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While Gun Deaths Decline and Schools Remain Safe, Americans Flip Out

The National Rifle Association has been using the death of a small number of children to try and mandate the use of armed guards in every school across the country. Not coincidentally for a group funded by gun manufacturers, that would require school districts everywhere to buy a large number of guns. But is such a measure called for?

Not according to a new report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics this week. Confirming earlier studies, the BJS finds that more than 98% of the killings of young people happen outside of school, despite the fact that children spend so much time in school. Expanding on this finding to non-fatal violence, the BJS finds that from 2007-2011 (the last year for which full data is available), more than 99% of gun-related violence occurs outside of school. Schools are already safe.

Furthermore, as both the BJS report and another report released this week by Pew Research show, the rate of crimes committed with guns is sharply lower over the last 20 years. But that’s not what Americans think is going on. In a representative poll of Americans conducted by Pew, 56% of respondents said they thought that the rate of crimes committed with guns had gone up over the past 20 years. 26% of respondents said they thought the rate of gun crime had stayed the same over the past 20 years. Only 12% of respondents answered correctly, that gun crime has fallen over the past 20 years.

Americans are freaking out about school safety and freaking out about gun violence. In neither case is the panic supported by facts.

One thought on “While Gun Deaths Decline and Schools Remain Safe, Americans Flip Out”

  1. manning120 says:

    Well and succinctly said. However, gun violence remains a problem that can and should be addressed. The NRA wants everyone who so far has escaped being criminally convicted, or diagnosed with mental illness, to be armed. Well, I don’t like the idea of having to carry a gun around all the time. And guns are expensive. I don’t trust people I meet who are armed just because there’s a chance they passed a “background check” some time in the past. The proliferation of guns chills other freedoms than the 2nd Amendment freedom, such as freedom of speech, including the freedom to tell people you’re unarmed, by choice. The thought that people have guns on them inhibits my willingness to say something controversial, particularly in crowds, for fear of being shot. I also don’t think the 2nd Amendment legalizes being judge, jury, and executioner the way NRA types think it does. And then, of course, the best way to stop a large amount of gun violence is never talked about. I refer to making gun possessors legally liable if they transfer their guns and the transferee commits a crime, or suicide, or has a gun accident that injures or kills. That would have impacted Nancy Lanza and millions of other law-abiding people whose weapons get into the wrong hands. But no — we can’t burden the Nancy Lanzas of this world with the legal duty to possess their weapons responsibly. That would violate the 2nd Amendment. Ask Senators Toomey and Manchin.

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