More guns, less crime in 2009

people buying gunsBy Gerard Valentino

Now that 2009 has come to an end, giving America time to take stock of the year that was, we can once again see the true relationship between guns and crime.

Driven by fear of Barack Obama's anti-gun past, Americans bought more guns in 2009 than in any other year on record, and homicide and violent crime rates plummeted nationwide.

The most striking decrease took place in Washington D.C., which had the lowest number of homicides since 1964 following the end of the city's longtime ban on private ownership of firearms. Not surprisingly, the city's administration and the anti-gun doomsayers were wrong. As any clear-thinking person knows, law-abiding residents of Washington D.C. are perfectly suited to owning guns for self-defense.

The Chicken Little predictions of mass killings and bloody scenes of gun owners running amok never materialized, and the panic about the presence of guns in people's homes was much ado about nothing.

Ohio saw a surge in the number of concealed carry licenses issued statewide, which led to more guns on the streets. Despite this increase in public firepower, nearly all the major cities saw a huge drop in homicides during 2009. Only Cleveland saw an increase, and that was largely due to the serial killer who single-handedly committed 11 of the city's murders.

Overall, homicide rates across America hit lows not seen in decades.

Even though the country enjoys historic low homicide rates, the anti-gun community continues to circulate press releases claiming an unprecedented level of gun related mayhem. In their eyes, if homicide rates go up, it's because people own guns; If homicide rates go down, it's because gun control is working (but not well enough to stop them from continuing their assault on the right to bear arms).

Their misguided approach once again proves how out of touch they are with the true pulse of America. How the anti-gun community will spin their most recent public relations disaster remains to be seen, but you can be sure they will never admit that gun control is a failed social experiment.

Establishment media outlets are reporting the decrease in crime, but are leaving out the fact that it happened while gun sales were skyrocketing. Omitting the surge in gun sales might be an honest mistake, or might simply be an oversight, but all the years of one-sided reporting on the gun issue has poisoned the relationship between mainstream reporters and gun owners.

Adding to the rift is the willingness of the establishment media to regurgitate every ridiculous press release issued by the anti-gun community.

Most recently, they fed the media stories about how concealed carry license holders are going on killing sprees across the nation. Yet, when the end-of-year crime rates showed a huge decrease in violent crime, mainstream reporters never questioned the anti-gun group's unfounded ravings.

The convergence of sharply reduced homicide rates and a huge increase in gun sales in 2009 are a key victory for the pro-gun side in the debate over gun rights in America. For years, anti-gun crusaders argued that if more guns were on the street, more gun crimes will be committed.

Establishment media outlets gladly bought into what seemed to be a logical, commonsense argument that provided provocative sound bites and fed the 24-hour news cycle.

On the bright side, pro-gun advocates are usually forced to discuss the value of guns to law-abiding citizens when someone is backed into a corner and must use deadly force in self defense. Such situations are not really a win for anyone, since someone is often badly hurt or killed, and someone else has to live with the guilt of having shot a fellow human being.

But facts are facts. And the sharp decline in homicides in 2009 is something to celebrate, and something that all Americans can understand and be happy about. Violence has decreased. The murder and mayhem so prevalent in cities like Washington D.C. has abated. And once again we see the wisdom of the Second Amendment.

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