If you have the misfortune to be familiar with Piers Morgan, the British former tabloid “reporter” and “talent judge” known on this side of the Atlantic as CNN’s most overbearing gun control proselytizer, you won’t be surprised at what he did on Tuesday.
It began during an interview with military history expert A.W.R. Hawkins, as Morgan pushed his theory that more gun ownership leads to more crime. Hawkins disagreed, noting that Virginia had recently experienced a significant increase in gun ownership, followed by a significant decrease in violent crime.
The insufferable Morgan then counter-claimed that, according to the FBI, no less, Virginia had the highest murder rate in the United States in 2009. Morgan’s statement would have been true only if 25 states had seceded in 2008, however, and according to the FBI’s 2009 crime report, there were still 50 states in 2009 and Virginia ranked 26thamong them in murder, with a rate 12 percent lower than the national rate.
Virginia’s more recent figures are even more impressive. According to the FBI’s 2011 crime report, from 2010 to 2011 Virginia’s murder rate dropped 20 percent, to 29th in the nation, 21 percent below the national rate. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported last year, “Gun-related violent crime in Virginia has dropped steadily over the past six years as the sale of firearms has soared to a new record. . . . The total number of firearms purchased in Virginia increased 73 percent from 2006 to 2011. . . . But the total number of gun-related violent crimes fell 24 percent over that period.”
You would think Morgan had a better handle on the question of rankings, considering that he ranks far down the list among cable news shows, behind Hannity, O’Reilly and a host of other programs.