Even as gun ownership has surged in the U.S. in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply, says the Christian Science Monitor. With homicides down 10 percent in the first half of 2009, the FBI reports that gun sales – especially of assault-style rifles and handguns, two main targets of gun-control groups – are up at least 12 percent nationally since the election of President Obama. Pro-gun groups say the data disprove a long-running theory by gun-control groups that gun ownership spawns crime and violence.
“Anti-gunners have lost another one of their baseless arguments,” says Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation. Some gun-control groups have long sought to establish gun ownership as a health issue, which would expose purchasers to the kind of regulation now imposed on prescription drugs and alcohol. That view embodies the idea that mere exposure to guns makes people more violent. “We can absolutely draw a fact-based conclusion about [whether there's a correlation between declining crime rates and increasing gun ownership], and the answer is no,” says David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “There are very consistent findings that the acquisition and obtaining of carry permits by ordinary law-abiding people has either no or very little impact on the crime rate.”