A Monday report in The Guardian says that half of all United States “gun murders in 2015 were clustered in 127 cities” and that “just 1.5% of the country’s population saw 26% of America’s total gun homicides.”
The Guardian based its findings on data from the “Gun Violence Archive,” a not-for-profit organization “which tracks shootings and gun deaths using media reports.” Their website lists the number of incidents, number of deaths and number of injuries.
For example, in 2014, the GVA said there were 12,555 “gun deaths” rather than classify them as homicides.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2014, there were 10,945 firearm-related homicides, while the FBI Uniform Crime Report for that year listed 8,124 firearm murders.
This doesn’t suggest anyone is trying to fib with facts, but it does point to a problem with statistics. There is more than one set, and they don’t always agree. Conservative Firing Line reached out to GVA but received no immediate response.
In a separate story, The Guardian further expanded on the 127 cities where half the homicides occur. This story looks at Chicago, St. Louis, New York, New Orleans, Oakland and Baltimore. The Guardian report then notes:
“Since 1993, the peak of the gun violence epidemic of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the nation’s overall gun homicide rate has fallen nearly 50%, according to national estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, the country is much safer than in the 1990s, though polls show most Americans remain unaware of that trend. For African Americans, too, the overall gun homicide rate fell by about half between 1993 and 2010, according to national CDC estimates.”
The report also noted that Chicago analysts worked with the police department and determined that over a six-year span, 70 percent of the non-fatal shootings and 46 percent of the firearm-involved homicides “happened within a sprawling social network that included just 6% of Chicago’s total population.”
There were similar analyses in New Orleans and Oakland, where small percentages of the population accounted for a large share of homicides in the respective cities.
What does all of this mean? For starters, a small segment of the population appears responsible for a large share of violence, and all gun owners are penalized via gun control laws that are ostensibly designed to reduce that violence.
It also suggests that a segment of the population, based on location, economic conditions and other factors is more likely to be involved in this violence than someone living elsewhere, perhaps in a small rural community.
Tens of millions of citizens are gun owners. A relatively tiny number of those citizens is involved in a criminal act with a firearm in any given year.
Would it be more effective to simply deal with those people rather than make all gun owners share the responsibility?