As Gun Sales Soared, the Number of Violent Crimes Committed with Guns Plummeted

With violent crime soaring over the last two years, Americans want a solution. Over and over, President Joe Biden and gun control advocates frame violent crime as a gun problem. Relying on public health researchers, articles such as this one in the Atlantic and in local news stories this week point to increasing gun sales as the cause. But reported gun crimes fell in 2020, so the writers ignore the obvious explanation for rising crime, that law enforcement isn’t being allowed to do its job.

Gun sales increased dramatically in 2020 before receding some in 2021. Background checks on gun sales soared from 12.4 million in 2019 to 20.3 million in 2020 and declining back to 17.6 million in 2021. Meanwhile, murder and aggravated assaults rose slightly in 2020 before exploding in 2021. In 2020, murders and aggravated assaults rose by one percent. In 2021, they increased double-digit rates (29% for murder and 12% for aggravated assaults).

To many, the connection seems obvious. Gun sales increased, and murder and aggravated assaults rose, though robberies fell.

But what the media ignores is that the number of violent gun crimes dropped dramatically in 2020. Last October, the US Department of Justice released a

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