Gun homicides down dramatically, Americans unaware

Published: May. 28, 2014 at 10:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2014 at 2:19 AM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It seems there is something in the news every day about gun violence. The recent mass shooting in Isla Vista, California, a movie theater riddled with bullets in Colorado, children and teachers gunned down at school in Connecticut, and the list goes on. While you may be seeing more and more shooting, the fact is, overall gun homicide rates have dropped dramatically over the past two decades, according to a recent study.

More than half of Americans believe gun violence has increased over the past two decades, but what you're watching on the news, may be skewing your view.

That recent study said compared to 1993, the peak of US gun homicide, the rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, even though the population had grown. In other words, fewer people are dying by guns.

Assaults, robberies, and sex crimes also went down by 75 percent in 2011. Perhaps images from shooting crime scenes seem all too familiar, but perhaps the attention to gun violence in recent months has caused more Americans to be unaware that gun crimes are actually markedly lower than they were two decades ago.

There have been about two mass shootings per month in the US over the past five years, according to another report. A mass shooting is constituted as four deaths or more, but this study said each year less than one percent of gun homicides are from mass shootings. Between 1983 and 2012 there were 547 deaths from mass shootings. These shootings are highly publicized and the public is paying close attention.

"I don't normally just read on it all the time, but when there's a mass shooting or something like that and it's big on the news, yes I do read about it and I take part in online debates and stuff," Anna Katrina Pecson, a Tyler resident, said.

No story received more public attention from mid-March to early April 2013 than the debate over gun control. Though, seeing is believing, numbers don't lie.

The study also noted more than half of gun-related deaths are suicides. Researchers aren't sure why gun violence has gone down so drastically, but the study did note that the decline has slowed over the past decade compared to the rapid reduction in the 90's.

If you'd like to read that entire study, which also explains some ideas as to why gun homicide has declined, click here.

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