You may have heard about a recent Pew survey poll that showed only 12% of Americans believe that gun crime has been on the decline in the last few years. Naturally, this misconception conflicts with the truth of the matter — that firearms related deaths have been declining every year since 1993. Even the BBC begrudgingly admitted to the facts . . .

The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics said firearms-related homicides had dropped to 11,101 in 2011 from 18,253 – a reduction of 39%.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center found gun homicides fell to 3.6 per 100,000 people in 2010 from 7 in 1993.

The figures were released three weeks after US senators rejected proposals to extend background checks on gun sales.

President Barack Obama has campaigned for tighter firearms laws after 26 people died in a school shooting in Connecticut in December.

[…]

Despite the drop, some 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than two decades ago and only 12% think it is lower, according to the Pew Reseach Center.

A quick aside about the Beeb. We (Robert, Dan and myself) were seated across the table from the BBC’s correspondent in the media center at the NRA Annual Meeting this past weekend. He tried to seem indifferent about guns and gun control, but instantly challenged any figure we brought up that portrayed guns in a positive light. He seemed unable to accept the possibility that guns aren’t the scourge that the network regularly makes them out to be. Which might explain their lack of eloquence when it comes to a story about how gun crime in the United States isn’t actually as bad as the public is lead to believe.

Yes, 924 adults (the size of the Pew study group) is a fairly small sample size, but that doesn’t mean the result is completely off the mark.

Assuming that the survey is valid, what are the odds that these numbers are the real reason behind the support for increased gun control regulations? Despite facts and logic being on the side of gun rights advocates, could the “feeling” that gun crime is worse than it is be fueling the emotion fueled decision-making process of low information voters? Perhaps, then, the best route to preserving the Second Amendment is educating the public about the truth of the gun crime numbers.

Then again, who has the time to watch a commercial about crime stats and logical arguments when you could be watching Kim Kardashian latest OB/Gyn visit on cable?

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38 Responses to Gun Related Deaths Decline, But Americans Don’t Believe It

  1. I advocated this yesterday. Just 20 clips/commercials saying “Gun crimes have declined in the past 20 years. Find out more and a link” simple, direct, no ask, and cheap to make.

    • Well this is a timely post.
      Just the other day I had spoken with Craig DelLuz from CAL-FFL. He was on an Australian talk show in regards to gun crime etc. The stats they were throwing around were pure rubbish!
      They quoted some 994 mass murders, although that could include knife and stoning for all I know.
      I found the link to the Pew research publication fast enough.
      To be quite honest I was even shocked.
      I tend to look at long term trends since as you know picking 3 or 4 years on a specific area does not show the whole picture.
      Bottom line violent crime, and gun homicides are down around 50% since the 1980’s.
      Meanwhile at least since 2008 gun purchases are exploding, pun intended.
      As pure research I would like to see the trends moving to 2020 and see what we show.

  2. So, people are stupid. What do you expect from “minds” that have been molded by the public school system? They are what they were taught to be — mushy-headed morons who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Honey Doo-Doo but not much more.

    • I made it through public school without becoming mushy-headed. I’m of the opinion that public school merely exacerbates pre-existing mushy-headed behaviors.

      • Some make it through fine. Most don’t. The G doesn’t tolerate what it calls “nonconformity.” Which is the thing that we call “thinking.” It’s far too dangerous.

    • “What do you expect from “minds” that have been molded by the public school system?”

      That’s “government school system”. No charge for the correction.

      • They teach you how to be “good citizens.”

        Follow instructions. Do what you are told without question, being politically correct, etc.

        I remember they seized by 1″ long pocketknife when I was in highschool (politically incorrect). I couldn’t reason with them that my #2 pencil was longer and probably more deadly if used as a weapon.

  3. Posters and billboards, that’s the way to git ‘er done. Buses, subways, utility poles, bulletin boards, shop windows.

  4. From the BBC study article:

    “However, the justice department study also suggested that the percentage of US homicides committed with a firearm had held steady at around 70% between 1993-2011.”

    Wow that is working pretty hard to find something negative to report. I don’t see why anyone would be surprised by this. Homicides drop but the percentage committed with a firearm stays the same. Makes sense to me.

    • And this with MORE guns in the mix. Which means that fewer guns are being used to kill people. We can’t really prove more guns = less crime (correlation is not causation), but the numbers absolutely show that more guns do *not* equal more crime.

      The news corporations have to report it because they can’t ignore something this obvious forever, but they don’t have to like it. They don’t want to admit that “gun crime” has been going down without their help.

  5. It’s hard to control people if they aren’t afraid… so it makes sense that the recent wave of pro-gun control is rooted in fear of guns, and worst, the fear that someone they love, especially their child, could be killed by a gun.

    Speaking as a “young father” of a son who’s almost 3 and a daughter who’s almost 1, being a parent can sometimes be an adventure in managing fear. It’s amazing how much of our modern, mass media based culture is rooted in fear. Fear in and itself isn’t necessarily a bad emotion; fear after all is a human trait that helps us to balance risk. Unfortunately, fear is exploited by politicians (BAN GUNS! BAN IMMIGRANTS! BAN GAYS!) and fear is exploited by companies to buy $1,000 armored baby carriages and over-priced baby formula (when modern science has proven that in general, yes, mother’s milk is superior).

    TTAG has been right about how the Sandy Hook tragedy has been manipulated. It’s not hyperbole to say that Sandy Hook is every gun control advocate’s wet dream: murder of innocent children by a mad man with a gun is the perfect opportunity to create fear of guns. And what people fear, they will seek to restrict or ban.

