Gun Control: James Holmes and Recent Shootings Are Not Proof Gun Violence is on the Rise


The increased reporting of gun violence by mainstream media provides a platform for gun ban advocates to speak out. The increased reporting of gun violence is misleading. There is a difference between gun violence and gun crime. Gun violence also includes accidents and deaths by suicide in which a gun is used, such as the recent death of a man on Fox News on live television after a high-speed car chase, prompting an apology from anchor Shep Smith.

However, data shows murders have actually decreased by 1.9%. All violent crime is down by 4% in just this last year.

A recent incident in which a 3-year-old Indiana boy accidentally discharged a gun resulting in the death of his father, though sad, should be recognized for exactly what it was: an accident. However, the way the statistics are calculated, it falls under the category of gun violence. It was however, not a crime. But this doesn't deter mainstream media who seem bent on reporting a stories involving guns and death.

The recent Fox story showing a man's death by suicide using a gun, was disrespectful distasteful, and sensational. And we can only hope their airing the live feed was also accidental. However, mainstream picked up on it quickly, and the slant can be shown by their word choice in the headlines. An example: NPR reported, "Fox New Apologizes after Man Commits Suicide on Air."

Notice I chose to use the words "death by suicide." I did not use the words "committed suicide" because the word committed is misleading. The use of the word "committed" is frequently attributed to a crime. It is not a crime to take one's own life. 

This week Huffington Post ran an article promoting control, highlighting all of the high profile shooting this summer. It used the words "gun violence" and admitted crime is going down. They even reported a Gallup poll in 1990 showed Americans calling for gun control was at 78%, and a similar poll taken last year revealed 55% of respondents called for the same or more lenient controls. The mainstream media failed to define the difference between gun violence and gun crime.

I did a Google search for news using the phrase "gun control debate" and found about "57,300 articles in .027 seconds." Not one article on the first three search pages made a point to stress the difference between gun violence and gun crime. 

Further, according to a recent report by Forbes since December 2011, there have been over 12 million NICS checks for new guns. An NICS check is necessary when guns are legally purchased. And since 2002 the number of NICS checks have increased 54.1%. 

So, while gun sales have increased, violent crime has decreased, the media continue to report gun violence as though all gun violence is a crime, thus keeping alive the debate on gun control.