Listening to the latest media chatter, one could get the impression that murder in the US is historically bad and getting worse. As the Reverend Al Sharpton put it, "The time for their talk is over. Now's the time for action, and real change on gun control."
Actually, now would seem to be a very bad time for such action. The reason is simple: the murder rate is historically low and is already trending downward. In fact, the murder rate in 2011 was the lowest since 1961: 4.7 murders per 100,000 people. In only 5 years since 1910 has it been lower: 1955-59, when it was only slightly lower at 4.5 or 4.6.