If you spend most of your time in conversation with reasonable, level-headed folks, it might be difficult to imagine a scenario in which majorities of voters in this midterm election wouldn’t cast their ballots for law and order.
But then, despite the vivid reality each crime inflicts on real people, there has been intense propaganda from many in the media, by gun-control groups and by the politicians they support to blame lawful gun owners and, indeed, American freedom for the recent rise in violent crime. And some voters, even very reasonable people, fall for this spin.
In one outlandish example, during a congressional Oversight Committee hearing choreographed to push this fake narrative, Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) stared at CEOs from gun manufacturers and said, “It is long past time for the gun industry to be held accountable for the carnage they enable and profit from.”
The CEOs of Smith & Wesson and Daniel Defense pushed back and embarrassed Rep. Maloney and others. A few weeks later, when responding to a congressional subpoena for very-detailed records of gun sales in what is clearly a gun-control-inspired fishing expedition, Smith & Wesson CEO and President Dan Smith responded to what he called “an unprecedented and unjustified attack on the firearm industry.”
“A number of politicians and their lobbying partners in the media have recently sought to disparage Smith & Wesson,” wrote Smith. “Some have had the audacity to suggest that after they have vilified, undermined and defunded law enforcement for years, supported prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals accountable for their actions, overseen the decay of our country’s mental health infrastructure, and generally promoted a culture of lawlessness, Smith & Wesson and other firearm manufacturers are somehow responsible for the crime wave that has predictably resulted from these destructive policies. But they are the ones to blame for the surge in violence and lawlessness, and they seek to avoid any responsibility for the crisis of violence they have created by attempting to shift the blame to Smith & Wesson, other firearm manufacturers and law-abiding gun owners.”
Predictably, this pushback from Smith & Wesson got very little attention from the mainstream media, as it is not helpful to the false narrative that NRA members and other normal gun owners are to blame for the recent rise in violent crime.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media has been pushing the narrative that armed citizens’ guns are the cause of recent spikes in crime—even though, as gun sales have gun up for decades, and as carry restrictions have been removed or relaxed in much of the nation, violent crime didn’t rise until the aforementioned woke policies went into effect in parts of the country.
In one example of the media obfuscating this truth with spin, NPR tossed this line into an article after numbers on the rise in the murder rate in 2020 were released by the FBI in Sept. 2021: “Much of the violence was driven by firearms, with nearly 77% of murders being committed with some sort of gun.”
The insinuation that guns are somehow behind this rise in murders is, to be kind, disingenuous. But will a majority of voters buy this spin?
Crime is Personal
Well over a million crime victims per year file police reports or are included in them. (According to the FBI, in 2020, there were 538,203 violent-crime incidents; there were also 640,836 offenses reported by 9,991 law-enforcement agencies that submitted National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data, but only about 60% of law-enforcement agencies submitted data.) These crime victims interact with many more people. Additionally, an unknown number of people don’t report crimes, manage to escape or use a firearm to defend themselves from criminals (the latest study found that over 1.6 million Americans use guns to defend themselves every year—mostly without ever firing a shot). All of these real experiences affect how people feel, think and, perhaps, how they vote.
These wake-up calls can be all too personal. I recall a sweltering, muggy Manhattan night about a year ago when my phone buzzed with an alarming text message from a friend: “Be vigilant! I was leaving work, walking through the 42nd Street subway station when out of nowhere a giant guy punched me hard in the stomach,” he wrote. “He then went to punch me in the head. I quickly ducked, and he missed. I screamed and ran like crazy, all this in the middle of a crowded subway station. I have never been so scared.”
I left New York City shortly thereafter. But, over the last few years, it has been hard to move away from the rise in crime.
The number of homicides in the United States jumped by nearly 30% in 2020, compared with the previous year. This was the largest single-year increase in modern history, according to FBI Uniform Crime Reports. The data indicates that in 2020, there were 21,570 homicides in the U.S. (this number includes self-defense shootings), a shocking 4,901 more than in 2019.
Despite the noted mainstream-media narratives, people have noticed that criminals are more emboldened. A 2021 Gallup poll found that 51% of Americans perceive crime to have climbed in their communities—up from 38% in 2020.
Crime has, in fact, become a big campaign topic; gun-control proponents continue to insist that the spike in violence is the result of legal gun ownership rather than their own “woke” policies and the ease criminals now have in walking right out of jail thanks to no-cash-bail policies and other reasons.
As the midterm election neared, President Joe Biden’s (D) spin has been that guns and lawful citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights are to blame, and he hopes voters act on that false premise. The politicians blaming American freedom for the rise in criminal violence seem worried voters will realize what’s really behind it—hence the intense spin.
Anti-Second Amendment groups have been funding politicians who support gun-control legislation; for example, as this was being written, the Giffords PAC had contributed over $148,000 to Democrat candidates in this cycle and $6,000 to four Republicans who voted “yes” on the U.S. House of Representative’s proposed gun-control bill, H.R. 7910. The latter category of money went to Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) Maria Salazar (-Fla.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.). The Giffords PAC also donated $1,000 to Rep. Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.), who voted against the House bill but previously voted for a bill to force gun owners to get government approval for gun loans or sales.
