The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee made a stop in New York City this week, in order to “examine how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.” As witnesses, the hearing featured the family members of victims of gun violence in New York, as well as other victims of Bragg’s soft on crime approach.

House Democrats did their best to smear their Republican colleagues as attempting to pull off a stunt to distract from the indictment of former President Donald Trump. At times, they called the witnesses props, and accused the Republicans of not caring about crime and violence because if they did, they would support Democratic efforts to enact gun control.

“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death of children in America and kills 40,000 Americans a year, and my colleagues vote repeatedly against even the most common sense gun violence prevention measures,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) during the hearing.

But invoking gun control measures at a hearing about crime is gaslighting at its best, as was the invocation of the statistic that gun violence kills 40,000 children a year. A closer look at that statistic shows that it is Democrats who are failing most of those kids, not Republicans.

The numbers come from a new report out of the Pew Research Center, which found that gun deaths among children have risen by 50 percent in just two years. The report analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and revealed that in 2022 alone, there were over 2,500 gun deaths among children aged 0-17. This marks a significant increase from 2019, when there were just over 1,700 gun deaths.

The report found that homicides were the largest category of gun deaths among children in 2021, making up 60 percent of the total, followed by suicide, which made up 32 percent. Accidental gun deaths accounted for five percent.

But gun deaths by homicide and gun deaths by suicide were not evenly distributed among from different communities. The report found that Black children were five times as likely as white kids to die from gunfire. Forty-six percent of gun deaths involved Black victims, though they account for just 14 percent of the U.S. population. Meanwhile, white kids were more likely to die by suicide.

And unfortunately, given what we know about this data, gun control restrictions are not likely to make a big impact in putting an end to these deaths, for the simple fact that most of those shooting children and teens are doing so with illegally-obtained firearms.

Those arguing for more gun control measures cannot adequately explain how these laws would save lives. Criminals who engage in violence do not obey laws, so simply passing more laws will not necessarily prevent gun violence. The vast majority of criminals commit their crimes using firearms that they obtained illegally. More restrictions on lawful gun owners will do nothing to address this issue, though it may endanger people who would otherwise be able to protect themselves.

People like Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who made headlines after getting into a shouting match with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) over gun control, love to scream about how the government needs to limit gun ownership as a means of curbing gun violence. Yet, in Bowman’s own district, gun crimes have risen considerably despite New York having some of the strictest gun laws.

After suicide, most gun violence is gang-related, a problem that’s complex and requires a multifaceted approach that addresses root causes such as poverty, substandard education, and a lack of opportunities, as well as better, more effective, and more consistent policing. And making it more difficult for law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms will not address this problem. It will only endanger them.

Research shows that the overwhelming majority of defensive gun uses are never reported to law enforcement or the media; a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there are up to 3 million defensive gun uses per year in the United States.

gun violence
Family of Johnny Gaston, who was recently murdered, attend a House Judiciary Committee field hearing on violent crime in New York on April 17, 2023 at the Javits Federal Building in New York City. Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has been a leading critic of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg since he announced that a grand jury had indicted former president Donald Trump in an alleged hush money scheme to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels before the presidential election in 2016. Bragg has criticized the congressional inquiry as unconstitutional.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

These statistics demonstrate that guns can play an important role in self-defense and personal protection. It could also enable adults to defend their children from gun violence.

The numbers coming from the Pew Research Center study should be disturbing to any American of conscience. But the bottom line is that targeting lawful gun owners will not make a dent in the number of gun homicides among children and teens. Addressing the root issues that lead to more violent crime, along with dealing with the issue of illegally-obtained guns, will save more lives. The question is: When will our politicians get on board?

Jeff Charles is the host of “A Fresh Perspective” podcast and a contributor for RedState and Liberty Nation.

The views in this article are the writer’s own.