We’ve got more than a gun problem

The AR-15 pattern rifle was first designed in the 1950s by Eugene Stoner at ArmaLite. In 1959 ArmaLite sold the design to Colt. The military version, dubbed “M-16,” was issued in March 1965. Semi-automatic versions were sold to police and civilians by Colt thereafter. The patent expired in the late 1970s. The civilian market really took off in the 1980s. By the early 2000s the AR pattern rifle was probably the most popular firearm design in all of these United States.

Keep those dates in mind as you review the tables below.

First, notice the trend line for school shootings. The guns haven’t changed during this period. The guns are not any more deadly or any more available in 2022 than in 1980.

With respect to school shootings, keep in mind that so-called “active shooter” events are exceedingly rare (of course this does not make the horror or the loss any less). There is way too much violence in and around schools, but the majority is interpersonal and not random.

Now, compare those trend lines to the rate of violent crime (all types, all circumstances).

I don’t know exactly what to make of this but I know that focusing all our “we have to do something” energy and political capital is not best directed to guns. Guns are the symptom, not the cause. These guns, these 30 round standard capacity magazines, etc. have been here all along. The guns aren’t the cause of the “sharp increase.” Our society is sick and we deserve to have better responses than Beto yelling at the Texas governor during a press conference.