Study: Counties with Highest Murder Rates Among Lowest in Gun Ownership

Handguns fill a display case at Red's Trading Post Feb. 12, 2008, in Twin Falls, Idaho. Th
AP/Elaine Thompson

A study conducted by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) shows that U.S. counties with the highest murder rates are among those with the lowest rates of gun ownership.

In other words, fewer firearms correlate with more murder.

On May 2, 2017, Breitbart News reported that the study shows that 2% of U.S. counties account for 51% of U.S. murders. Moreover, the CPRC study found that “the worst 5% of counties,” which only “contain 47% of the population,” are home to 68% of murders in the United States.

Writing in Real Clear Policy, CPRC’s John Lott explains that even within the deadliest of counties, there are areas where murders rarely occur. The contrast between deadly and not-so-deadly is found in the divide between the most urban parts of the worst counties and the more suburban areas. For example, Los Angeles County, which led the CPRC study with “526 murders in 2014,” had “virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county.” There was “only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys,” for a total of three out of the county’s overall 562 murders.

This is a microcosm of what is seen throughout the country, inasmuch as the urban settings are where the vast number of murders are occurring. The irony is that the number of privately owned guns is far higher outside of urban settings. This fact alone would turn gun control arguments on their head if the gun control lobby would abide by empirical evidence.

Breitbart News spoke with Lott about the findings and the way those findings undercut so many of the gun control lobby’s claims. Lott said, “It is striking how 54% of the counties in the U.S. have zero murders and also, by far, the highest gun ownership rates. There are lots of things that affect murder rates, but for those claiming that gun control is the solution, the fact that there are zero murders in these counties is hard to ignore. The 2% of the counties with over half the murders also have very low gun ownership rates.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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