In response to sharp increases in violent crime, President Biden stressed again last week that his administration is focused on “stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes.” But critics warn that this “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact – about 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms.
Although firearms were used in about 74% of homicides in 2019, they comprise less than 9% of violent crimes in America.
The vast majority of violent offenses – including robberies, rapes and other sex crimes – almost always involve other weapons or no weapons at all.
Shortly before Christmas in 2018, a woman named Darlene voluntarily turned in a 9mm pistol to the Baltimore Police Department. It was just one of about 500 firearms the department collected that day as part of the city’s gun buyback program, which paid citizens somewhere between $25 and $500 in exchange for their firearms and high-capacity magazines.
Darlene, however, had a confession. She was turning in her 9mm, she told a local news reporter, so she could “upgrade to a better weapon.”
Like what? the reporter asked.
“I don’t know,” Darlene said. “I haven’t quite decided.”
Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden have vowed to act on gun control in the aftermath of two mass shootings that left 18 people dead, but despite their majorities in Congress, Democrats’ proposed bills would be extraordinarily unlikely to overcome a Republican Senate filibuster.
Partisan gridlock on guns is nothing new. No major gun control legislation has passed in over 25 years, when Congress passed a 10-year assault weapons ban under former President Bill Clinton. But despite the constant stalemates, some Republicans have offered alternative plans, meaning that the possibility of some form of bipartisan gun legislation may still exist.
Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday that while he did not think the two bills passed by the House would overcome a filibuster, there was still opportunity for compromise.
Gun violence continues in Chicago, with the city seeing a significant uptick in shootings and murders compared to last year.
3,790 people were shot through Nov. 30, compared to 2,403 in the same time period last year, a 58% increase, according to a Chicago Police Department report released Tuesday.