The following article was originally published on OpsLens.com on Nov 13th, 2016.
By Chris Wagoner:
After being a cop for over 35 years now teaching police recruits full time at a police academy and having been involved in several OIS (officer involved shootings) you would think that if anyone had seen all the violence that guns have caused in America and how bad the gun violence problem is, it would be me. You would think as a cop I should be against citizens having firearms, especially on their person, because it will make me more unsafe as a cop, right? If you thought along the lines of what the media keeps on shoving at us, I should be the number one advocate for more gun laws and stricter “gun control” to stop the rampant “gun violence sweeping America” as one paper put it. But there seems to be a problem, and it’s not “gun violence”.
The problem remains, if you start to look at the research, the numbers and the incidents of firearms being used in murders and crimes over the years are just not the numbers to support the claim by most media outlets that gun violence is a huge problem. In fact, it’s on a steep decline! The numbers and the claims just don’t add up. In addition to that, my experience on the streets of Broward County Florida beg to say different than the media. When you look at the numbers and really look at what is happening over the last say 20 years or so, you will come to realize that the gun violence problem in America is actually a made-up problem that does not exist and has been created by the anti-gun crowds to try and remove guns from America. It has actually been declining year after year for decades! So what are they talking about and why do they push the news on gun violence so much? What could possibly be the reason?
Well let’s look at the FACTS first and make sure to get them from a reputable, unbiased source like the Department of Justice (DOJ), where crime and gun violence is intensely studied. I read over several reports and what I found did not surprise me. Yet, if you tell this to someone who is in the “gun violence is a problem” group, they will try and tell you that you are crazy and a liar. I know, that’s what I was told, along with other things they called me. But you can’t argue with cold hard facts. So here are a few that you can use to talk to your uninformed anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment friends (if you have any).
First and foremost, firearm homicides make up a very small, even tiny part of firearms related crimes. According to the DOJ report titled, “Firearm Violence, 1993-2011”, firearm homicides make up about 2% of all-firearm related crimes. You got that right, about 2%. In fact they say in the report “There were 11,101 firearm homicides in 2011, down by 39% from a high of 18,253 in 1993.” Now, the first thing an anti-gun person may say is “Ah ha! But that’s just the murders, what about all those who were shot but didn’t die? They are still victims!” Of course you simply continue on with your facts, “Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.” Those declined even more than the murders have.
But what about those big black scary “assault weapons” we keep hearing they want to ban. Surly you can’t argue that they are not a huge problem in America with all the mass shootings. Well again, we should read and look at the numbers. The use of rifles are a very small part of crimes committed with a firearm and according to DOJ, “About 70% to 80% of firearm homicides and 90% of nonfatal firearm victimizations were committed with a handgun from 1993 to 2011.” What? You mean that those assault weapons are not the ones that are killing everyone? Well of the ever declining number of murders committed by firearm, they are the smallest section, yet seem to garner the largest cry for banning. Kind of makes you wonder why, doesn’t it?
The next point to make is that not all firearm related crimes resulted in someone being injured. Even when a firearm is used in a crime only 23% of the victims were injured. But remember that the big bad assault rifles are the real problem in America. Isn’t that what you have been told over and over? Really? According to the DOJ report, “A handgun was used in about 83% of all firearm homicides in 1994, compared to 73% in 2011. Other types of firearms, such as shotguns and rifles, accounted for the remainder of firearm homicides. For nonfatal firearm violence, about 9 in 10 were committed with a handgun, and this remained stable from 1994 to 2011.”
What about the argument that guns are just too easy to get and that anyone can buy a gun in from a gun shop, flea market, and of course, the dreaded “Gun Show”. Well we know that is not the case either, the same report debunks that myth, “In 2004, among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of offense, fewer than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show, about 10% purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37% obtained it from family or friends, and another 40% obtained it from an illegal source”.
What about citizens with firearms? We know they NEVER really stop crime with their own guns so why does the average citizen need to carry or even have a firearm for that matter? First and foremost because it’s a Constitutional right. What other rights do you have that were hated as much as this one and then taken from you and sold back in the form of a license for a fee? Do we have to buy a “Freedom to Speak” card to talk in public? Purchase a license to write or publish something freely? No of course not. It’s a Constitutional right, just as it is to bear arms. Yet that right has been overly litigated, legislated, and licensed to the point that it is no longer a right as it should be and has become more of a privilege. If our founders could only see us now, they would probably wonder why we have not had a second revolution. The Supreme Court of the United States is not supposed to decide if the Constitution itself is Constitutional rather, laws that are made that conflict with it are. The first law to regulate firearms in America should have been struck down as it violated that right. All we have to do is go back to the same report and guess what we find, the fact that Americans DO AND HAVE used firearms to defend themselves, and not just a few hundred but hundreds of thousands! According to the report, “In 2007-11, there were 235,700 victimizations where the victim used a firearm to threaten or attack an offender.” That’s right, almost a quarter of a million people defended themselves from criminals with a firearm! Look at the states in the US that have Constitutional carry of firearms and see what problems with gun violence they have. I think you may be surprised.
So where is all that “gun violence” we hear about in the media? They make it seem like it’s the number one cause of death for Americans. They make it seem like crime with guns is on the rise and at all-time highs. Firearm violence in America is an “epidemic” that must be stopped! The only problem I see is that not one of those statements is true or even close to being true. Murder by firearm (or any other way for that matter) is at an all-time low and still declining. Gun violence has been declining for years and continues to do so. Victims continue to defend themselves from attackers with lawfully obtained firearms.
So the next time someone tells you that “gun violence” is a problem in America, you can politely tell them they are uninformed, unread, uneducated, brainwashed by the media and do not know what the hell they are talking about. Introduce them to the facts and then drop the microphone and walk away. In my next piece, I will be talking about what has caused this drop in violent firearm related murders and the likely reason for all the good news. Until then, carry your lawfully concealed or open-carried firearm wherever permitted by law and be safe.