Despite the rhetoric from both sides over the need for stricter gun control regulations – and the fear instilled by a rash of random shootings in public places nationwide – statistics show relatively few people will fall victim to violent, firearm-related crimes committed by strangers, reports the Myrtle Beach Sun News. The paper cites a federal Bureau of Justice Statistics study released in December that said fewer than four of every 100 non-fatal, violent crimes were committed by a stranger. The paper also noted that the overwhelming percentage of homicides are committed by someone the victim knows.
Those statistics, and that federal study, have gotten lost amid the debate that's followed the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The study, released three days before the Dec. 14 tragedy, has not been mentioned in any other newspaper, according to a Nexis database search, and only a handful of blogs mentioned the report. Instead, the debate has focused on assault weapons – rarely used in violent crimes, according to the FBI – and background checks at gun shows, such as the one scheduled Feb. 9-10 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Ignoring statistics and focusing on emotion are typical tactics used by gun-control advocates, said NRA spokeswoman Jacqueline Ott. “The debate is at an emotional high right now, and it's not rooted in any crime statistics,” Otto said. “They [gun control advocates] are over-hyping the risks and preying on fear, all in the argument that they are trying to protect children.” And the president of gun rights advocacy group Grass Roots South Carolina said gun control arguments are irrational.