Study Shows Gun Homicides Has Dropped 49% Since 1990’s, Despite What Media May Have You Believe
This was a surprising study I found today. Modern news media including 24 hour news channels, internet news sites, etc cover the mass shootings and gun murders so extensively that we feel like gun violence is soaring out of control. In reality, gun homicide is down 49% since it peaked in the mid 1990’s.
My first thought was, “what about all of these mass shootings?” Pew Research looked into those statistics as well.
Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008. These homicides, most of which are shootings, increased as a share of all homicides from 0.5% in 1980 to 0.8% in 2008, according to the bureau’s data. A Congressional Research Service report, using a definition of four deaths or more, counted 547 deaths from mass shootings in the U.S. from 1983 to 2012.2
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we still don’t have a problem. What I am saying is that we should look at facts as well and not let the hyper-sensationalized media skew what the overall picture is. I do think mass shootings are becoming more common, because of the obsession with these killers and becoming infamous.
At the same time, we can’t blame the media too much, because as consumers, that’s what we are looking for. After Newtown, I was constantly looking for updates on the situation. I still find myself following the movie theater shootings in Colorado. It’s human nature for us to try to find answers for these terrible tragedies.
Take a full look at the whole research study from Pew Research and draw up your own conclusions. It’s really interesting.