Violent Crime Declined as Gun Sales Climbed in 2009

By Matt Cover
CNS News

Violent crime continued to fall in 2009, even as gun sales reached an all-time high, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This is “proof positive that gun prohibitionists have been consistently and undeniably wrong,” the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said in a statement.

Released Tuesday, the violent crime statistics are part of the FBI’s yearly Uniform Crime Report, which collects crime statistics from localities all across the country and is the most comprehensive report on crime in America.

According to the FBI, the number of violent crimes of all types declined in 2009 by 5.3 percent and property crimes declined 4.6 percent. In fact, the rate of violent crime declined 6.1 percent below 2008 figures.

In total, the FBI estimated that 1.3 million violent crimes were committed in 2009.

“Each of the four violent crime offenses decreased when compared with the 2008 estimates. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter and robbery had the largest decreases: 7.3 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively,” the FBI said in a press release summarizing the report. “In addition, aggravated assault decreased 4.2 percent, and forcible rape declined 2.6 percent.”

In fact, the types of crime most likely to be committed with a firearm, murders and manslaughters, experienced one of the greatest rates of decline in 2009 – 7.3 percent.

While violent crime was going down in 2009, guns sales were experiencing a record year. According to data from the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS), 2009 was the best year on record for gun sales.

According to the NICS figures, 14 million guns were sold in 2009, the biggest year since the system began recording data in 1998. The NICS figures are considered the most accurate measurement of gun sales because federal law requires that a NICS check be done prior to every firearm sale in America.

In fact, there were nearly 2 million more guns sold in the United States in 2009 than in 2008, the next best year for gun sales, when 12.7 million NICS checks were recorded.

The NCIS data do not capture all gun sales, however, as only federally licensed primary dealers are required to conduct them. Firearms sales between private citizens can still be done freely, without having to let the federal government know about it. This normally occurs at one of the nation’s many public gun shows, meaning that the firearms sales figures provided by NICS are actually lower than the true figures.

This means that gun sales likely exceeded the already record figure of 14 million indicated by the NICS.

Taken together, these two sets of statistics seem to undermine the claims of anti-Second Amendment groups such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that push for strict federal and state gun control laws, including an outright ban on so-called assault weapons.

Such groups have gone to great lengths to make a connection between gun ownership and violent crime, often pointing out that gun ownership “increases the risk” of injury of death.

“Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide by a factor of 3,” the Brady Campaign’s Web site states.

Given that as gun sales have increased, violent crime has decreased seems to indicate that firearm ownership and the commission of violent crime is only incidentally, not causally, linked.

“What the data tell us is exactly the opposite of what the gun-ban lobby has predicted for several years,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, in a statement. “Their dire predictions that America’s streets would run red have been shown up as a fraudulent sales pitch for public disarmament.”

“No matter how gun prohibitionists try to spin this,” said Gottlieb, “the bottom line is that they have been consistently and demonstrably wrong, and they know it. On the other hand, gun rights organizations have been consistently right when we argued that increased gun ownership would not lead to higher crime rates, and might even have a deterrent effect.”

H/T Blacklisted News

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8 responses to “Violent Crime Declined as Gun Sales Climbed in 2009

  1. And my favorite gun quote, this by Robert Heinlein:

    “An armed society is a polite society.”

  2. boomerangcomesback

    SNUG in your home. That’s GUNS spelled backwards. Since the dawn of time, men and women who are ARMED with a weapon present an effective deterrent to violence. It is called personal defense. It is a Right of Humanity. Only those who have ulterior motives to rendering humanity “Defenseless” propagate the extremely foolish notion of disarming people.

    Individuals who are armed are not fearful individuals. They manifest commonsense in an unpredictable world. Rady, notice the individuals who propose legislation for disarming citizens are probably sporting armed personal bodyguards. Since they argue against commonsense and human Rights for personal defense, I would suppose they are the ones who live in fear. Perhaps they should.

    We live in a society these days that is being destroyed one limb at a time, one root pulled out or chopped off to reduce the stability of the Tree of Liberty. People in America are losing their very independence due to attacks on multiple fronts. Intelligent individuals will arm themselves with wisdom, commonsense, practical decision making and pre-planning for any eventuality. Screw those who would emasculate human beings of their Rights to self-defense.

    If you want to be a Sheep, led to the slaughter or standing helpless in your pen, then give up your Rights to what it means to be a human Being. And that is being ready stand alone or ready to be called to arms against those who have bad intentions for your family and well being.

    The anti-gun idiots are a ludicrous lot deserving of a huge Hee Haw — get off my property and out of my face.

  3. some guy on the internet

    I just want to remind you that correlation DOES NOT imply causation.

  4. Unfortunately the stats prove nothing (like a rise in crime wouldn’t prove guns more dangerous, either).

    People who commit violet crimes need a weapon. There’s a reason why countries with stricter gun control have a lot of knife crime!

    A rise or fall in violent crime has nothing to do with guns. Gun crime has to do with guns, but only because the person holding it is a criminal.

  5. Tim, you’re not being logical. First you say ‘people who commit violent crimes need a weapon.’

    then you say ‘a rise or fall in violent crimes has nothing to do with guns.’

    you can’t have it both ways.

    btw, the author admitted the two statistics are only incidentally, not causally linked.

    But there are other stats that tend to prove the causation between high violent crime rates and gun bans.: Urban centers.

    Only law abiding citizens are disarmed by gun bans.

  6. My feeling after reading this is simply that violence is a double-edged sword (NO pun intended, really). It’s the person who’s holding the weapon that chooses how the weapon is used. But violence will never cure violence. And btw, there are people out there who are fearless without a weapon.

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