64 people were shot in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend. Where’s the outrage? “Through June, there had already been 315 homicides in Chicago this year, which is a 49% increase over the first half of last year,” writes Jason Riley in the WSJ, author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed. “The political left’s response to gun violence is typically more gun control, even though the places with the biggest problems tend to sport harsher firearms restrictions, and criminals by definition ignore laws.” The article concludes that there is no link to higher rates of gun ownership to higher rates of gun violence. In other words, guns are not the problem.
Linking higher rates of gun ownership to higher rates of gun violence is quite problematic. According to the Pew Research Center, 51% of rural residents own a firearm, versus only a quarter of city dwellers, but urban areas have much more gun violence. Similarly, only 19% of blacks and 20% of Hispanics report owning guns, versus 41% of whites, yet gun violence among blacks and Hispanics is much more common.
If the overwhelming majority of gun owners in the U.S. act responsibly, is the bigger problem the number of guns or the small minority of irresponsible owners? And if the perpetrators of gun violence are consistently concentrated among certain racial and ethnic groups, isn’t it more likely that culture—say, attitudes toward established authority in general, and officials in the criminal justice system in particular—tells us more about gun violence than the number of firearms in circulation? Alas, the answers to those questions seem to be of little interest to most liberals, even the honest ones.