I’ll apologize in advance for not recalling who sent me the links to the National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics, both official government sites for crime-related data. Both have information which should be considered in the rush to legislate after the horrific mass murder in Newtown. The NIJ, using data from the BJS, charts the use of various weapons types in homicides over a 30-year period — and clearly, the use of guns had a peak, but it dissipated almost 20 years ago:

Homicides committed with firearms peaked in 1993 at 17,075, after which the figure steadily fell, leveling off in 1999 at 10,117. Gun-related homicides have increased slightly each year since 2002.

Firearms play a significant role in homicides by circumstance, but the circumstances involved show that it’s rare for otherwise law-abiding citizens to be involved in a gun-related homicide. More than 90% of all gang-related homicides involve gun use, for instance, while the rate of felony homicides involving guns have risen to nearly 80%. The rate of firearm use in homicides from personal arguments has declined slightly over the last thirty years, even as gun sales have increased, showing that there is no causation or even correlation to support the idea that guns escalate arguments.