We don't have a gun problem, we have a gang problem

There are roughly 32,000 gun deaths per year in the United States. Of those, around 60% are suicides. About 3% are accidental deaths (less than 1,000). About 34% of deaths (just over 11,000 in both 2010 and 2011) make up the remainder of gun deaths. Sometimes the 32,000 and 11,000 figures are used interchangeably by gun control advocates. Clearly, the 32,000 figure is a far more dramatic number and is often used for impact. These numbers are also regularly compared to other countries' gun statistics. But are they true? Here, we will examine some of the most common gun control arguments used and put those figures into perspective. Gang Violence Driving Force of Gun Violence To hear gun control advocates speak, one would be led to believe that gun violence is a widespread problem whereby the mere existence of a gun is as much a problem as the person who intends to wield it. But the reality is that gun homicides are overwhelmingly tied to gang violence. In fact, a staggering 80% of gun homicides are gang-related. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), gang homicides accounted for roughly 8,900 of 11,100 gun murders in both 2010 and 2011. That means that there were just 2,200 non gang-related firearm murders in both years in a country of over 300 million people and 250 million guns. Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and New Orleans all have very high per-capita murder rates. Individual police estimates usually find at least 65% and often more than 80% of all murders in those cities are gang-related. Solve the problem of gang violence, and a huge chunk of the gun homicide and violence problem is solved. And what national gun control measures would slow the gang violence problem, when local gun control laws have failed in cities like Chicago? If politicians were really worried about gun deaths, wouldn't they be specifically targeting where a majority of the problems exist? Continue reading

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