What the sensationalist media doesn’t want Americans to know: Gun crime is down!

If you’ve been on Facebook the last few days, you may have noticed that a May 7, 2013 story by the Los Angeles Times is making the rounds. The story explains that even though gun-related crime has dropped significantly since the mid-1990s, 56 percent of Americans believe it to be on the rise.

The Times cited data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showing that non-fatal gun crime fell a whooping 69 percent from 1993 to 2011. In that same time period, gun related murders dropped 39 percent while overall violent crime also fell. And yet, only 12 percent of Americans are aware that gun-related crime has fallen.

Since this data came out, other studies and research have found that states with liberalized concealed carry laws had lower murder rates that those that restricted the practice and that expanded background checks and assault weapons bans are ineffective. An Obama-backed CDC study also confirmed what gun owners already knew, that firearms are an effective, important deterrent to crime.

So why is there such a disconnect between the facts and what people believe? Whether you blame sensationalized news coverage of shootings or a coordinated anti-gun movement, the statistics are quite alarming.

This story highlights a problem with the average American, and in turn the average voter. We are far too quick to believe what we hear on the news. Sometimes we do it because it fits with an idea we already believe. Other times we are just too busy or lazy.

Whatever the reason, in today’s world, where a Google search for the facts takes just five seconds on our phones, it should be unacceptable to remain ignorant on any subject.

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