginia, and there are still criminals to find, arrest and prosecute. However, the best way to tackle crime that does occur in Virginia is to focus on those who commit the crimes—not criminalizing gun ownership and lawfully owned firearms.
Virginia would be best served by efforts focusing on criminals rather than bringing Michael Bloomberg’s fantasy of criminalizing legal gun ownership to life. These efforts have been acknowledged by the Bloomberg-funded researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and have had actual real-world results.