(CNSNews.com) – When Taya Kyle, widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, asked President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting on gun control in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, why he doesn’t celebrate the fact that the overall murder rate is at an all-time low, the president admitted that violent crime has been dropping “steadily” for a long time.
“The fact of the matter is, is that violent crime has been steadily declining across America for a pretty long time, and you wouldn’t always know it by watching television, but overall, most cities are much safer than they were 10 years ago or 20 years ago,” the president said during CNN’s town hall event at George Mason University.
Kyle, whose husband was the subject of the movie “American Sniper” and was later murdered in a fatal shooting in the U.S., said, “We’re at an all-time low for a murder rate. That’s a big deal, and yet I think most of us in this country feel like it could happen at any moment. It could happen to any of us at any time.”
“When you talk about the NRA and after a mass shooting that gun sales go up, I would argue that it’s not necessarily that I think that somebody’s going to come take my gun from me, but I want the hope and the hope that I have the right to protect myself, that I don’t end up to be one of these families, that I have the freedom to carry whatever weapon I feel I need,” she said.
“Just like your wife said on that farm road … The sheriffs aren’t going to get to my house either, and I understand that background checks aren’t necessarily going to stop me from getting a gun, but I also know that they wouldn’t have stopped any of the people here in this room from killing, and so it seems like almost a false sense of hope, so why not celebrate where we are?” Kyle asked.
“I guess that’s my real question is celebrate that we’re good people and 99.9 percent of us are never going to kill anyone,” she added.
The president first thanked Kyle for her husband’s service in the U.S. military. “First of all, thanks to your husband for his service, and thank you for your service, because extraordinary heroism that he and your family have shown in protecting all of us, and I’m very grateful for that,” Obama said.
“Number two, what you said about murder rates and violent crime generally is something that we don’t celebrate enough. The fact of the matter is, is that violent crime has been steadily declining across America for a pretty long time, and you wouldn’t always know it by watching television, but overall, most cities are much safer than they were 10 years ago or 20 years ago,” he said.
“Now, I challenge the notion that the reason for that is because there’s more gun ownership, because if you look at where are the areas with the highest gun ownership, those are the places in some cases where the crime hasn’t dropped down that much,” Obama said, “and the places where there’s pretty stiff restrictions on gun ownership, in some of those places the crimes dropped really quickly, so I’m not sure if there’s a one-to-one correlation there.”