Violent Crime Continues Decline (Even While Gun Ownership Increases)

By Bill Brassard

Preliminary statistics released by the FBI for the first half of 2009 show that violent crime continues a downward trend that began in 2006. The figures show crime falling in all categories--robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle thefts, etc.--with murders down a remarkable 10 percent from the previous year.

The FBI statistics undermine a favorite argument of anti-gun groups and some mainstream media that "more guns equal more crime," especially when you consider that the decrease in violent crime from late 2008 through the first half of 2009 occurred at the same time that firearm sales were surging.

The most popular firearms selling at that time were handguns and modern sporting rifles (AR-style rifles)--two types of firearms that anti-gunners never miss an opportunity to demonize. Law-abiding handgun owners have been filling concealed carry classes across the country, and AR-style rifles--long a favorite of target shooters--are growing in popularity among hunters as new calibers are introduced for small and big game.

People across the country continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Consider this story from the Boston Globe:

The number of gun permits issued in Massachusetts surged by more than 15 percent over the past two years, reversing nearly a decade of steady declines and marking a pronounced departure for a state known for its antigun sentiment.

The rise in gun permits (and, presumably, purchases) in the Bay State is reflected by National Instant Criminal Background Check statistics showing an increase of 25 million background checks from a total of 75 million to 100 million initiated by Type 01 federally licensed firearms retailers between April 5, 2007, and April 4, 2009 . (Background checks are required under federal law for all individuals purchasing either newly manufactured or used firearms from federally licensed retailers. The checks serve as a gauge of sales but do not reflect the actual number of firearms sold.)

Crime is down. Gun ownership--by law-abiding, responsible citizens who pass a mandatory FBI background check at retail--is up.

Don't let anyone get away with telling you that "more guns equal more crime."

Bill Brassard is the National Shooting Sports Foundation Director of Communications.

Additional Information:
FBI Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report - 2009

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