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These Gun Violence Stats Are So Simple Even the New York Times Can Get Them

The New York Times just ran a frontpage editorial on gun rights in America – the first such editorial since the 1920s. Its argument is simple to grasp: Americans’ gun rights should be curtailed by the government.

122212-FirearmFacts_1

We’ll put aside for now that rights are inherent to human beings and not governments.

Observe the chart above. This graphic from FactCheck.org. Observe that gun ownership is up — contrary to an “independent study” by the Violence Policy Center circulated by Huffington Post and other publications.

In fact, gun homicides are at their lowest level since 1981, with 8,124 such murders. There are over 330 million Americans in the United States, meaning 99.995% of guns are not used in homicides.

In the meantime, concealed carry and “right to carry” laws have flourished across the nation, especially since 1991. Gun background checks have increased dramatically, according to USA Today:

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The Washington Post published a story showing firearms have outgrown the U.S. versus population: there are now 357 million guns in the U.S.

Now, let’s visualize the trend of murders in the United States:

murder-rate-trend-1900-2010

The statistics being used in the graphic above are based on published material and official government statistics.

Guns cannot be causing murder and other violent crimes if nearly all official crime rate statistics are decreasing dramatically, while gun ownership has increased or stayed roughly constant. That’s a simple argument to understand.

So, let’s address that argument instead of pouncing on every gun-related tragedy to make a broad sweeping claim that the government should enact sweeping gun restrictions that limit Americans’ ability to defend themselves from terrorists, criminals, or anyone else seeking to deprive them of life or liberty.


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