Alexander's Column

Gun Ownership Up — Gun Crimes Down

Mark Alexander · Jun. 16, 2000

The Clintonistas are taking credit for news that violent crimes committed by perpetrators using guns are 35% lower now than in 1992. As with any news pertaining to the “gun problem,” the administration paraded out a bureaucrat to call for additional gun regulations. “Despite our success, we must not become complacent,” said Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. “There are still 89 Americans, including 12 young people, dying every day from gunshot wounds.”

Mr. Holder did not happen to mention that, while gun deaths are down, gun ownership is at an all-time high! “States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes,” says Yale University’s John Lott. “Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself.”

The Federalist reviewed the latest Centers for Disease Control mortality statistics – the official statistics used by Clinton and company – and found a few additional facts worth mentioning. Regarding the accidental deaths of children from birth to age 14, the CDC lists: auto (2,608), drowning (1010), pedestrian (675), bicycle (201), and gun accidents (142). “It turns out that among all the causes of accidental deaths of children, the chances of death by a gun accident are the remotest,” notes Walter Williams.

Gun homicides in the same age group totaled 346. As for Holder’s claim of “12 young people, dying every day,” he is including the 17-19-year-old gangsters and drug dealers – who target primarily each other – among the “young.”

For all ages, of a population of 270,000,000, there were 13,522 homicides involving the use of a gun. Tragically, while blacks compose 12.8% of the population, they account for more than 50% of all homicides – mostly black males killed by black males.

Interestingly, the CDC includes gun deaths by “legal intervention” or self-defense among the total cited above. We inquired about the actual number of legal shootings in order to distinguish between those and illegal homicides, and the CDC declined to release that figure.

Memo to Reno, Holder et al.: While murders by perpetrators with guns have declined, the CDC’s statistics also show that far more high school teenagers are having sex and taking illegal drugs than in 1992.

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