Just after statistics released Monday afternoon showed the United States suffered through the largest murder increase in decades during 2020, Minnesota’s Rep. Betty McCollum ignored the carnage and went directly to her partisan corner to blame “guns” and Republicans.
It's clear: more guns = more violence. While Trump & GOP pushed the narrative that more guns makes us safer, the last year of the Trump admin saw the largest 1-year increase in gun-related homicides, with more guns on our streets than ever. #EndGunViolence https://t.co/2xP2URH7Sl
— Rep. Betty McCollum (@BettyMcCollum04) September 27, 2021
Her district in St. Paul experienced a 25% increase in violent crimes and 15% percent rise in property crimes last year, with the most significant increase in gun ownership among black people, who do not feel safe in cities run by Democrats like McCollum.
Gun sales increased 40% during the pandemic to a record 40 million in 2020. It’s also noteworthy that nearly a quarter of all murders last year were not committed with a gun.
Any analysis of rising violent crime rates in 2020 should begin with the ongoing once-in-a-century pandemic. As millions of Americans were confined by the lockdown, sharp increases in drug overdoses, domestic violence, and murder followed.
But the court systems also ground to a halt during the pandemic, allowing lower level criminals to be released, rather than held, prosecuted, and processed. Many of them returned to violence once back on the streets.
It is also undeniable that anti-police legislation and rhetoric, accompanied by last summer’s George Floyd riots, led to more violence. The spike in murders across America occurred mostly during the latter half of 2020 — after the aforementioned anti-police riots.
“There’s a sense that, especially in large cities, we are not trusted or respected by the public,” a Kansas City police officer to Alpha News Tuesday. “We are down so many men since last year. Weakening law enforcement emboldens criminals. It’s pretty simple. I don’t know who will do this job any more.”
The New York City Police Department shrank by about 2,500 officers in 2020. Minneapolis is down several hundred officers.
The Biden administration responded by releasing a “comprehensive strategy” to combat gun crime this summer, aiming to crack down on gun dealers and allowing cities with a surge in gun violence to use “American Rescue Plan” funds to hire more law enforcement.
Despite a new president and his policies, the murder rate has continued to rise in 2021, though slower than last year.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.