Stats: Gun Crime Plummets Over Last Two Decades; Poll: Public Totally Clueless

Posted: May 09, 2013 3:19 PM

We're a few days late to this story, but it's astounding stuff.  Shot (via the US Bureau of Justice):

Firearm-related homicides declined 39 percent and nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69 percent from 1993 to 2011, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011, and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011. The number of firearm homicides declined from 1993 to 1999, rose through 2006 and then declined through 2011…In 2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense, fewer than two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show. About 10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from an illegal source.

The federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, after which point gun crime and murders continued their sharp downward trajectories.  Weird, right?  Allahpundit underscores that second bolded statistic, which demonstrates that Democrats' obsessions with gun shows is driven more by emotion than empirical data.  In any case, gun crime is way, way down over the last 20 years.  So say the official government numbers from the Obama Justice Department. But what about Newtown and Virginia Tech?  The numbers show that school shootings are down by 33 percent over the same time period.  Which brings us to the chaser (via Pew Research): 

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.

Why, it's almost as if media coverage and the presidential bully pulpit are spreading propaganda, leading a significant majority of the public to draw exactly wrong conclusions about firearm violence trends.  Interestingly, despite 56 percent of Americans mistakenly assuming gun crime is up since the early 1990's, the number of Americans who support banning handguns is at an all-time low according to Gallup.

UPDATE - Katie touched on some of this data on Tuesday.