May 24, 2013

M.D. Harmon: Shooting holes in the belief that gun crimes are on the rise

Two research groups reveal that gun homicides have been falling ever since peaking in 1993.

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Almost everything we've been told about how Americans exercise their civil rights under the Second Amendment is wrong.

The gun-banners' efforts focus on crimes committed by 2 percent or 3 percent of criminals, and ignore offenses committed by the vast majority of lawbreakers, who obtain their guns illegally.

It's possible to understand why the average American might not know the truth. The major media understandably devote much ink and air time to the few shootings involving a significant number of victims, but spend much less time reporting about trends and overall statistics, which are significantly harder to depict in gripping images.

There's no film, after all, showing crime rates going down, or depicting the hundreds of thousands of citizens who prevent crimes with privately owned firearms, most often without a shot being fired. So it feels as if gun violence is rising, because that's what the media concentrate on, even though gun crimes -- even school shootings -- have declined greatly.

Meanwhile, anti-gun politicians and political pressure groups play up major crimes in photo-ops, highly publicized speeches and other media events conducted for their own political purposes.

As John Nolte, writing on's Big Journalism website, noted about these reports: "What we have here is yet another culture war ... aimed at the type of law-abiding citizens who attend gun shows."

Now, however, the truth is known. The enemies of American liberties are going to have to find some other talking points.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:


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