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Misleading Gun Debate


By: Joe Mauricio


At least 23 weapons were found in the Mandalay Las Vegas hotel suite of the gunman who targeted an outdoor concert just recently, killing 59 people, including himself, and injuring more than 500 others. Authorities found 19 more firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, in the home of the gunman. The cache has ignited yet another round of debate over guns and gun control in the U.S.

A widely shared chart showing that more guns mean fewer gun murders gives a misleading impression.

In response to calls for more gun controls and fewer guns, some have pointed out, as published by American Enterprise Institute, a conservative- leaning think tank in Washington, D.C., to argue that more guns don’t necessarily translate to more gun homicides.

The point that more permissive gun laws did not lead to a huge spike in gun violence has merits.

The chart data on the spike in the number of firearms are accurate. But there is no proof that these two trends are connected. Crime, whether or not committed with guns, has generally declined over the past two decades.

Experts aren’t entirely sure why, but do say the drop was influenced by a host of economic, racial, and demographic factors. “Not a single riminal justice researcher out there looks at the gun homicide rate solely as a function of the number of private firearms>” A few other states quickly puncture the charts-suggested conclusion.

The number of firearms in the U.S. has steadily increased over the past two decades. It rose to 310 million in 2009, up from 259 million in 2000 and 1.92 in 1994.

Gun homicides, meanwhile, fell dramatically from 1993 peak of the rate of 7.02 per 100,000 people. By 1999, it was at 3.82 per 100,000 people. But homicide rates have remained steady since then, suggesting the correlation between number of guns and number of gun killing does not hold past the turn of the millennium. At the same time, the number of mass killing also spiked dramatically.

Both groups give vastly less to candidates directly than they invest in outside spending or expenditures made independent of a candidate often in the form of political advertisements.

For example, the NRA groups and individuals donated $839,215 to candidates in the 2016 campaign cycle, while Planned Parenthood contributed $904,420.

Both the gun group poured $54 million in outside spending in 2016, more than triple Planned Parenthood amount. The NRA’s cumulative spending across three election cycles top $104 million more than double than the $41 million spent by Planned Parenthood, according to campaign finance watchdog.


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