violent-crime

The common refrain from gun control activists is that guns cause crime. They believe that by restricting access to firearms, they can reduce the crime rate and save lives. If their position were valid, then the opposite would have to be true as well — more guns would lead to more crime. But thanks to the FBI, which keeps track of crimes in the United States and reports on its trends, we know that despite the record level of gun sales and manufacturing in 2013, the crime rate has dropped to another new record low . . .

From the FBI:

The FBI released Crime in the United States, 2013 today, which shows that the estimated number of violent crimes in 2013 decreased 4.4 percent when compared with 2012 figures, and the estimated number of property crimes decreased 4.1 percent. There were an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes reported to law enforcement last year, along with an estimated 8,632,512 property crimes.

During the same time period, firearms sales went through the roof. More people bought firearms than ever before. From the Washington Times:

The FBI reported that it performed an astounding 21,093,273 background checks for the year ending Dec. 31. In fact, eight of the top 10 highest weeks ever for National Instant Background Check System (NICS) checks were in 2013 (the other two were during Dec. 2012.)

The checks in 2013 were 8 percent higher than 2012. The one-year increase is significant because the year leading up to the presidential election also saw massive which firearm sales.

Mr. Obama has actually been the best gun salesman in history. NICS checks have gone up a whopping 66 percent since he came to the White House.

If Michael Bloomberg and his telegenic sock puppets at Moms Demand Action were right — if guns in civilian hands cause crime and keeping guns out of the hands of Americans was the answer to “gun violence” — then crime should have skyrocketed during 2013. Gun sales were at their highest point ever, so the crime rate should have been astronomical. But it wasn’t. In fact, while there were more guns floating around than ever, there was also less crime — far less — than any time in recent history.

Guns don’t cause crime. Removing guns from America will not eliminate crime. It should go without saying that legal gun owners are not, for the most part, criminals. These are all facts that have been proven time and again with hard statistics and scientific analysis. But Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts still parrot the party line, claiming guns are the root of all evil.

I can’t make it any more clear than this. Some bigots just prefer to hate an entire group of Americans for their choices rather than understanding the facts of the situation.

47 Responses to FBI: Crime Rate Dropped During 2013, Year of Record Gun Sales

    • They’ll say what Nick said in the first paragraph: “…DESPITE the record level of gun sales…” and then they’ll say something like “imagine the drop in the crime rate if there were less guns instead of more.”

      Any time I point out stats like this to “friends” on FB or wherever, I’ll say something more like “…despite (or maybe because of!) the record level of gun sales…” I don’t like to drop a “despite” in there and more or less accidently suggest something negative about gun ownership and how it relates to crime, when the message here is one that’s obviously very positive.

      • I look forward to this annual report and am nerdy enough (law enforcement + an accounting degree can do that to you) that I actually download the 8+MB zip file every year that has all of the documents in it. (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/resource-pages/downloads/download-files)

        I won’t have time to go through this until the weekend, but I was just perusing some of the graphs that break down different categories of crimes. One of the documents is the break-down of robbery location by percentage. Just for clarification purposes, a robbery is when something is taken (or attempted) from someone by force or threat of force. This isn’t to be confused with a burglary (entering a property with the intent to commit a crime therein) or a theft (take or concealing an item that is not your own with the intent to permanently deprive).

        For robberies (something we’re probably anticipating to be the number one reason we would have to use a firearm):

        42.5% – Street/Highway
        18.4% – Miscellaneous
        16.6% – Residence
        13.3% – Commercial Residence
        5.0% – Convenience Store
        2.4% – Gas or Service Station
        1.9% – Bank

        As you can see, most robberies are targeting individuals, not companies. We don’t know what was in the miscellaneous category, but I’m sure it includes more. Store robberies are the exception, not the norm. The reason I clarified the definitions, is because this doesn’t include burglaries, only forced robberies. 72.4% off all robberies in 2013 were street or home related! All the more reason to be carrying during everyday life, not just when you go into a store or bank!

      • The premise of this article seems like a false victory to claim in that I’ve personally never seen the argument for gun reform based on lowering crime rates. The gun reform argument is about violence: that 100% of gun violence in this country is committed with guns. That American violence with guns is much higher than in other countries. That the fear and suspicion of each other that motivates gun sales is bad for our country.

