New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has not made a peep about gun control since news came out that firearms-related deaths were way down. President Obama has ignored it and continued to pursue more gun-control laws. Their reaction shows how this news screws up their agenda to keep the decline in gun-related homicides a secret from Americans so that they can pass restrictions on the Second Amendment.
The Justice Department released a study Tuesday that showed firearm-related homicides in the U.S. annually declined 39 percent from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011. Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69 percent from 1.5 million to 467,300 in that time frame.
Mr. Bloomberg, who is usually very vocal on any gun-related news, fell mute. Neither he, nor his usually very active organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has said anything gun related this week. A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg’s group did not respond to a request for comment. If the news had been that a bunch of people were shot, you can be assured that Mr. Bloomberg would have been in front of the microphones.
The president has not celebrated the good news. Quite the opposite. After learning that Americans are safer now than ever from criminals with guns, Mr. Obama launched a campaign for more gun laws. He tweeted from his Barack Obama account: “This is big: @OFA volunteers are about to deliver 1.4 million signatures to Congress demanding expanded background checks for gun sales.” OFA stands for Organizing for America, which is Mr. Obama’s political campaign group.
Mr. Obama followed up to tell followers to watch OFA’s account for “more coverage of the gun violence petition delivery to Congress.” He used the hashtag #NotBackingDown. By that he means to keep pushing more restrictions on the Second Amendment. On Wednesday, he took House Democrats to dinner to plot how to pass gun-control laws.
The reason they are hiding now is because they don’t want the public know that crime has gone down at the same time that gun ownership and carry permits have increased. The have — until now — been effective in hiding these facts.
On the same day that Justice released its report, Pew Research Center released a new poll that found that 56 percent of Americans believe gun crimes is higher now than 20 years ago and 26 percent thought it was the same. Only 12 percent knew that it was lower. The most dramatic decline was in the mid-1999s, but has steadily decreased since. The survey showed the public wasn’t that much more knowledgeable on recent crime data. Asked about trends in firearms crimes “in recent years,” 45 percent thought the number had gone up, 39 percent thought it was the same. Just 10 percent were correct that it has gone down 13 percent in the most recent five years.
David Keene, who just stepped down this week after a two-year term as NRA president, called it “amazing” that, despite the evidence, the public continues to believes homicide rates are increasing.
“Lincoln said you can’t fool all the people all the time,” Mr. Keene told me Thursday. “But Obama, his friends and their allies in the media are counting on a phony narrative to fool people long enough to force through their ‘solutions’ to ‘an epidemic of violence’ that simply doesn’t exist.”
The media is largely to blame for this misconception. The old saying about TV news — “If it bleeds, it leads” — explains the hyper-coverage of any gun-related death compared to other news events. The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December was horrific because the victims were innocent school children, but it was a very rare event and not a sign of an increased in mass shootings. Nevertheless, the media went wall-to-wall coverage for weeks and Mr. Obama and his money man, Mr. Bloomberg, used the terrible crime to launch his second-term agenda for an “assault weapon” ban.
There is also an anti-gun bias in the mainstream media. While those of us who cover Second Amendment issues know that homicide by firearm has decreased steadily from looking at the FBI’s annual data, most don’t take the time to do that. It took a study specifically putting that data together combined with a new poll on the topic to get even print media to report it. The evening news shows ignored the news.
The gun grabbers use scare tactics to push their agenda. The American people should know that they are safer now than ever and have fellow gun owners to thank for that.