Opinion by Zachary Faria

The best Democrats and their liberal media allies can do to dismiss the rise in crime as a Republican problem is to tie it to gun control. But their proof is sorely lacking.

he New York Times attempted to do just this in reporting that gun homicides and suicides have risen since 2019. Roni Caryn Rabin detailed the numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before trying to tie them to gun sales. “Although the CDC research does not address the underlying causes, the increase in firearm deaths parallels a spike in gun purchases during the pandemic, including an increase in first-time owners,” Rabin wrote.

She then said that “Americans went on a gun-buying spree” and that “purchasers often turn to handguns for self-protection, but research has shown that having a firearm in the home dramatically raises the risk of gun death.” (This last claim, by the way, references a 29-year-old study plagued with serious methological problems.)

Is there any proof that the surge in homicides or suicides is directly tied to gun sales? Of course not — but liberals don’t need proof that gun control prevents gun deaths, as Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) reminded everyone.

While the question of gun-related suicides (up 10% since 2019, compared to other forms of suicide being down 8%) is up in the air, the increase in gun homicides has a clear point. Yes, gun sales increased substantially in 2020, spiking in March at the start of the pandemic and again in June when Black Lives Matter riots hit several cities. Crime spiked at the same two points, but liberals have the correlation backward. Crime did not rise because of gun sales, gun sales rose because of crime.

While gun sales surged under from 2009-2013, homicides and violent crime consistently declined. It was not until 2014 that homicides and violent crime began rising again, which happened to be the same year that the Black Lives Matter movement rose to prominence with the death of Michael Brown. Democratic mayors tolerated riots then, just as they did in 2020, promoting an atmosphere of lawlessness that emboldened criminals to become more violent.

We know that gun sales likely had little to do with the crime surge in 2020 and the lesser increases in 2014 because we know most criminals do not purchase guns legally. A Department of Justice report from 2019 found that 91% of gun criminals got their firearms from the black market or another person, find them at the crime scene, or steal them. Only about 7.5% purchased their guns legally.

The Times reporting is a classic case of confusing cause for effect. The surge in gun sales is a response to gun crime, not the cause of it. The cause is the Democratic Party and its media allies (including the New York Times) tolerating and promoting riots while calling for gun control for law-abiding citizens, all while progressive prosecutors refuse to prosecute repeat criminals. If liberals want to bring gun homicides down, some introspection is needed.

By don

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