        Its the violence and demonization of others that troubles me. I hear a lot of corrosive tough talk and disrespect of our fellow citizens in discussions like this and that is not persuasive to me. Why do we need so much destructive power in the hands of so many people in this country? Where does the pervasive fear of others that motivates so much of the rhetoric come from? I live in a major city and do not feel the kind of danger that others seem to need protection from. I don’t think fear and anxiety make for good discourse, inquiry or good policy.

  1. Its true this shows that an increase in guns doesn’t by default mean more crime – However, don’t fall into the fallacy that this in itself proves guns reduce crime. Correlation does not imply causation. Crime has been going down for a while for many factors.

    • “Correlation does not imply causation”

      While this is technically true…. I DON’T CARE!
      1. Grabber arguments don’t depend on facts….ever, so why should ours?
      2. It’s not a lie like many of their arguments are.
      3. Taking the “high road” only works if the populace are smart enough to make fact based decisions.
      4. You can’t PROVE that these two aren’t in fact related.
      5. FACT: No single criminal justifiably killed in a DGU will EVER commit another crime against another person.

      6. According to an April 2011 report by the Pew Center on the States, the average national recidivism rate for released prisoners is 43.3%. Allowing for massive error this would mean that at most it would take 3 justifiable DGUs resulting in death to factually decrease crime not to mention the deterrent factor for those criminals that survive.

      To my rational mind, with the facts I have available to me it’s damn near impossible for legal gun ownership NOT to reduce crime.

      • “Grabber arguments don’t depend on facts….ever, so why should ours?”

        Because we’re better than them. The reason their arguments don’t depend on facts is not because they’re all perfidious manipulators (though they are), it’s because the facts just stubbornly refuse to support their arguments. Since the facts and data are all on our side, why not use them?

        • See above #2 and 3

          I’m not saying we should manipulate or lie like they do(on a regular basis). I’m only saying that we should use any and all arguments that have the potential to reach the audience of weak minded sheeple they count on for support. If they won’t pay attention to hard facts they may find possible correlation simpler to grasp.

    • the cratering of property crime really jumps out at me as something i’d really be curious about any link between the drop and more people tooling up.

    • While you are correct, the claim of the anti-gunners is much more absurd, that a negative correlation implies a positive trend. ie, that an increase in guns causes crime, even as the rate of crime is dropping in the same time series as the number of guns (and number of gun owners) is increasing.

      What we have is a long trend of more guns, increasing population and decreasing crime. Proving that “more guns equals more crime” would take a statistical hat trick so epic that it would make mathematicians around the world say “OK, I want to see all the computations. ALL of them.”

      • I agree with the “hat trick” statement with one caveat… We’re not just trying to reach only the mathematical community. We’re also trying to reach voters who it seems couldn’t hold their own in an intellectual conversation with a cup of pudding.

        We don’t have to lie or prove our logical conclusions. We don’t even need to be dishonest in our dialogue. We just have to use our numbers to show the fallacy of theirs and hopefully erase some of the irrational fear.

      • Exactly. We’ve seen the manipulated numbers from Chicago and other other places, so what’s keeping the FBI insulated from the current administration’s “influence”?

      • If this is an example of the FBI skewing the numbers in favor of this administration’s agenda, they’re doing a very bad job of it…

    • Many other agencies alter the numbers to support their progressive masters, so it would not surprise me if the FBI did it too. But, getting caught burning the books as an FBI agent has greater penalties than if you are a regular bureaucrat, so perhaps that may explain it.

      • There’s a theory among statisticians that more abortions eventually leads to less crime. The idea is that those children who are aborted are also the ones most likely to be abused or neglected, and they also tend to come from lower economic classes, all factors that can contribute to choosing a life of crime. So, fewer abused, neglected poor kids means less potential criminals.

        It’s not really a pro-abortion argument (at least, I’ve never seen it presented that way), it’s just an unexpected consequence that appears to be showing up in the crime statistics since abortion was legalized. We’ll have to wait another twenty years to see if the states that are today enacting tougher laws to restrict abortion end up with an increase in crime, to see if the theory actually holds water.

