Sunday, August 28, 2005

Gun ban ends but crime drops

I guess I'm going to have to start reading the Dallas Morning News on a regular basis. This op-ed was published there way back on 10 July, 2005 and I heard not word 1 about it until I saw it in hardcopy this evening. The crux of the article? That 9 months after the so-called "assault weapon" ban was allowed to sunset, the FBI's crime statistics failed to show the massive bloodletting the gun-control lobby was predicting would occur should the ban be lifted. It's not even that benign for those gun-banners: crime actually dropped. The op-ed was based on reporting by CNS editor Susan Jones:

::::::::Nine months after the Clinton-era "assault weapons ban" expired, the FBI has released crime statistics showing a drop in homicides in 2004 -- the first such drop since 1999. The FBI report said all types of violent crime declined last year, and cities with more than a million people showed the largest drops in violent crime.

When the Clinton ban on certain semiautomatic weapons expired last September, gun control groups warned that violent crime would escalate, including violence against children.

Ooops, that wasn't supposed to happen, was it? Well, did you know that there are 7 States that have their own assault weapon ban? So maybe their crime reductions made the increases in other States look better? John Lott's op-ed in the Dallas Morning News goes into more detail:

::::::::Last week, the FBI announced that the number of murders nationwide fell by 3.6 percent last year, the first drop since 1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after the assault weapons ban ended.

Even more interesting, the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43 states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime. (States with bans averaged a 2.4 percent decline in murders; in three states with bans, the number of murders rose. States without bans saw murders fall by more than 4 percent.)

And the drop was not just limited to murder. Overall, violent crime also declined last year, according to the FBI, and the complete statistics carry another surprise for gun control advocates. Guns are used in murder and robbery more frequently than in rapes and aggravated assaults, but after the assault weapons ban ended, the number of murders and robberies fell more than the number of rapes and aggravated assaults.

It's instructive to remember just how passionately the media hyped the dangers of "sunsetting" the ban. Associated Press headlines warned, "Gun shops and police officers brace for end of assault weapons ban." It was part of the presidential campaign: "Kerry blasts lapse of assault weapons ban." An Internet search turned up more than 560 news stories in the first two weeks of September that expressed fear about ending the ban. Yet the news that murder and other violent crime declined last year produced just one brief paragraph in an insider political newsletter, the "Hotline."

You can call it a sucker bet that had the figures been reversed - had the crime figures increased - you'd have heard about this in every paper in the nation, on all the news networks, and they'd still be grousing about it up on Capitol Hill. Even had figured dropped, but by more in those 7 States with the ban than in the 43 that don't, there would have been political hay made. But that's not what happened. The story being pushed by the gun-control lobby of the left was that crime would absolutely, positively increase. It didn't. That's news. But the MSM won't carry any such thing because it doesn't fit into the liberal narrative they're pushing. Unsurprising, but still disappointing.