In his Buffalo, New York speech last week following a mass shooting, President Biden showed he still has only two things on his mind regarding crime: guns and white supremacists.
No one can defend white supremacists. But with violent crime soaring and this latest attack in Buffalo, people want something done. Yet Biden’s agenda won’t make people safer.
“Look, we’ve seen the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas; in Pittsburgh. Last year in Atlanta. This week in Dallas, Texas, and now in Buffalo. In Buffalo, New York,” Biden said. “White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison. It really is. Running through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. I mean, no more.”
Of the 82 mass public shootings from January 1998 to May 2021, 9 percent have known or alleged ties to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or anti-immigrant views. Many of the anti-immigrant attackers, such as the Buffalo murderer, hold decidedly environmentalist views that are more in line with the Democrat agenda.
Other groups commit mass public shootings disproportionately more than whites do. While non-Middle Eastern whites make up about 64 percent of the population, they make up 58 percent of the mass public shooters. Another 9 percent are carried out by people of Middle Eastern origin, who make up only 0.4 percent of the country’s population. That makes Middle Easterners the most likely ethnic or racial group to carry out mass public shootings.
Blacks, Asians, and American Indians also commit these attacks at a slightly higher rate than their share of the population. Hispanics commit them at much lower rates (11 percent lower) than their share of the population.
Seventy-one percent of mass public shooters have no identifiable political views. But you would never know this from watching TV police dramas or listening to Biden’s constant claim that white supremacists pose the biggest threat of domestic terrorism.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed in testimony in April that white supremacy is the top terrorism-related threat to the homeland. But when pressed, Mayorkas couldn’t name a single white supremacy case that his department referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution.
White supremacists with guns are not the threat that our government would have us believe. It’s not just that white supremacy is rare. So too are gun crimes. The number of gun crimes has been falling dramatically, and they now make up less than 8 percent of violent crimes in America. Yet we constantly hear the opposite from politicians who support gun restrictions.
“We can keep assault weapons off our streets. We’ve done it before. I did it when I passed the crime bill last time, and violence went down, shootings went down,” Biden falsely claimed in Buffalo. “We can’t prevent people from being radicalized to violence, but we can address the relentless exploitation of the internet to recruit and mobilize terrorism. We just need to have the courage to do that, to stand up.”
Biden’s focus on guns, and particularly assault weapons, is misplaced. Last Tuesday, Biden again bragged about how wonderful his 1994 assault weapon ban was in stopping mass public shootings, but even studies paid for by the Clinton administration couldn’t find evidence of its effectiveness.
If the federal assault weapons ban really drove the changes in the rate of mass public shootings, attacks with assault weapons should have become less common during the ban. Then they should have become more common, at least as a share of total shootings, after the ban ended in 2004.
But that isn’t what happened. Comparing the ten years before 1994 to the ten years after, we find that the percentage of mass public shootings with assault weapons rose slightly when the ban was in effect (going from 22.2 percent to 23.5 percent) and then fell in the ten years after the ban ended (23.5 percent to 18.2 percent).
Biden’s “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact: More than 92 percent of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms. In addition, although Biden blames guns for the increase in violent crime, the latest data show that gun crimes fell dramatically.
A new McLaughlin and Associates survey of 1,000 likely voters from April 20 to 26th for the Crime Prevention Research Center shows how misinformed people are. People across the country, of all races and incomes, have wildly inaccurate beliefs about how frequently violent crime involves guns.
The average likely American voter is way off, thinking that more than 46 percent of violent crimes involve guns. The people who had the most inaccurate views that the rate of violent crime with guns was the highest were the ones who most strongly supported gun control.
It might not be easy to accept, but based on the evidence, focusing solely on guns and white supremacy isn’t a wise use of resources.