Gun crime plunges, though most Americans think it has risen

WASHINGTON Tue May 7, 2013 5:11pm EDT

A pink assault rifle hangs among others at an exhibit booth at the George R. Brown convention center, the site for the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 5, 2013. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A pink assault rifle hangs among others at an exhibit booth at the George R. Brown convention center, the site for the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gun-related homicides and other crimes involving guns have fallen sharply over the last two decades in the United States, but most Americans believe firearms crime is higher now than 20 years ago, according to an analysis and a separate poll released on Tuesday.

Some 11,101 gun-related homicides were reported in the United States in 2011, a figure that is down 39 percent from the 1993 peak, the Justice Department reported. Nonfatal firearm crimes declined by 69 percent to 467,300 in the same period.

Amid an intense national debate about gun control - which flared anew in the wake of a December shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 people dead - some 56 percent of Americans believe that gun crime is higher now than it was 20 years ago, the Pew Research Center said its poll showed.

Only 12 percent of Americans realize that gun crimes have fallen, the center said in a statement. The Pew survey was based on a March 14-17 survey of 924 adults and had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

The drop in gun crime mirrors a general fall in U.S. violent crime. The Justice Department study found that for fatal and nonfatal firearm crimes, most of the decline occurred from 1993 to 2002.

In 2011, about 70 percent of homicides and 8 percent of nonfatal violent crimes, such as rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault, were committed with a firearm, mainly a handgun.

From 2007 to 2011, about 1 percent of victims in nonfatal violent crimes reported using a firearm to defend themselves.

The Justice Department findings were based on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)

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Comments (29)
The reason so many ill-informed people think that gun crime is higher now than it was 20 years ago, is because they believe the hysterical ramblings of Obama, Biden, Feinstein, Holder, and the majority of the other Democrats who are lying through their teeth and throwing out bogus polling numbers in order to promote their personal agenda of disarming the American populace.

It’s time for the news media to pick up the gauntlet and stop sensationalizing every firearms incident. Perhaps they should, instead, start reporting not so much on the negative use of firearms, but instead on the positive use of firearms. Many people, including my husband, have defended themselves and stopped criminal acts in the process by the use of firearms.

May 07, 2013 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
texbarrister wrote:
This shouldn’t be surprising given that Obama and Biden cannot start or finish a sentence without saying Newtown. Furthermore, this should really sting the media sensationalists as proof of their spin doctoring. Though I highly doubt that any single member of the media will be stung, on the contrary, I think that they’ll look at this disparity between reality and perception and call it a personal victory.

May 07, 2013 6:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
50cal wrote:
I am totally amazed reuters ran this story. And check out that pink AR. More guns less violence. There you go then. But you know we (gun owners) have been trying to tell folks that all along. Here is another one. If you do not believe in guns and don’t want to carry one BEFRIEND a SANE person that does you will be safer.

May 07, 2013 6:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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