A Look Back At 1993 – Before Most States Relaxed Their Gun Laws

Regular readers know that I have posted this Department of Justice chart from the 2011 National Crime Survey many times. Take another hard look at it, full size:

Violent Crime Rates Crashed As Gun Sales Boomed!

Violent Crime Rates Crashed As Gun Sales Boomed!

At this point regular readers would probably expect a string of comparative numbers; For example,

In 1993 there were 257,908,000 Americans, 1,926,020 violent crimes, 24,530 homicides, 1,135,610 assaults, but…

in 2011 there were 311,591,917 Americans, 1,203,564 violent crimes, 14,612 homicides, and 751,131 assaults, but…

Instead I a going to look back at 1993 in a different way, by quoting a 1993 Newsweek column by George Will, titled “Are We ‘A Nation of Cowards’?

Briefly quoting Mr. Will’s item from a time when only a handful of states had “must issue” concealed weapons permits:

Crime is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it, permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not fight back immediately, then and there, where it happens…The defect is there, in our character. We are a nation of cowards and shirkers.”

Strong words, those, but not stronger than his argument, the gravamen of which is that the crime problem cannot be addressed without confronting the moral responsibility of the intended victim. Taking responsibility for one’s life, family and community requires fighting back when threatened with violence. How? By possessing and mastering the means of resistance. He means an “equalizer”–a handgun. A responsible citizen, he says, “will be trained in the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal violence.”

There is a great deal more at the link, just above the quote. And it appears millions of Americans have taken Mr. Will’s advice.

Now, a majority of States have Must Issue Concealed Weapons laws. In 1993, gun homicides took 17,465 lives and gun accidents killed 1,521 Americans for a total of 18,986 deaths. For 2010, the total number of gun related murders and accidental gun deaths was 9,381; 606 fatal accidents and 8,775 gun related murders. That is a 50.6% overall decline – even though almost ten million more Americans regularly carry a gun.

We have 20% more people, but violent crime is down by 74%. And Americans prove every day that they are not cowards. They are shooting back in unprecedented numbers. And it shows in the violent crime rates. Americans are safer now than we have been since the 1950’s. And that is a good thing.

Something that would not have happened, had it not been for the relaxation of American gun laws, and the rearming of America.


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Extranos Alley is a Collaborate effort to provide up to information on the relationship between restrictive gun laws and violent crime; as well as other related topics. While emphasis is on United States gun laws and crime, we also provide data on crime trends world wide.
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