Here we go again. Some of us were hoping that the sun-setting of the Assault Weapons Ban, the Heller decision by the Supreme Court in 2008, or simply the unavoidable fact that while gun ownership continues to rise, crime continues to fall, would finally allow us to put this nonsense to bed.
Alas, we unfortunately still have an unscrupulous and despicable portion of our society who shamelessly uses tragedy to further their personal and political agendas. The rest of us should consider these statistics: Firearms are used in less than 10 percent of violent crimes and of the 12,996 homicides reported in 2010, 8,775 were committed with a firearm. Of these, 358 were committed with a rifle and 1,939 were listed as “Firearm, type not stated.” So while some are saying we need another Assault Weapons Ban, consider these types of firearms are used in less than 1 percent of violent crime, and that the most deadly shooting rampage ever committed in the state of Colorado was in 1999 during the first Assault Weapons Ban - which did the 13 victims absolutely no good.
Violent crime has been falling steadily in this country since 2006. Our 2010 rate of 403.6 per 100,000 is the lowest it has been since 1991, and preliminary reports indicate 2011 shows a drop of 4 percent from the previous year.
Meanwhile, background checks through the FBI’s NICS have increased every year since 2006, nearly doubling since then to 16.5 million in 2011. And a recent Gallop Poll shows self-reported gun ownership is up to 47 percent, which is the highest level since 1993. Most of this comes courtesy of the FBI Uniform Crime Reports or Bureau of Justice Statistics, and can be found for free with a simple Google search for anyone interested in the truth.
Robert Boren, Missoula