In one of the most fiery interviews one might ever see, Alex Jones made many loudly-delivered claims to Piers Morgan, most of which were backed by little to no real world evidence. But the claim that most caught my attention was the following:
I have FBI crime statistics that come out a year late. 2011: 20 plus percent crime drop in the last nine years, real violent crime because more guns means less crime. (emphasis added)
Now, in the world of science, when you make the claim that more of something means less of something else, you are stating a direct relationship exists between the two factors. In this case, we have to surmise that more guns has to mean more people own guns over this same period of time. In other words, it is does not satisfy Jones’ claim of a true relationship to say more guns as a whole, within the geographical borders of the United States, are the reason for the crime drop. It has to be shown more people have chosen to change their status in polls from non-gun owner to gun owner along with the drop in crime in order for a reasonable relationship to be established and to truly back Jones’ claim.
Jones also states the statistics are readily available on his website proving this statement. The strangest part about the article on his site is the graph to the right included as a piece of “evidence”. In all fairness, this chart doesn’t really include data for the nine years Jones mentioned in the interview. But an elementary look at the chart shows us about thirty years of data on guns and crime and roughly 25 of those 30 years shows virtually no relationship. In fact, we can see that crime peaked twice while the guns were steadily increasing. This shows absolutely no relationship whatsoever between total guns and a drop in crime.
(If you want a much more rigorously researched and summarized reason for the drop in crime since the mid-nineties, I recommend the crime chapter in “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything“. People may not like the results but that doesn’t make it any less true.)
But Jones’ claim was about the last nine years and, again, we would need to see an increase in total people owning guns during that period to truly have a relationship. If only we had a another chart showing, say, households that owned a gun over an extended period of time…
Oh, there it is. Thank you, Gallup polling data. And, as we can all see in plain sight, gun ownership was pretty steady over the time period in question. In short, there is simply no truth to Jones’ claim that gun ownership has anything to do with the drop in violent crime over the last nine years.
Not that we need to spend too much time refuting the wild accusations of a crazed conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones. But plenty of people will believe his falsehoods and they should be pointed out for what they are: the bogus claims of someone too hot headed to see the truth.