The homicide rate, regardless of where it actually falls, is often used to justify gun control. In particular, it’s murders carried out with firearms, but let’s be honest here. That’s most of them.
This fact, unfortunately, is often used by gun control advocates to justify any manner of gun control.
However, this view is awfully myopic. It’s focused on the tool itself, not the tool using it. If you remove the gun, is there any reason to believe that homicides will just suddenly stop? Of course not.
Instead, it makes more sense to look at the perpetrators of these crimes and see what we can address there. A recent study, in fact, did just that.
The report on homicides and nonfatal injury shootings in D.C. from January 2021 through December 2022 from the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) begins with the troubling topline data showing homicides rising “gradually since 2017” to a 180 percent increase by 2022 and “unlike most of the country,” having “an even higher rate of homicides in 2023.”
Also unsurprisingly, the violent criminals wreaking havoc in the nation’s capital are being emboldened by soft-on-crime so-called “progressive” policies — most homicide suspects with a rap sheet had been arrested ten times before they took a life. A not-insignificant number were also under active “community supervision” — a program in which “a defendant or convicted offender in the local community rather than in physical custody within a jail or prison.”
“Of those who were known to the criminal justice system prior to the homicide, most victims and suspects had been arrested for drug (avg. 2.7), disorder (avg. 2.0), and property (avg. 1.9) offenses,” NICJR reported. “Overall, most victims and suspects with prior criminal offenses had been arrested about 10 times for about 12 different offenses by the time of the homicide.”
In other words, it’s criminal on criminal violence and that’s where we’d do better to focus our attention rather than talking about gun control.
After all, you’re deluding yourself if you think none of those 12 offenses were likely to be a felony.
Despite that, though, they’re getting guns.
Now, granted, this is just DC, but I suspect we’d see similar factors in other urban centers as well.
We should also acknowledge that this is about averages or majorities. There will always be exceptions. There will always be the odd case of someone’s first offense being some kind of homicide.
But this holds true for the majority, which means there’s a lot of things that can be done to mitigate the rise in homicides up to and including actually prosecuting people for other crimes so they don’t get to the point of killing someone first.
It also means we should focus at least some of our efforts on rehabilitation. Punishment is a good thing, so don’t get me wrong. People who break the law deserve punishment, but that alone won’t put someone back on the straight and narrow path. There needs to be more, and if we get them on that path, we’re less likely to see them either kill someone or live the kind of life that leads to them being killed.