You may have seen this chart pop up in your news feed recently. It seems to show that while there are now more guns in America than ever before, the violent crime rate has dropped precipitously.
This is true.
According to the FBI, violent crime is down considerably over the last twenty years. At the same time, according to the ATF, gun sales have increased to the point there are now more guns in the US than people.
What neither of those charts will show you, however, is the number of gun owners.
According to the Pew Research Center the percent of Americans who own this ever increasing number of guns has generally declined over the last several decades. Which means more guns in the hands of fewer people. Let’s make a new chart of our own.
Rather than compare a value against the rate of change of another value, I dug into the original FBI dataset here, and charted the values per 100,000 US population.
Not quite as compelling as the original chart, is it? It also doesn’t quite suit the “More guns equals less crime” argument, either. It seems to show a correlation between fewer people with guns and less violent crime, however.
But, as they say, “lies, damned lies and statistics.”
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