The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2015 National Crime Victimization Survey is out. It’s based on interviews with 95,760 households and 163,880 persons. Here are two important takeaways:
1. “Firearm violence” declined from 1993 to 2015
“From 1993 to 2015, the rate of nonfatal firearm violence declined from 7.3 to 1.1 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older (figure 2). The majority of the decline in firearm violence occurred between 1994 and 1999. The rate then fluctuated between 1.1 and 2.7 per 1,000 through 2015. An estimated 284,910 nonfatal firearm victimizations occurred in 2015 (appendix table 4). In 2015, 76% of all serious violent crimes that involved a firearm were reported to police.”
2. Serious violent crime declined from 2014 to 2015
“The rate of serious violent crime involving weapons had a decline (90% confidence level) from 2014 (4.9 per 1,000) to 2015 (3.6 per 1,000). During the same period, the number of serious violent victimizations committed by a stranger decreased (90% confidence level).”
Over these same timeframes, American gun ownership rose to new heights. That said, correlation doesn’t equal causation. While John Lott may beg to differ, we can’t say for a fact that increased gun ownership caused the decline in “firearm violence.” It may have been a factor, but how much of a factor is open to debate.
But it’s safe to say that the lack of an increase in firearm violence and serious crime during a time of increased firearms ownership indicates that more guns doesn’t mean more [violent] crime. So there is that.