Gun safety then and now

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "NRA's answer to gun deaths" (Opinion, Feb. 5), Donna McAleer wrote that the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights activists have "hijacked" the gun control debate by pushing over the past couple of decades for more gun ownership and fewer restrictions on the carrying of firearms.

She exhorted readers to "think about" the NRA's actions over the past few years and "ask yourself if we are safer today than we were 20 years ago?"

I thought about whether I am safer now than then. In 1991, there were 1,911,770 violent crimes in the United States, including 24,700 murders. In 2011, even with a larger population, there were 1,203,564 violent crimes and 14,612 murders.

Correlation does not equal causation; it's impossible to attribute this drop in crime to any gun law or lack thereof. But we can say with certainty that we are in fact safer now than we were 20 years ago.

Nicholas Bernard

Salt Lake City