It could be easy to cast blame on the record sales of firearms on the surge of gun violence.
The record sales, which began during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and have continued into this year following the election of President Joe Biden, have coincided with an increase in gun violence, making it easy to conclude that more guns could equate to more violence.
That could be akin to suggesting that more cars will lead to ‘drunk driving’ related deaths.
Yet, President Biden and other opponents of the Second Amendment have used the increase in violence in major cities as an excuse to call for more gun control, while news outlets such as VOX recently suggested that the cause of 2020’s murder increase was “more guns.”
Gun control is unlikely to actually address the issue.
According to a new study published in the July edition of Injury Epidemiology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, there is actually no clear association between the increase in firearms purchases and the increase in most interpersonal gun violence in the United States.
The study concluded, “Nationwide, firearm purchasing and firearm violence increased substantially during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic. At the state level, the magnitude of the increase in purchasing was not associated with the magnitude of the increase in firearm violence.”
Instead, the increase in gun violence and crime actually remains a socio-economic issue that is largely not directly related to firearms at all.
The study’s lead author Julia Schleimer suggested, “We need to be looking at other factors, like job loss, economic change, the closure of schools and community organizations and nonprofits, and civil unrest,” and how those relate to gun violence.
The study further noted that a number of other factors may have played a role in the increase in violence in 2020 and into the first half of 2021: “Stay-at-home orders might reduce community violence since fewer people are in public places—or increase it if fewer potential witnesses are on scene or law enforcement presence is reduced. Violence at home might rise if stay-at-home orders intensify contact between persons in violent relationships.”
It is also worth noting that it has largely been illegally acquired firearms that have been used in the crimes. Gang members don’t shop at local gun shops, and instead, buy their firearms on the black market.
“Data from Chicago and some other cities suggest that we have seen a sharp increase in illegal gun carrying,” said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, who told The Guardian that the study followed “rigorous statistical methods.”
Webster added, “The role that guns are playing in the increased levels of homicides may have more to do with increases in illegal gun carrying than with the number of incidents in which people buy guns legally, especially in the short-term.”
The danger remains that the long-term goal of the opponents of the Second Amendment remains to disarm the populace – even if the data suggests illegal guns are the greater danger.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.