Conservatives have been saying it for months and now new data back up the claims. America isn’t a shooting gallery. Our schools are not war zones. And there is no gun violence epidemic. According to Pew Research, homicides rates have stabilized, with the overall gun death rate dropping 30 percent since 1993:
Several mass shootings this year have brought renewed attention to the issue of gun violence in America, and President Obama has again called for Congress to change the nation’s gun laws.
But the increased spotlight on guns does not reflect the overall gun violence trend in the country. Although most Americans think the number of gun crimes has risen, the U.S. gun homicide rate has actually stabilized somewhat in recent years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of death certificate data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nation’s overall gun death rate has declined 30% since 1993. This total includes homicides and suicides, in addition to a smaller number of fatal police shootings, accidental shooting deaths and those of undetermined intent. For example, in 2013 there were 467 fatal police shootings, up from 333 in 2009.
Yet, Pew did note that suicides are growing, which is something that needs to be tackled, hopefully in congruence with reforming our mental health system. If you remove suicides from the total, and actually focus just on firearm-related homicides, it’ll probably be at the same rate when Pew first crunched the numbers. In 2013, they found there was a 49 percent drop in gun homicides between 1993-2010. The Bureau of Justice Statistics marked a 39 percent drop in gun-related homicides between 1993-2011, roughly the same period. The numbers might be different, but the conclusion is the same: gun homicides are down.