(NaturalNews) Information is a powerful tool, which is one reason why politicians, pundits and those who own and operate the corporate media try to use it - or subdue it, depending on their agendas - to try to influence the masses.
One issue in which information is serially manipulated is the issue of gun control, once again at the forefront of public policy following a series of tragic mass murders, though such instances are extremely rare.
Yes, extremely rare. But if you don't want to take our word for it, that's okay. You can take the FBI's word for it.
Despite all of the headlines of carnage, you might be surprised to know that, since 1992 there has been a 50-percent reduction in the violent crime and murder rate in the United States? Fifty percent - and again, those come from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not some think tank, journalist or politician with an itinerary.
What's even more notable, say experts, is that the crime rate has continued to fall despite the Great Recession of the past few years.
"This is actually a pretty significant drop, which is fascinating because we'd normally expect crime to go up when we're in an economic downturn," said Gary LaFree, a criminology professor at the University of Maryland, in an interview with NBC News.
By the numbers
In 1992, the violent crime rate was 757.7 per 100,000 people, with a murder rate of 9.3 per 100,000; by 2011, the violent crime rate had fallen to 386.3 per 100,000 with a murder rate of just 4.7 per 100,000.
By any measure this is a huge success story. But why aren't our political leaders, pundits and corporate media talking more about it?
We offer one possible answer: The same period of time coincides with a dramatic rise in concealed carry laws and other laws designed to tear down old gun control statutes.
Is that a coincidence?
"The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world - by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides among advanced countries," says FactCheck.org. "And yet, gun crime has been declining in the U.S. Firearm murders are down, as is overall gun violence - even as gun ownership increases."
"The facts are that every time guns have been allowed - conceal-carry (gun laws) have been allowed - the crime rate has gone down," said Rep. Louis Gomert (R-Texas) on Dec. 16.
Is he right, or is he just posturing?
Allowing concealed carry 'reduces violent crimes'
"The answer is, the Congressman is factually correct," said Carlisle Moody, economics professor at William & Mary, in an interview with FactCheck.org. And while the data might a little more difficult to pull together, Moody said, "my personal opinion is that it probably does cause crime to decline somewhat. Almost certainly, it does not harm on a net basis."
The foremost expert on the subject, economist John Lott, whose book, More Guns, Less Crime, concluded, "[a]llowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crimes, and the reductions coincide very closely with the number of concealed-handgun permits issued."
He writes that the result of his research "clearly imply that nondiscretionary [concealed carry] laws coincide with fewer murders, aggravated assaults, and rapes," and he contends "[w]hen state concealed-handgun laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by about 8 percent, rapes fell by 5 percent, and aggravated assaults fell by 7 percent."
Naysayers have repeatedly tried to refute Lott's work and his conclusions, but the cold, hard facts - the FBI's own statistics - seem to bear out his words: that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens, for the purpose of self-defense and to protect others, help keep crime rates lower.