On the first anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., NPR, “PBS NewsHour” and Marist released a poll exploring views of various approaches to gun ownership in the United States. At the end of that poll, though, was an interesting question. The pollsters asked respondents a question about a matter of fact: Did they think that the rate of gun murders in the United States was higher or lower than it had been 25 years ago?
This history was probably not immediately at hand for respondents. So how did the poll respondents view gun violence now as opposed to then? Most believed that the rate of gun murders now is higher than it was at that point. To be explicit: This is wrong. Data from the FBI breaks out reported murders by type of weapon, showing a drop in the raw count of firearm murders since a peak in 1993. (Both the Marist poll and the FBI data are predicated on “murder” as a metric, a term The Washington Post generally reserves for homicides involving a criminal conviction.) …Read the Rest