NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action released the following statements after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today published new annual data on crime and gun violence in the U.S. in 2021. The FBI’s new report shows that gun violence once again accounted for the clear majority of American murders as defined by the FBI. While the data released today is incomplete, with many of the country’s law enforcement agencies still not yet reporting data to the new National Incident-Based Reporting System, the report as released highlights a continued rise in homicides—especially those involving guns—while most other crime types are stabilizing or declining, emphasizing the crucial need for stronger gun safety laws that protect communities from gun violence.
“Today’s numbers are yet another reminder that you can’t talk about rising homicides without talking about rising gun violence, and that’s especially true in states where gun lobby politicians are weakening gun laws,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “It’s time for lawmakers who take their marching orders from the gun lobby to listen to law enforcement and pass common-sense laws to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”
“The continued rise in homicides is being fueled by gun violence, which is caused by lax gun laws,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “It’s a deadly cycle: elected officials backed by the gun industry gut gun safety laws, watch gun violence increase, and then in response, gut gun safety laws even further. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, that’s exactly what extremist lawmakers are doing when it comes to violent crime.”
The new report shows while most violent crime decreased from 2020 to 2021, murders increased an estimated 4 percent, and guns played a key role, with firearm murder specifically increasing by an estimated 6 percent. This is the FBI’s first year of fully transitioning from summary statistics (SRS) to incident-based ones (NIBRS). In effect, only about 60% of police departments have made this shift yet, with several major cities like NYC, LA, and Baltimore being excluded from the dataset, making it particularly difficult to reliably estimate state and national trends.
Research shows that strong gun safety laws save lives and states with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. In many states with some of the highest rates of crimes, instead of taking direct action to address the major driver of violent crime, lawmakers have passed dangerous policies to weaken concealed carry permitting systems by passing permitless carry and arming teachers in classrooms. By passing these policies, state lawmakers are not only refusing to pass common-sense gun violence prevention measures, but instead are actively weakening existing gun safety laws to make it easier for individuals with dangerous histories to get and carry firearms.
Every day, 110 people are shot and killed and hundreds more are wounded by guns in the U.S. Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens. Gun violence costs the United States $557.2 billion each year, of which $12.6 billion is paid by taxpayers. Learn more about gun violence here.