      • Baby murder? Is a zygote a baby? What stage of gestation is a fetus usually at when it is aborted? You can answer these questions by looking at scientific evidence if you’d like to move beyond name-calling and bible-based hyperbole.

    • The drop in crime of the past 20 years correlates with a lot of things: abortion legalization, increased incarceration rates, liberalized CCW laws, even environmental lead mitigation. The truth is that nobody really knows why it happened.

    • That conclusion, that the legalization of abortions in the 1970s eventuated in lower crime rates in the 1990s (presumably because some 40% of aborted fetuses are black) was infamously proffered in a 2001 study by Stanford professor John Donohue. Unfortunately, that study and its conclusion have been widely discredited on two major grounds:

      1. The actual statistical techniques applied in the analysis differed from the methodology described in the study as supporting its conclusions. It’d be like claiming So and So is guilty because we found his fingerprints at the crime scene. Except……when you actually compare his prints to those found, they don’t match. (Ooopsies! I made an academically dishonest mistake!) This study, when the numbers are run as described, don’t support that racist conclusion.

      2. Prof. Donohue’s analysis also failed to account for key state level data, including some related to the 1980s crack epidemic. Including that key data, the support for his conclusions vanishes.

      This isn’t me talking, it’s multiple other peer reviewed, published studies, including a major one by two Federal Reserve Bank of Boston economists using Donohue’s own data.

      Fun fact: Prof. Donohue is a raging liberal and rabid antigunner who’s tried and failed for many years to refute the ROCK FRIGGIN’ SOLID concealed carry, more guns/less crime, research of the inestimable economist John Lott.

  2. The click-bait ads are really getting distracting on the site. Wardrobe malfunctions? It’s hard to read the article with a large pair of fake boobs in your peripheral vision. But I have to admit I haven’t seen the disgusting toenail fungus picture for a few days, it’s really nasty when displayed at the new larger size.

    Now, do I click on the link to the 87 year old yoga instructor or do I wait for the link to the guy who got swallowed by an Anaconda? That sounds really disgusting. Oh wait, here is “The Best of Syracuse.com” just what I always wanted to read about, do they have toenail fungus there?

    Please tell me these ads are making tons of money to support the site.

    • Oh thank heaven, its been way too long since someone initiated an anti-ad rant. I love these. Dr mike, in defense of the ads since I learned those handy tricks to make women obsess over me I’ve been slaying the females. Also I saw these pics of Russian babes, wow….just wow, when I have enough women obsessing here I’ll probably head over there, if Putin lets me. Also I’m a homeowner and I LOVE surprises so I’m very apprehensive to click that link because it’ll probably ruin the surprise right? Oh and “ten celebs who went broke” I didn’t see RF’s name mentioned on the list. It should be though, isn’t that why you host the ads now RF?

  3. despite the record level of gun sales and manufacturing in 2013, the crime rate has dropped to another new record low

    Obviously the NY SAFE act and Colorado’s background check laws are working.

    Now that Washington state has made progress in enacting sensible common-sense gun-owner control, expect crime rates to be even lower in 2014.

  4. “I’m going to go down to the Gander Mountain store by a new gat” said no criminal evah!
    “Oh darn, my 15 round magazine for my Glock that has the serial number files off is now illegal” said no criminal evah!

    “Father arrested for letting his 19 year son fire his pistol that he brought from home at a gun range, faces 10 years in prison to two illegal firearms transfers.” Coming headline to Washington State.

  5. “I can’t make it any more clear than this. Some bigots just prefer to hate an entire group of Americans for their [*freedom*] rather than understanding the facts of the situation.”

  6. Jeff Cooper said it best: “[I]f you take all the guns off the street you still will have a crime problem, whereas if you take the criminals off the street you cannot have a gun problem.”

    Lots of bad people in jail, lots of abortions = criminals off the street.

    • I’m not sure why people keep bringing up the abortion idea. I fail to see how saying, “Human life is cheap, expendable, and certainly NOT sacred,” could possibly lead to a decrease in violent crimes.

      • The abortion/crime talk comes from Freakonomics. While its been challenged, the authors go back and revise their findings. I think there’s a connection, but not nearly as significant as they lead you to believe. The drop in crime is a compilation of many things. Guns, immigration, economy, security industry, money-handling processes, etc.

