In a scathing critique of ABC's recent report "Young Guns," Dana Loesch stated
that most gun deaths were the result of gang violence; therefore,
America has a gang problem, not a gun problem. Her claim appears to be
supported by sites
positing that "a staggering 80 percent of gun homicides are
gang-related." As it turns out though, not only is her statement
factually incorrect, as the majority of gun deaths are suicides, but there is not a shred of evidence to support her characterization that gangs are the driving force behind firearm violence.
Unfortunately, Dana Loesch's sentiment is shared by many gun
advocates, including the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle
Association, Wayne LaPierre, who, when opposing firearm background
"President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang
problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to
blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers."
So, do we have a gang problem or a gun problem? Data
collected by the National Gang Center, the government agency
responsible for cataloging gang violence, makes clear that it's the
latter. There were 1,824 gang-related killings in 2011. This total
includes deaths by means other than a gun. The Bureau of Justice
Statistics finds this number to be even lower, identifying a little more than 1,000 gang-related homicides in 2008. In comparison, there were 11,101 homicides and 19,766 suicides committed with firearms in 2011.