While Gun Sales Soared in Virginia, Violent Crime Declined


Gun-related violent crime continues to drop in Virginia as the sales of firearms continue to soar, a pattern that one local criminologist finds interesting “given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws,” reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased, a 16 percent rise over 2011.

The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data. Firearm sales in Virginia rose 101 percent from 2006 to 2012, while gun-related crime dropped 28 percent during that period. “This appears to be additional evidence that more guns don't necessarily lead to more crime,” said Thomas R. Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in research methods and criminology theory.

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