Even NPR has noticed

Saw this on Facebook, and was mildly surprised that NPR posted this

Since 1993, the United States has seen a drop in the rate of homicides and other violence involving guns, according to two new studies released Tuesday. Using government data, analysts saw a steep drop for violence in the 1990s, they saw more modest drops in crime rates since 2000.

The author of the NPR piece can’t even get up much enthusiasm for pushing the “OMG gun suicides” angle; and the summation paragraph (the second most important one for the TL;DR crowd, according to my writing teachers) takes a hard shot at the “criminals get their guns from gun shows” fallacy:

“In 2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense, fewer than two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show,” according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. “About 10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from an illegal source.”

They note WHY 1993 is chosen as the benchmark date; it’s the peak year for “gun violence.” They also note that in the same period gun ownership has risen significantly. This is an amazingly pro-gun piece, and it’s on the NPR website. Following up to the summary at Pew’s own website, I’d even say the NPR summary is a tad more pro-gun than Pew’s; since Pew spends more electrons noting that the trend was more pronounced in the 1990s and has fallen off since 2000. One article doesn’t make a trend, by any means, but it’s an interesting article. And one worth keeping in my back pocket to deal with people who attack the source rather than the data.

6 thoughts on “Even NPR has noticed”

  1. Good article and worth filing away but it’s a little dated, May 7, 2013.

  2. The interesting thing about the Bureau of Prisons study is it tracked the same figures before and after NICs went into effect at the end of Brady. Going from memory, the only significant change was to drive the “from a licensed dealer” percentage down 3% and the “illegal source” up 3%. Effectively a 1-for-1 substitution effect. No effect on gun shows/flea markets or other private sales.

    The survey didn’t check whether the convict was prohibited at the time of procuring the handgun, so most of the sales through legal channels were probably legal (except perhaps the criminal intent of the buyer). Expanding BC’s still won’t catch those.

    Anyway by this precedent, there’s no reason to believe attempting to impose UBC’s, NICs checks on gun shows and private sales between individuals, would have any different effect.

    Illegal sales and illegal procurement from friends and family (who presumably know the prohibited status of any family member/friend who is likely to be a risk to others) would simply increase to replace sourcing for those few prohibited persons who might be buying guns from unknowing private individuals now.

  3. I suppose saying this could get me lynched, but I have always found NPR to be more “fair and balanced” than (e.g.) almost any of our cable “news” outlets. That is not to say I always agree with them, or that “balanced” doesn’t sometimes mean fielding as credible opinions that are equally biased toward either the “left” or “right” poles, but I have generally been surprised that they fielded news or opinion that appeared to conflict with their editorial positions, without being snarky about it.

    Not surprisingly the exceptions to that are individual interviewers, who will often display their own highly biased opinions. But that is not a surprise in any uncensored, unedited talk medium.

    1. That’s because NPR is boring, and nobody listens to it.

      Sarcasm aside, I think it’s a combination of a number of factors:

      *The listener demographics tend towards the intelligentsia, or at least those who like to think of themselves as such.

      *The format–and the aforementioned demographics contribute heavily to this–tends more towards the old-school “discuss anything” college-style lecture, rather than the elementary-school level indoctrination that more mainstream infotainment “news” sources have become.

      *The editorial direction also contributes, and is either a reflection that the old and principled journalists haven’t died/retired yet, or have successfully passed the torch to their successors.

      Basically, the TLDR is that NPR is different because it’s more akin to the left’s internal monologue than the indoctrination-laden content they produce for consumption by “the masses.” It’s still heavily left-leaning, but it expects that the listener is already a true believer and not in need of heavy-handed/all-guns-blazing indoctrination.

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