Also, as per an analysis of Federal Election Committee (FEC) filings by Open Secrets, a leading research and government transparency group monitoring money in politics and its effect on elections and policy, the gun-control groups Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords and Brady raised more than $3.2 million in May alone, compared to about $2.9 million in the first four months of 2022 combined.
“Gun-control groups poured more money into outside spending than gun-rights organizations for the first time in 2018, but legislative action has not accompanied increased spending until now,” the analysis stated.
Everytown pushed money into congressional primaries in Georgia this cycle, with Open Secrets reporting the group spent $1.9 million to boost Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), a former volunteer for Everytown and its affiliate, Moms Demand Action. Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund spent nearly $3 million on McBath when she first won her seat in 2018.
“Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund has also contributed $1,433 each to Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.). Warnock, whose campaign has raised almost $30 million [as this was being written in this cycle], faces a toss-up general election race against Republican candidate Herschel Walker, whose campaign has raised $16.4 million,” Open Secrets reported. “Giffords PAC ... raised $1.4 million in May compared to almost $1.7 million during the first quarter of 2022.”
Left-leaning Washington, D.C., think tanks and foundations further bolstered the anti-gun narrative: “The need for federal action to address gun violence is more urgent than ever,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) wrote. “The rising violent crime rates over the past two years is a major issue that elected officials must address immediately. We cannot continue living like this. Elected officials must stop circumventing gun violence by blaming the criminal justice reform movement. If they are serious about stopping crime, gun violence prevention laws must be on the top of their agendas.”
“Biden wants to blame guns and lawful gun owners instead of Democrats’ open embrace of the defund-the-police movement and soft-on-crime approach.” —House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
In other words, they don’t want people to note the policy changes that led to rises in violent crime rates; they want people to blame guns and American freedom.
This message has continually been trumpeted by much of the mainstream media in the lead-up to this midterm election. “More guns led to more violence,” claimed a story at vox.com. “There’s been a big surge in gun buying this year, seemingly in response to concerns about personal safety during a pandemic. And as the research has shown time and time again, more guns mean more gun violence.”
Of course, this argument is baseless. People are buying guns for self-defense from criminals. No statistic shows that these millions of new gun owners are committing crimes with their newly acquired firearms.
“It does not appear that policies associated with criminal justice reform were a significant contributor to recent trends in crime and violence,” stated the Brennan Center for Justice, a prominent anti-gun law and policy institute.
CAP also erroneously asserts that “while many have blamed the criminal justice reform movement for the rise in violent crime, the fact is that these increases in violent crime can largely be attributed to an alarming escalation in gun violence. If elected officials are serious about stopping violent crime, they need to prioritize and support stronger gun laws.”
Elections Have Consequences
On goes the dishonest narrative. But the facts are clear; in recent years, the essence of what criminal justice stands for—to augment public safety and to protect the innocent—has fallen by the wayside, propelled largely by lawmakers backed by staunch gun-control proponents and organizations.
“These rogue prosecutors, and those who fund them, dress up their schemes with poll-tested, feel-good language like ‘re-imagining prosecution,’ and argue that ‘data and science’ back their pro-criminal, anti-victim approach,” a Heritage Foundation analysis states. “But that’s just nonsense when you see the actual results of their pro-criminal policies, urban disorder, mass shoplifting, open prostitution and drug markets, and, in many cases, record numbers of shootings and murders.”
Among those identified as the most “rogue” of the rogue prosecutors are George Gascón in Los Angeles, now-removed Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, Kim Foxx in Chicago, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia, Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore, Kimberly Gardner in St. Louis and Rachael Rollins in Boston. Essentially, these prosecutors unite on the argument that most misdemeanors should not be prosecuted and they are advocates for eradicating cash bail. Unsurprisingly, these policies led to a merry-go-round inside the criminal justice system whereby even violent offenders are released back onto the streets over and over again. Police officers have even been encouraged not to make arrests.
And yet, these gun-control advocates continue to blame law-abiding American gun owners for the rise in violent crime.
Also, to add insult to injury, as some pushed defund-the-police initiatives, many police departments saw dramatic drops in the number of police officers. Many areas also saw prisoner releases during the pandemic—tens of thousands of prisoners were released—to curb “overcrowding” amid the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak; for example, in New York, 250 inmates were released from the notorious Rikers Island in the early pandemic phase, but many of these individuals were soon rearrested for new crimes.
Across the nation in California, Orange County authorities freed “high-risk” sex offenders. Six out of seven were apprehended again in less than a month, including one for a sex-related offense.
Fortunately, some sane minds in the political spectrum have been speaking up.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that “Biden wants to blame guns and lawful gun owners instead of Democrats’ open embrace of the defund-the-police movement and soft-on-crime approach.”
And Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) illuminated the obvious in noting that “crime is going up in far-left cities because of soft-on-crime policies.”
The point to note here is that voters have choices. Our right to bear arms as lawful Americans does not trigger—pun intended—more violence; however, it is our responsibility to do our research and go out and vote.
Legal gun ownership is not the problem. It has never been the problem. Instead, it is a convenient scapegoat for those who want to ban guns. It allows the gun-control crowd—from lawmakers and foundations to much of the mainstream media—to deflect responsibility for their bad policies.
November’s vote is critical to preserving our constitutional protections. If we want to put an end to this madness, this midterm election must be about supporting the Second Amendment and law and order.