BAKERSFIELD, CA - Gun violence has dropped dramatically over the past two decades. That's what a report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals. While homicides dropped nearly 40 percent and other gun-related crimes were cut by almost two-thirds, public perception is there is more gun violence now.
Opinions on gun control keep firing back and forth from those for and against it. While they battle it out, the Bureau of Justice reports gun crime has plunged since the mid 1990s.
The report shows the number of people killed with guns nationwide dropped 39 percent between 1993 and 2011. Gun crimes that weren't fatal fell 69 percent. And, some believe these numbers weaken the case for gun control.
"The fact is that the laws are working," said Greg Artz, a Second Amendment supporter. "So guess what? They shouldn't have to bring in more laws if what is going on is happening. They are starting to show the proof."
"I think there is going to be violence everywhere. I know it's cliché, but like everybody says, guns don't kill people, people kill people," said Monica Delgado, a Second Amendment supporter.
In a separate survey done by the Pew Research Center of 900 Americans, 56 percent thought gun crime had increased.
"I think it's more prevalent on the news than it used to be." said Beverley Richmond, who said she's seen more gun violence on television.
Pew also found the shootings in Colorado and at Sandy Hook Elementary School were among the most closely watched news stories last year.
While the number of gun-related homicides went down significantly, the Bureau of Justice found guns were used in two out of three murders in the country.
"Criminals are going to get guns. That's just the way it goes, you know. Take the gun out of the innocent guy's hand, give it to a criminal, and you've just got another victim in the waiting," said Daniel Haining, a Second Amendment supporter.
Kern County has also experienced a decline in gun-related homicides. The Sheriff's Department says in 2009, 29 people were killed with guns. In 2012, that number fell to 13.
But other crimes involving guns increased in Kern County. In 2009, there were 356 recorded. That number dropped in 2011 to 299. But last year, it went up again to 377.
Some people believe prison realignment might be to blame for the increase in non-fatal gun crimes in Kern County. But, there has been no official study to prove that.