The New York Times Provides a Handy Tool to Help Decide if You Should Own a Gun for Self-Defense

New York Times gun violence tracking map
Courtesy New York Times

Leave it to the helpful journalists of The New York Times to be ever-thinking about ways to keep their readers informed and involved. The old Gray Lady published an online, interactive tool to demonstrate to readers how important self-defense is, especially in the home.

The New York Times published an article headlined, “This Is How Close We Live to Gun Violence.” The article showed the in-depth work by the Times’ researchers to map every homicide committed by a murderer criminally misusing a firearm in the United States since 2020. The Times drew a quarter-mile circle around each crime scene to then estimate how many people lived near those horrendous crimes.

The New York Times calculated that 47 million Americans – 8.7 million more than pre-pandemic – live within a quarter mile of these crime scenes. The report didn’t account for the spike in criminal activity during and post-pandemic years and it didn’t overlay the “Defund the Police” policies of progressive politicians and prosecutors who decided to go soft on crime. It did, however, provide a convenient list of the cities with the staggering percentages of those who live close to a murder scene.

Narrative Before Facts

An accompanying article clutched the collective pearls in the Times’ newsroom, interviewing emergency room doctors who are left to treat the victims of crime and attempt to save lives because of criminals allowed to run amok. It implies that the growing number of law-abiding gun owners is somehow responsible for the criminal misuse of firearms, the unlawful killing of others and overall lack of humanity displayed by criminals.

The Times’ even wrote, “A rise in gun ownership made it more likely for violent disputes to become deadly.” However, they failed to demonstrate how lawful gun ownership drives criminal activities – much less murder.

The Times attempted to tie murder rates, which are slowly falling, to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), giving the gun control group Giffords Law Center ink to credit gun control laws for reducing murders. The Times glancingly wrote about policing, but mostly in a way that was portrayed as a burden on communities.

The authors didn’t seriously address the detrimental effects of yanking thousands of police off the beat, reducing patrols, releasing criminals without bail or failing to prosecute criminals, only to have them repeat or commit more serious crimes. For the authors, law-abiding gun owners are the problem. The readers just needed to trust their narrative.

But the authors never proved their premise. They couldn’t show a definitive link between law-abiding gun owners and criminal activity – much less murders…because there isn’t one. There is no causation — or even correlation — between law-abiding gun ownership and shocking crime rates in urban communities across America.

In fact, Shooting News Weekly highlighted that while the data isn’t perfect, there’s evidence of “a slight negative correlation between murder rates and gun ownership.”

“Say what you will — and the gun banners certainly will — but the data doesn’t show a correlation of gun ownership and murder rates,” wrote Rob Morse, the post’s author. “We also see a number of countries in the data with very low rates of gun ownership and frighteningly high murder rates. We also see countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates.”

He added that the conflation of lawful gun ownership with murder isn’t accidental.

“I’m a retired engineer, not criminologist or a sociologist. I spent an hour putting this data together,” Morse explained. “If I can figure out that civilian gun ownership has an insignificant effect on the murder rates in various countries, then so did the researchers who are paid by anti-gun billionaires. This data is out there for anyone to see. They’ve seen it and it means they lied to please the people who are paying them.”

That study wasn’t the only one to arrive at the conclusion that the availability of firearms to law-abiding owners isn’t the driver of crime and murder. Gun Facts found similar results when they examined their own data.

There’s a Link, Just Not to What They Think

There is, though, a causation and correlation that goes in the opposite direction. As crime runs unabated, more Americans increasingly choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. They refuse to be willing victims, even when “progressive” policies force police departments to issue warnings to the public to just be nice to the criminal who’s threatening your life.

Background checks for firearm sales at retail skyrocketed in 2020 to over 21.5 million. They rose from 13.2 million in 2019. The kick-off of the buying frenzy started in March of 2020, the same month that pandemic lockdowns were ordered and police began pulling back community contact for concerns over the contagion.

It was also during that time that jails were emptied. That summer, violent protests erupted across America. Those weren’t confined to one city, one state or even one region. It was a nationwide phenomenon. Despite media pitching the riots as “mostly peaceful,” they were highly destructive. Politicians blamed the police and slashed their budgets. It was all made worse by rogue prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals to account.

asian man gun store GLOCK pistol
Brian Xia, 44, picks up his gun at a gun store in Arcadia, Calif. Sunday, March 15, 2020. Xia who is a first-time gun buyer, says he buys the gun for protecting himself and his family. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The result: crime skyrocketed. The second-order effect was law-abiding gun owners bought more guns to protect themselves. A lot more. Many were first-time gun buyers from all backgrounds. And it didn’t stop with the 21.5 million background checks for gun sales in 2020. There were another 18.5 million in 2021, 16.4 million in 2022 and 15.8 million in 2023.

Helping to Decide Gun Ownership

The good news is The New York Times has provided a helpful interactive tool for law-abiding citizens to decide if now’s the time to invest in personal defense. Plugging in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., shows that there were at least 794 fatal shootings from 2020-2023. It’s a good thing President Joe Biden has Secret Service protection.

For those who don’t have 24-hour top-notch trained security at their disposal, this could be a practical tool to decide if it’s time to invest in a self-defense firearm. After all, in Washington, D.C., the city’s District Attorney General Brian Schwalb said, “We as a city and a community need to be much more focused on prevention…if we want to be safer in the long run. We cannot prosecute and arrest our way out of it.”

For those who might live in locations that see far less violent crime and murders, places like Bangs, Texas, where there were no fatal shootings between 2020-2023, it could still be helpful. Chances are, though, most residents in Bangs likely already live in the home of a law-abiding gun owner.

Becoming a law-abiding gun owner might let the community – and The New York Times – know that those who obey the law and own guns aren’t the problem. It’s the criminals.


Mark Oliva is the Managing Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 

9 Responses

  1. LOL

    Take these maps and overlap with census, particularly demographic, data. The obvious will become even more obvious.

    1. Johnny,

      It would be nice if we could have an honest discussion about this issue. The Leftists are always claiming that wipipo refuse to have an “honest conversation about race”, and I find it amusing that they will not allow an honest conversation about the demographics of criminality. Strange, that.

      1. Never will and no surprise really. Commies (or whatever you want to call them as there are all kinds of labels that fit) just want people disarmed especially those who tend to not support totalitarian regimes let alone slavery by whatever form they wish to engage in.

      2. Saying they want to have a conversation about something is code for let’s change the subject. Pick a subject, any subject. All they do is lie about it.

        Let’s pick the border. They’re mainly telling two types of lies about it. It’s designed to appeal to two groups of people with plenty of overlap. For the young and/or white guilty liberal crowd that mostly gets their info from social media, they say that closed borders and refusing illegals would be racist. Then, for the boomer crowd that still watches television, and still thinks they support America, they say they’d love to fix the border situation, but the mean Republicans won’t let them. Neither of those lies make sense, especially when you combine them. If illegally importing the world’s poor is a wonderful thing, then why aren’t they bragging about it every second of every day?

        The information is readily available to figure out what’s going on. So why can’t people figure it out? Yuri Bezmenov was right. This is the “great brainwashing” that he described.

        1. His interview and the books written on it should be required reading for high school. It really drives home how easily 1984, Brave New World, or our retarded combination of both are so easily accomplished with the right methods.

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