December 17, 2012 A few facts on guns and crime
Normally I don’t blog about firearms or criminal justice issues, since they are not my area of expertise. But I thought I would throw out a few facts that might surprise some:
1. Think the only obstacle to gun control is NRA campaign contributions? Actually, public opinion has become more pro-gun over time. Early 1990s polls showed fairly overwhelming support for stricter gun laws; now public opinion is more evenly split. (See also here and here).
2. Could this be because more Americans own guns? Not necessarily. The percentage of people owning (or at least admitting to owning) a gun in the house has oscillated between a high of about 50 percent (in 1968 and again in 1993) and a low of 36 percent (1999). The most recent polls show about 40-45% of households owning guns.
3. Are Americans more murderous than they used to be? Not really. The 2011 murder rate (4.7 per 100,000) is lower than at any time since 1963.