  6. Gallup has reported on the same thing as well – http://www.gallup.com/poll/150464/americans-believe-crime-worsening.aspx

    Even though crime keeps going down, most people think it’s increasing. It’s primarily due to the creation of 24/7 “news” channels. They know that there isn’t enough news to run 24/7, so they take anything bad and blow it out of proportion to create news. That’s why they spend days or even weeks harping about ONE incident, to make it sound like it’s a major problem that happens enough to spend weeks at a time in the headlines. The news stations know that “there’s no news like bad news”. If you run a story about a kid saving a puppy, people will say “That’s nice” and forget about it in five minutes. If you run a story about a kid being killed, people will sit there glued to the TV waiting to hear more about what they need to be afraid of. It’s why EVERY TV station runs sensational headlines such as “Could there be poison in your water? Find out at 11”.

  7. That “gun” crime has been declining is the important part – that people think it has actually gotten worse is a perfectly prosaic psychological phenomenon. People tend to imagine everything as having been better in the past, from the moral character of teenagers to the quality of popular music.

  8. Liberal emotion will always trump the hard facts. Somehow, someway this will be refuted, rationalized and or dismissed.

  9. Could it be that attempted violent crimes are not down? Perhaps a higher percentage of attempted crimes are unsuccessful because a good guy pulls out his gat and says “I don’t think so, bunky.”

  10. And the MSM will report that Americans believe gun crime is rising during the morning and evening “drive time” news and on page 1, and that gun crime is decreasing at 2:30 am and on page 15 in the middle of the classified ads. THAT’s how our unbiased media works to report all the news…

    • Yep I agree! It is not small.
      It is a very, very small sample size. Something stupid like .000000001%.
      Who did they sample? Where did they sample? Why did they stop at some number?
      Could it be that at ~ 900 or so they had the answer they wanted?
      Nick jump in here. You are the math and stat guy.
      Is a sample of 320 million people really accurate with a sample size of ~ 950?

      The games people play with these numbers!

      Guy22

      • It depends on their sampling protocol.

        The number (924) of people polled is more than large enough to derive statistically valid conclusions. The devil is in the details of how those 924 were selected.

  11. I have but one small wish…
    Please, pretty please, can they rename it to the “Pew Pew Pew Research Center”?

  12. It must really hurt leftists’ damaged psyches that truth and fact are not at all parallel with their worldview. I can’t imagine living every day knowing, even on a subconscious level, that I’m wrong about every single facet of life. What miserable, pathetic excuses for sentient life they are.

    If there were a leftist and a hamster trapped in a burning building, I’d save the one that’s the most intelligent, rational, and valuable. And probably some extra wood chips for his cage also.

    • Provided the sample was representative???
      Representative of who/what? Provided? Who provides what kind of sample to run?
      The answer they wanted to give to whoever paid for the survey.
      You really think they did a poll/survey for free???
      I hate these kinda polls.
      Guy22

      • Representative of the population about which they wish to make claims.

        For example: If you poll “all adults” on a particular issue, you get a typically “liberal” skew to the results.

        If you poll only “registered voters,” you start noticing a trend of the answers on issues towards the center/right of most issues.

        If you poll only “likely voters,” (ie, people who had voted in all of the elections in the last 10 years), you notice the results skew even more rightward.

        What you’d need to derive a statistically valid sample from the general population is to qualify who votes, how often, of each racial subgroup, urban/rural splits to mirror population densities and congressional district spread, male/female voting pattern breakdowns, etc.

        And then, after you’ve constructed the respondent distribution/model, you need to randomly select people to call within those sub-groups to arrive at 924 total responses. The randomness of the selection is also important.

        The number of 924 respondents isn’t the issue.

        Problems start to appear when pollsters don’t call people on anything but wire-line phones, or they call and get hang-ups, etc. But again, the number of 924 isn’t the problem.

  13. Polls are ridiculous and worthless. What counts are the actual numbers.

    We’ve the media to blame for the perception that violent crime seems worse. Too many folks watch the news on TV or read the paper and never question a thing or consider maybe, just maybe, they’re getting fed an opinion and not the facts.

    I watch TV, I read the paper then cruise multiple worldwide news sites daily. In this modern age I don’t feel I can form an informed opinion without multiple angles on a subject. I find it easier to find the “sweet spot” of an issue after hearing/reading all the angles I can.

  14. The evil libtards (democrats) have really done their job of brainwashing, along with their allies in the media and school system.

  15. My Grandfather who lived through both WW1 and WW2 told me if you are going to tell a lie, tell a big one and if you tell it often enough, people just might believe it. His Missouri small dirt farm wisdom is still valid.

  16. And so….we have irrefutable proof that anti-civil rights people on the left of the political spectrum (tjat means all of them) operate entirely, exclusively, irredeemably, completely and permanently on “feelings”. How much more time are you gonna spend trying to reason with such people, using facts, figures, logic? Time to move on. If we cannot find an emotional means of defeating the anti-civil rights (enumerated rights, at that) movement, we are doomed to a fighting retreat, where none of our best weapons (political/philosophical/rhetorical can save us.

    Even the courts of the nation do not operate in logic and fact.

  17. That’s because Minitrue has been working overtime to overexpose and sensationalize every firearm-involved incident, in order to make people believe the opposite of what is true.

    Because that’s what Minitrue does.

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