Everyone loves the party game/icebreaker “two truths and a lie.”
Can you identify which of the following is NOT true about gun violence in the U.S.?
A. Gun homicides are at an all time low, while gun ownership is at an all time high.
B. Gun free zones are safer than areas where citizens are allowed to carry guns.
C. Concealed carry permit holders are the most law-abiding segment of society.
Let’s take these statements one at a time:
A. TRUE! Although there have been regional increases due to riot-related violence in selected cities in 2020, gun violence is on the decline since the 1990s, while civilian firearm ownership is at an all-time high. Even though the cable 24-hour news cycle causes us to see more news coverage of crime, it is actually going down. In 1993, the rate of non-fatal violent firearms crimes was at 725 per 100,000 population, age 12 and over. In 2014, that number was 175. In a similar time frame, the average number of firearms per person has increased from .94 to 1.45. We can all agree that any violent crime is still too high a number, but we can’t blame the increase in gun ownership for violent crime, when it has actually gone down.
B. LIE! Although it sounds like this should be true, 96% of mass shootings happen in areas where ordinary people are prohibited from carrying guns. Whether K-12 campuses like Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High, or the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, or the San Bernardino Office that was the site of the 2015 killing of 14 workers, all of those locations prohibited any civilian concealed carry of firearms. Lesser-reported instances of citizens stopping what might have turned into mass shootings happened in areas that were not gun-free zones. We hear almost nothing about these stories precisely because they didn’t become mass shootings.
C. TRUE! Concealed carry holders are convicted of fewer crimes than any other segment of society—even fewer as a percentage than the law enforcement community. And because the local Sheriff typically issues concealed carry permits, if a permit holder becomes a criminal, that Sheriff is in the best position to revoke the permit quickly.
Click here to read more about the Second Amendment and other misperceptions about gun violence and gun control.