By Elizabeth McGuigan
The FBI has released its crime data for 2018 and the news is good. Violent crime dropped 3.3 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. According to the report, a decrease was seen across nearly every type of violent crime.
Looking at a 10-year trend, the numbers of violent crimes were down a full 9 percent from 2009 through 2018. The rate shows a more dramatic drop: “There were an estimated 368.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, a rate that fell 3.9 percent when compared with the 2017 estimated violent crime rate and dropped 14.6 percent from the 2009 estimate.”
Homicides with firearms were down 7 percent from 2017. And in stark contrast to the theatrics of last week’s House Judiciary Committee on banning modern sporting rifles, rifles were again only used in 2 percent of homicides, far less than the share committed with knives (11 percent) or hands and feet (5 percent).
MSR Ownership Up. Crime Down
This chart says it all. Through 2016, there have been over 16 million modern sporting rifles in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, violent crime is declining. The message is clear. Tragic criminal actions must be addressed. Banning certain types of firearms is not the answer.
The firearms and ammunition industry shares the goal of finding the root causes of criminal violence and has created programs over the years to help address safety practices and problems of unauthorized access. The firearms and ammunition industry prides itself on high rates of compliance and on our voluntary programs, often in partnership with local, state and federal government agencies, to help curtail the actual problems of guns illegally getting into the wrong hands. We work to make sure states are submitting all prohibiting records to NICS. We provide millions of free gun locks and educational materials in all states. We train our members to spot straw purchasers, to comply with all laws, and to use discretion when making transactions and keeping their inventory secure. We work with the Defense Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help address the crisis of suicides in our country. In short, it is time for Real Solutions. Safer Communities.SM to help continue the trend of declining violence in our country.
Elizabeth McGuigan is the Director of Legislative and Policy Research for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. Previously, she conducted policy and economic research for the financial industry and advocacy groups in Washington, DC.