“There is a crisis of youth gun violence in this country,” reads January's Center for American Progress’ (CAP) 13-page report that shows how our Second Amendment rights are devastating the Millennial generation. According to their data, most of which is from the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Justice, “gun deaths are on track to surpass motor vehicle traffic deaths for this age group in 2015.”
Well, that’s certainly a horrid milestone, but like most anti-gun studies, the data is often skewed or includes debatable subcategories, like suicides, to inflate the numbers in order to add to the narrative that America has a gun violence epidemic; it doesn’t.
In the CAP study, they include suicide as gun violence, saying, “the third highest cause of death for this age group [15-24] in 2010 was suicide, and again, guns played a large role, accounting for a plurality—45 percent—of those deaths.” In that same year, the second most frequent cause of death was homicide, wherein a firearm was used in 83 percent of the cases.
Suicide is tragic, but it’s debatable to consider it gun violence. Furthermore, when police engage armed felons with their service pistols, should that be considered gun violence? If we’re tracking gun violence (i.e. homicides or other acts of violence committed by one person against another) in instances that resulted in fatalities, then the study has inflated numbers.
Here’s the introduction [emphasis mine]:
Even though violent crime has steadily declined in recent years—overall violent crime declined 19 percent between 2003 and 2012, and the murder rate declined 17 percent during that period—rates of gun violence remain unacceptably high. On average, 33,000 Americans are killed with guns each year, and the burden of this violence falls disproportionately on young people: 54 percent of people murdered with guns in 2010 were under the age of 30.3 Young people are also disproportionately the perpetrators of gun violence, as weak gun laws offer easy access to guns in many parts of the country. Far too often, a gun not only takes the life of one young American but also contributes to ruining the life of another young person who pulls the trigger.
So, CAP just admitted that the murder rate has gone down. In fact, firearm-related homicides have declined 39 percent between 1993-2011. That’s based on figures from the Department of Justice (via WaPo):
The report, by the department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, painted an encouraging picture of long-term trends at a time of divisive political debate over guns and legislation to regulate them. Firearms-related homicides declined 39 percent between 1993 and 2011, the report said, while nonfatal firearms crimes fell 69 percent during that period.
Overall, the Justice Department report said, firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011, while nonfatal firearm crimes declined from 1.5 million in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011. The drop extended to schools: Homicides at schools declined from an average of 29 per year in the 1990s to an average of 20 per year in the 2000s.
Moreover, Pew Research also conducted a study finding that gun crime dropped 49 percent between 1993-2010:
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.
While Pew noted that the gun homicide rates are the highest for the 18-24, 25-40 demographic; the rate is also on a rapid decline.
Additionally, mass shootings aren’t on the rise. School shootings haven’t risen above 1990s levels. At the same time, women are the fastest demographic of new gun owners–and they’re lining up for concealed carry permits across the country.
As for the annual rate of deaths, I’ve seen the figure of 30,000+ Americans dying from gun violence each year tossed about by pro-gun control groups; the CAP study cites it. Is it true?
The left-leaning Slate publication tracked the number of gun deaths from the day the tragic Newtown shooting occurred in December of 2012 to December 31, 2013; it barely broke 12,000. The final figure was 12,042.
Are these statistics tragic? Yes. Any death is awful, but tobacco use and automobile accidents kill far more people than firearms in America every year. In the end, the statistics are probably inflated due to the inclusion of suicide–and gun negligence–being listed as acts of gun violence. On a side note, the rate of suicide is increasing, while homicide is dropping. So, once again, it appears that curbing what gun violence we have in the United States is based on rebuilding and reforming our mental health system. This is something that both sides can agree on, but is always treated as a periphery issue for our left-leaning friends; they’re concerned about access to firearms and how scary they look.
Another issue the study raises is the disproportionate amount of blacks that are affected by gun violence. CAP cited that “young black men in this age group [15-24] are killed by a gun at a rate that is 4.5 times higher than their white counterparts.” It also noted that 65 percent of gun homicide victims in 2010 between the ages of 15-24 were black.
It’s not news that gang violence is ripping the black community apart. It's considered a serious problem in every major city in the country. In some cases, 8-year-olds are recruited into such activities.
Additionally, for cities that are hot spots for gun crime and gang violence, like Chicago, their stringent anti-gun laws did little to curb the violence. Granted, the city has seen a 20 percent drop in homicides, but shootings continue to plague the city. We shall see what effects Illinois' relatively new concealed law has on crime. When the Heller case in D.C. struck down the city’s handgun ban as unconstitutional, the District’s homicide rate dropped to its lowest levels since 1963. In Illinois, at one time, registration for concealed carry permits outpaced Obamacare enrollment.
So, while gang warfare is an issue, it's hardly a generational problem.
The premise of the CAP report is that young Americans are being bled dry from gun violence. They must demand their representatives take action to curb Second Amendment rights–our civil rights–to prevent further loss of life. After all, a Democratic polling firm–GBA Strategies–says young people think gun culture is out of control.
In reality, they’re inflating the numbers, and desperately grasping for straws by trying to say that gang violence is a Millennial problem. It's not.
Just like the bogus report Everytown conducted on Vermont gun sales, the laughable AK-47 video produced by Time, and naming Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a victim of gun violence, it’s part of the sloppiness that plagues the gun control movement.