In the wake of record-high gun sales during the pandemic, a narrative emerged, suggesting a correlation between lawful gun ownership and an increase in violent crime. However, recent revelations point to a different pandemic-related crime surge—this time involving fraudsters diverting millions in federal aid to fund illegal activities such as gang operations, drug and weapon purchases, and more.
Debunking the Gun-Ownership-Crime Connection:
The initial hypothesis connecting increased gun sales to a surge in violent crime was debunked by a 2021 study conducted by anti-gun researchers. The study found no relationship between state-level excess gun purchasing and non-domestic firearm violence, challenging the narrative pushed by gun-grabbers. Despite this, some continued to insist that immediate booms in firearm access lead to spikes in violence.
The Pandemic Fraud and Crime Link
Contrary to the gun-related crime narrative, evidence now suggests a strong link between pandemic-related fraud and criminal activities. Federal aid, intended to support struggling businesses and the unemployed due to COVID-19, was misappropriated by criminals to finance gang operations, drug and weapon transactions, and more. This surge in fraudulent activities, rather than lawful gun ownership, appears to be a contributing factor to the reported upticks in crime.
Maryland’s Crime-Fraud Correlation:
In Maryland, where defendants in COVID-19 CARES Act fraud cases were found to possess illegal firearms, the U.S. Attorney observed a direct correlation between violent crime and fraud. Notably, 60% of violent criminals were involved in some form of pandemic-related fraud. This revelation prompted investigative efforts, resulting in a significant reduction in violent crime in Baltimore, showcasing the impact of addressing fraud on criminal activities.
Chicago’s Gangs and PPP Funds:
Chicago’s experience reflects a connection between violent crime, street gangs, and COVID fraud. Federal investigations revealed gang members using Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds to finance narcotics trafficking and gun purchases. PPP applicants, allegedly involved in street gangs, were charged with violent racketeering activity, tying fraud to criminal behavior.
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Data:
Contrary to the narrative implicating legal gun owners, data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation indicates that gun sales have consistently exceeded one million guns per month for 50 consecutive months. Despite this prolonged increase in private gun ownership, FBI crime statistics for 2022 reveal a decrease in homicides and other violent crimes (excluding carjackings) to pre-pandemic levels.