WIRED ran an article over the weekend which tried to make the argument that America has a gun problem. And something must be done. istsor the children. Or something. The problem is that they debunked their own argument before they got even halfway through their own video.
The argument they intended to make is that the United States has seen an increase in firearms manufactured and sold. By their lights, this has caused a proportional increase in the danger to American citizens.
The problem: the numbers just don’t support that argument. Even with record firearms sales, the murder rate in the United States has steadily declined over the last couple decades.
Even in places where violence has increased, the primary reason is gang activity and firearms use by people who possess them illegally — not the law abiding citizens who purchase new production firearms (which must be sold, according to Federal law, through licensed gun dealers and then only following a background check).
WIRED goes on to show that tired old graph of “firearms deaths per capita” in the United States versus other countries. As I keep saying, looking at firearms deaths in the US compared to everywhere else is like looking at the alligator-related death rate in Florida compared that to Chicago. On the surface that comparison would make Florida seem much more dangerous, but in reality the probability of untimely death is far greater in the Windy City.
The only accurate comparison that can be made is by using the overall murder and accidental death rate in each country. Firearms aren’t the only thing that cause murders and death (hammers and fists are used to kill here far more often than long guns). But for some reason the folks at WIRED failed to make that point.
They also try to make the claim that strict gun laws mean fewer gun-related fatalities in the areas that enact them. This might be more convincing if it were restricted to murders only — accidental deaths are a thing that happens, whether with a firearm or your Jeep accidentally rolling over you and killing you in your garage.
But again, their argument doesn’t hold water for one simple reason: Chicago. They enjoy some of the strictest gun laws in the United States along with some of the worst gun violence in the nation.
The issue here isn’t one of gun owners emulating the three monkeys — we agree that more can be done to reduce violence in the United States. The difference is our perception of cause and solutions.
WIRED’s video polemicists believe that firearms are inherently evil and the root cause of much of America’s violence. Gun owners believe that firearms are net deterrent to violence and don’t view the increase in firearms ownership as a major reason for the decrease in violent crime over the last two-plus decades.
That’s a fundamental difference of world views. And not something likely to be reconciled by a 1:45 video.