The constant refrain of gun control advocates is that more guns naturally leads to more crime. It’s the founding principle of gun control, the idea that if guns would go away then crimes would stop. Naturally, it’s a theory that we here at TTAG don’t quite buy — and the reason is that there’s so much evidence to the contrary. The latest illustrative example of the lack of a correlation between guns and crime comes from the state of Virginia, where the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a story which perfectly illustrates that point.
Gun-related violent crime continues to drop in Virginia as the sales of firearms continue to soar, a pattern that one local criminologist finds interesting “given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws.”
Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased in 444,844 transactions — a 16 percent rise over 2011, according to federally licensed gun dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data.
So, in Virginia, there are more guns than ever. Keep in mind that Virginia wasn’t exactly lacking for firearms to begin with, having lived in Fairfax for a couple years I am well aware of the massive gun culture in the state. And with the increase in firearms ownership, there has actually been a decrease in crime.
Will this new information lead to gun control advocates revising their rhetoric and re-thinking their position on gun ownership? Probably not. But one can hope.