  7. Well, we have an interesting test bed experiment about to unfold in San Diego County, depending on SD Sheriff Gore and how many CCWs get issued….

    Prop 47 passed in CA during this last election, turning many felonies into misdemeanors, including breaking and entering. And leading to releasing thousands from overcrowded prisons- mostly drug crimes. I await the “The Truth About Crime On The Ground in LA” in a few months, from A81 and other LEOs…anyone lurking from San Diego county?

    Here is Volokh’s take on the 9th Circuit Court decision to deny intervenor to CA AG Harris on Peruta,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/11/12/the-ninth-circuit-and-the-right-to-carry-guns-good-bye-peruta-hello-richards-and-baker/

    noting that en banc on two similar cases, also heard in orals by same 3 judge panel, same day back in Dec 2012, also cited in plaintiffs favor, Baker v Kealoa and Richards v Prieto,

    both of which defendants filed for en banc-
    IOW, Harris’ gun-grabber hot potato handed back to the 9th…

    • Looking for a useful link on Prop 47, too slow on the draw for the edit above:

      http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/18/election-proposition-47-drug-possession-punishment/3/?#article-copy

      i’m thinking back to the criticism of Lotts work on more guns, more CCW permits = less crime.
      Harvard study, I think, claimed less crime since 70s due to three strike laws, etc.

      Maybe we will see how this plays out in San Diego, IF citizens can get CCW and more buy guns, for Castle Doctrine under CA law, for home defense.

      Just in time for all the gang-bangers among the dreamers crossing the border, while Border Patrol turns in their ARs in exchange for more undies to hand out in the babysitting centers they are manning now…

  8. Does the FBI include all the times kids shoot each other accidentally? Because this happens all over the country every day. I would think people would care enough about children to want to do something about this. Adults with guns need to be held responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of children.

    • Actually, no. That happens less often than a kid dying from a cycling accident, accidental drowning, getting into the under-sink chemicals, just about everything else.

      Accidental firearms death is at the bottom of causes for accidental death fir kids every single year. I don’t have the actual numbers memorized (you can easily download then from the CDC if you like) I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t happen often enough to happen “every day”.

      I understand and appreciate your concern, and that statistic could always be lower, but focusing on guns does nothing more than allow more and more kids to die from drowning and poisoning, which are far more dangerous currently.

    • Does the FBI also keep track of banger on banger as well as criminal on criminal shootings? Those are a net good in my book.

  9. So what if the statistic was up? That has nothing to do with my Second Amendment rights. Furthermore, I don’t have to justify my rights to anyone. Thats why they are called rights, and not privileges.

  10. Has anyone been able to find data for England beyond 2011? I haven’t seen it at the Home Office’s website. I have found data for ‘Not Crimes’ for 2012 and 2013, though.

  11. Typical, useless Straw Man argument. Divert people’s attention to “crime” instead of the real issue, death. The crime rate had been dropping for years before this so, sorry, no correlation to any rise in gun sales. Figures don’t lie, liars figure. Furthermore, the author points out the corresponding increase in background checks, thus supporting the position of gun “control” advocates, thank you very much.

  12. Ridiculous article. It doesn’t matter if you sell one gun a year or a billion guns a year, the country is SATURATED with guns. Mass shootings happen because of lax gun laws. It’s hard to control gun violence in a city like Chicago when you can buy any type of gun you want 80 miles away.

  13. The premise of this article seems like a false victory to claim in that I’ve personally never seen the argument for gun reform based on lowering crime rates. The gun reform argument is about violence: that 100% of gun violence in this country is committed with guns. That American violence with guns is much higher than in other countries. That the fear and suspicion of each other that motivates gun sales is bad for our country.

    Its the violence and demonization of others that troubles me. I hear a lot of corrosive tough talk and disrespect of our fellow citizens in discussions like this and that is not persuasive to me. Why do we need so much destructive power in the hands of so many people in this country? Where does the pervasive fear of others that motivates so much of the rhetoric come from? I live in a major city and do not feel the kind of danger that others seem to need protection from. I don’t think fear and anxiety make for good discourse, inquiry or good policy.

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