Fox News is emphasizing the decline in violent crime and murder rates since the 1990s to oppose calls for laws to prevent gun violence. But recent reporting indicates that the number of gunshot wounds has actually increased in recent years and that the lower homicide rate is partly due to improved care for gunshot victims.
Fox News Pushes Drop In Violent Crime, Murder Rates To Oppose Stronger Gun Laws
Fox's Bolling: The Number Of Firearms Went Up While Crime Decreased, So “You Cannot Say Guns Cause Violent Crimes Or Murders.” On the January 10 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling tried to refute the idea that “the reason for the violent crimes and murders is guns” by pointing to FBI data that show the violent crime and murder rates in the U.S. have decreased 49 percent since 1992, while the number of firearms in America increased by 61 percent over the same period.
The following graphic aired as Bolling spoke:
Bolling concluded, “So, the number of firearms went up, and the violent crimes and murders have gone down. You cannot say guns cause violent crimes or murders.” [Fox News, The Five, 1/11/13]
Fox & Friends Points To Drop In Violent Crime And Murder Rates To Oppose Gun Control. On the January 11 edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts discussed the National Rifle Association's (NRA) January 10 meeting with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss laws that would reduce gun violence. Co-host Steve Doocy hyped the NRA's assertion that there are already “plenty of gun laws in this country” that are not being enforced and later said there are “so many people worried that the government's coming after their guns.” Guest host Alisyn Camerota said that over the past two decades, “gun violence and violent crime has gone down in this country, significantly. ... Yet the rate of gun purchases and who owns guns is up.” A graphic similar to the one on The Five aired as Camerota spoke. Guest host Eric Bolling concluded that “as more guns are entering our society, the violent crime rates are going down” and said of Fox's graphic, “If you want a pro-gun advocate full-screen, just keep playing that one.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/11/13]
But Decrease In Homicides Masks Increase In Gunshot Attacks
WSJ: “More People In The U.S. Are Getting Shot, But Doctors Have Gotten Better At Patching Them Up.” A December 8 Wall Street Journal article noted that "[t]he number of U.S. homicides has been falling for two decades, but America has become no less violent." The article noted that the “reported number of people treated for gunshot attacks from 2001 to 2011 has grown by nearly half” and went on to quote Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, as saying, “The potential for a victim to survive a wound is greater than it was 15 years ago.”
The article continued:
In other words, more people in the U.S. are getting shot, but doctors have gotten better at patching them up. Improved medical care doesn't account for the entire decline in homicides but experts say it is a major factor.
Emergency-room physicians who treat victims of gunshot and knife attacks say more people survive because of the spread of hospital trauma centers -- which specialize in treating severe injuries -- the increased use of helicopters to ferry patients, better training of first-responders and lessons gleaned from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Our experience is we are saving many more people we didn't save even 10 years ago,” said C. William Schwab, director of the Firearm and Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the professor of surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
The article also featured a graphic showing the increase in gunshot and stab wounds from 2007 to 2010 alongside the decline in fatalities from those wounds:
[The Wall Street Journal, 12/8/12]