Virginia Sees Gun Sales Climb, Gun Crime Fall

by Sterling Beard

When firearms sales in the Old Dominion rose by 16 percent from 2011 to 2012, gun crime dropped 5 percent, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

That drop in crime includes a 3 percent drop in killings made with handguns, an 11 percent drop in robberies committed with firearms, and a 7 percent drop in robberies involving handguns.

This makes 2012 the fourth year in a row that Virginia saw its gun-crime level drop. Even more dramatically, gun sales rose 101 percent between 2006 and 2012 while gun crime dropped by 28 percent.

Even if one eliminates shotguns and rifles (which are rarely used to commit crimes and could distort the more relevant numbers), handgun purchases increased by 112 percent from 2006 to 2011 while violent crimes committed with those same weapons fell 22 percent.

Thomas Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who produced the figures after examining six years of data, had an understated take: The figures, he said, appear “to be additional evidence that more guns don’t necessarily lead to more crime” and represent “a quite interesting trend given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws and the presumed effect it would have on violent crimes.”

Josh Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, argued that any correlation between the two figures is meaningless – because more guns don’t mean more crime, so long as they’re sold after background checks. He contended that, because most guns are sold with such checks, ”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 real question, he argues, is how many guns are sold without a background check, and the effect that might have on the crime rate.

Critics will rightly point out that correlation does not equal causation (though there are folks out there who contend that more guns do, in fact, mean less crime) and the author also cautioned against reading too much from the figures. However, if more guns lead to more violence — even assuming that a decent number of these guns are later illegaly sold — surely we’d see an increase in gun crime since 2006 instead of a drop of nearly 30 percent.

Via Fox News.