Virginia: Gun Sales Up, Crime Down

It’s a familiar trend that 2nd Amendment advocates are used to seeing. In Virginia, gun sales have gone up, and in the same time period, crime has gone down. Imagine that.

The widespread proliferation of guns among law-abiding citizens always leads to a drop in crime, because in that society, there is no safe place for criminals.

Bloomberg and his policy advisor recently blamed Virginia for New York City’s gun crimes. If it’s Virginia’s fault, then wouldn’t we expect Virginia to have a bigger gun violence problem then New York City? But instead, we find the opposite:

 “Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased in 444,844 transactions — a 16 percent rise over 2011… The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data. Looking back over seven years, total firearm sales in Virginia have risen a staggering 101 percent from 2006 to 2012, while gun-related crime has dropped 28 percent during that period.”

Critics of course are quick to point out that correlation does not imply causation. Just because there’s a clear drop in crime in the same time period as gun sales have increased, doesn’t mean that the drop in crime is because of guns. It could just be a coincidence, like what Josh Horwitz, the executive director of a national gun control group, said:

 “Guns sold incident to a background check are less likely to be involved in crimes than guns sold without a background check. So the real question — which I don’t think we really know — is what’s the level of gun sales without a background check? In other words, if people who buy those guns and have a background check, and keep those guns and don’t sell them, then you would not expect that those guns would affect the crime rate. The important analysis is not the total number of guns sold with a background check, but rather the number of guns sold without a background check.”

I don’t really understand what he’s getting at. The crime has gone down. So, why is the question of background checks important in determining the reason for the downward trend in crime? I think he just doesn’t want to admit that an armed society is a polite society.