Walk on the Wild Side

Brad Harvey: Crime drops nationally in line with gun buying boom

February 26, 2014 

Gov. Nikki Haley recently signed legislation that expands upon our Second Amendment rights by allowing those possessing a concealed weapons permit to carry into restaurants and bars that serve alcohol.

It also frees up the process of obtaining the permit, making it more accessible to law abiding residents. And much debate has taken place about whether having more guns in the hands of the public makes sense.

News from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, seems to back the idea.

Recently, the FBI released its Preliminary Semi-annual Uniform Crime Report for the first half of 2013 which shows that all offenses in the violent crimes category, including murder, rape, assault and robbery, fell significantly during that period.

This drop coincided with one of the largest booms in firearms sales in history. Sales were up as the left called for stricter gun control laws and the banishment of many guns currently sold on the market.

Is this merely a coincidence? I doubt it and here’s why.

The report is compiled using data from the 12,723 law enforcement agencies in the United States and marks an across-the-board drop. Murders fell by an average of nearly 7 percent; rapes by nearly 11 percent, assaults declined 6.6 percent and robberies by right at 2 percent.

But, again, those are national averages.

In more rural settings, including towns with populations of 10,000 people or less, where gun ownership is traditionally highest, the decrease is even stronger – an overall drop of nearly 10 percent. The larger population areas where far fewer legal gun owners exist fell at an overall rate of 4.7 percent.

The FBI’s report merely provides the data and doesn’t speculate on specific causes but one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

Around 14 million background checks for the purpose of purchasing a firearm are performed in a typical year but in the first five months of 2013 more than 10 million were carried out.

According to data from the National Shooting Sports Safety Foundation, more than a quarter of those were first-time gun buyers.

Since it’s pretty easy to surmise that such decreases in violent crime wouldn’t have happened without the our president, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Harry Reid and others pushing for the ridiculous gun control laws like they did. I’d like to thank them for making us safer.

I’m guessing they’ll find some way to lay claim for dropping our crime rates now.

In a more serious manner, I’d like to thank our governor and legislators for a job well done.

DNR to perform antler measuring sessions

As they do each year, our state’s Department of Natural Resources will hold deer antler measuring sessions across the state in March as they look to add to the state’s record book for whitetail deer.

“A total of 6,168 sets of whitetail deer antlers, including 5,936 typical racks and 232 non-typical, are currently ranked on South Carolina’s all-time antler records list,” according to Charles Ruth, Deer and Wild Turkey Project supervisor for DNR.

Minimum scores for state record listings are 125 points for typical antlers and 145 points for non-typical antlers. Measurements are based on the Boone and Crockett system.

The primary objectives of this large annual undertaking are to recognize great deer taken in our state and to clearly identify those areas within our borders that produce quality deer.

Biologists can then study the habitats and deer herds of those areas more closely in an effort to come up with their future deer management recommendations.

In the past three or four years of our state records, Aiken, Anderson and Orangeburg counties have produced the best. Last year saw 246 new entries into the records, which happened to be the second highest number taken in more than the past 15 years.

Like to have your deer scored? Hunters need to provide all of the necessary documentation, including the date of kill, county taken in and paperwork proclaiming that the animal was taken under “fair chase” conditions.

If the jawbone of the animal was saved for the purpose of aging the deer, it should be brought in with the animal’s weight, if recorded.

Scoring will take place at the following locations, dates and times statewide.

2014 antler measuring sessions

•  2-8 p.m., Tuesday, March 4, Greenwood, Hunter’s Headquarters, 1845 Calhoun Road, 864-223-1911.

•  2-8 p.m, Thursday, March 6, Six Mile, Durham’s Grocery, 3210 Walhalla Highway, 864-868-2070.

•  8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, March 7, Bath, Wilson’s Taxidermy, 158 Victory Lane, 803-593-3357.

•  2-8 p.m, Monday, March 17, Spartanburg, Academy Sports, 100 Peachwood Centre Drive, 864-216-8960.

• 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, Bonneau, Dennis Wildlife Center, 305 Black Oak Road. Please call ahead, 843-825-3387.

• Noon to 8 p.m., Friday, March 28, Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, State Fairgrounds, 803-734-3886.

•  9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, March 29, Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, State Fairgrounds, 803-734-3886.

• 1:30-6 p.m., Sunday, March 30, Columbia, Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic, State Fairgrounds, 803-734-3886.

• Clemson: At DNR Office, 311 Natural Resources Drive, by appointment only during March, 864-654-1671 ext. 16.

• Columbia: At DNR office, 1000 Assembly St., by appointment only any time of year, 803-734-8738.

• Florence: At DNR office, 295 S. Evander Drive, Florence, by appointment only during March, 843-661-4768.

• Garnett: Webb Wildlife Center, 1282 Webb Ave., by appointment only during March, 803-625-3569.

• Union: At DNR Office, 124 Wildlife Drive, Union, by appointment only during March, 864-427-5140.

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or follow on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.

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