The homicide rate was 5.2 percent higher nationally in 2016 than it was in 2015, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. The FBI also reported that according to preliminary statistics: “Among cities, violent crime rose the most over the previous year (9.7 percent) in those with populations of 1 million and over. In cities with populations from 500,000 to 999,999, violent crime increased 5.2 percent, and in cities with 250,000 to 499,999 inhabitants, violent crime was up 4.3 percent.”
After decades of mostly falling homicide rates—while gun ownership and the number of people with concealed-carry permits rose quickly—the murder rate is rising slightly. But, though the above statistic is national, as the FBI notes, the reason it has inched up is mostly because it has risen in some cities. Other studies and a lot of reporting show most of the homicides are related to inner-city gang violence in Chicago, Detroit, Saint Louis and a number of other large cities.
It’s critical that we drill down into this because lives are being lost and communities shattered. It’s also important because the emotional impact left in the wakes of homicides is often used as an excuse to punish law-abiding gun owners. Even acts of terrorism have been used by some to attack gun rights.
It’s critical that we drill down into this because lives are being lost and communities shattered.Even well-intentioned people on both sides of this civil rights debate often talk past each other. A big part of the reason for this is that there is a contradiction in the thinking of many inner-city activists, community leaders and politicians. These people often see guns as the problem, even though they should open their eyes and see that where legal gun ownership rates are highest in America, the homicide rates tend to be very low.
No doubt part of the reason for their lack of clarity is that this is a complex issue. Inner-city gang violence has its roots in a lot of cultural and socioeconomic issues. But why can’t politicians separate out the issues in order to pinpoint and attack the root causes of the problem? Such an honest intellectual process would certainly lead all but the most ideological knee-jerk anti-Second Amendment activists to drop their disdain for gun rights, as the statistics clearly show that legal gun ownership is not the problem. It is criminals utilizing illegal guns who are committing most of the homicides.
Anyone who can follow that logical thought process must then see that getting out of the way of peoples’ freedom won’t do any harm and can do a lot of good, as citizens without criminal records will be able to defend themselves. These armed citizens can then be role models to their kids and others in their communities as they teach, by example, safe, responsible gun ownership. That could help to change the culture for the better.
Instead, even many reasonable-sounding politicians representing inner-city communities just can’t follow the logic. Maybe they are afraid to go against their party’s platform and the media outlets they tend to watch and read, or maybe they just can’t see what is right in front of them. Either way, their disdain for freedom is harming the residents of their communities.
An interview by Tucker Carlson, on his FOX News show, clearly showed the mind-numbing contradiction too many inner-city politicians just can’t see in their own thinking.
Carlson was interviewing Curt Anderson, a delegate for the city of Baltimore’s 43rd District. Baltimore is another example of a city that is being bloodied daily by gang warfare.
Carlson began the seven-minute segment by saying: “Few cities embody American urban decay more depressingly than Baltimore does.” He then set the scene by noting the poverty and murder statistics in Baltimore. He then brought on Anderson, who has represented his district in Baltimore for 22 years, and noted that one-party (Democrat) rule doesn’t seem to be working out in Baltimore.
Anderson said, “Well, number one, it’s clear that when you have a murder a day in Baltimore City that things are not going the way that we want them to go. Democrats, as you say, have been in charge of Baltimore for a long time. I’m not saying that that is going to change anytime soon, because most Republicans have left the city.”
At this point Anderson proved he doesn’t differentiate between criminals and law-abiding citizens when it comes to guns.Carlson soon moved on to the murder rate. He said that the homicides are increasing and drew a parallel between the massive gun control bill pushed through by former Gov. Martin O’Malley, including a ban on popular semi-automatic rifles, and noted that the murder rate has been climbing ever since the gun-control package was passed.
“I’m not saying the ban caused the murders, but it did have the opposite effect,” Carlson said. Next Carlson asked if good citizens in Baltimore shouldn’t be given their constitutional rights back.
At this point Anderson proved he doesn’t differentiate between criminals and law-abiding citizens when it comes to guns. “Unfortunately Tucker, people are defending themselves with guns in Baltimore,” he said. “That’s where the murders come from. Rival gangs are armed and they’re shooting at each other. And not only hitting themselves, but hitting innocent bystanders. There was a 3-year-old child that was killed in my district … she was just sitting on her front steps. I’m not so sure it is time to revisit the gun issue.”
Tucker said this makes his point. Normal, law-abiding people can’t defend themselves in Baltimore.
Anderson seemed perplexed by this and said, “I can’t respond to that anomaly.”
Right there Anderson stumbled into the ideological wall erected in his way of thinking. You can see it on his face and hear it in his loss of words. He is perplexed. He can’t compute the facts. He has been trained to see all guns as bad and therefore all gun owners as the problem that must be solved.Frank Miniter is the author of Kill Big Brother, a novel that shows how to keep government from infringing on our liberties. Miniter is also the author of the The New York Times' bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood, This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com.