Busting the "Gun Control Equals Less Crime" Myth
2. Fact: Gun control has done nothing to keep crime rates from rising in many of the nations that have imposed severe firearms restrictions.
* Australia: Readers of the USA Today newspaper discovered in 2002 that, "Since Australia's 1996 laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24% and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%."(2)
* Canada: After enacting stringent gun control laws in 1991 and 1995, Canada has not made its citizens any safer. "The contrast between the criminal violence rates in the United States and in Canada is dramatic," says Canadian criminologist Gary Mauser in 2003. "Over the past decade, the rate of violent crime in Canada has increased while in the United States the violent crime rate has plummeted."(3)
* England: According to the BBC News, handgun crime in the United Kingdom rose by 40% in the two years after it passed its draconian gun ban in 1997.(4)
* Japan: One newspaper headline says it all: Police say "Crime rising in Japan, while arrests at record low."(5)
3. Fact: British citizens are now more likely to become a victim of crime than are people in the United States:
* In 1998, a study conducted jointly by statisticians from the U.S. Department of Justice and the University of Cambridge in England found that most crime is now worse in England than in the United States.(6)
* "You are more likely to be mugged in England than in the United States," stated the Reuters news agency in summarizing the study. "The rate of robbery is now 1.4 times higher in England and Wales than in the United States, and the British burglary rate is nearly double America's."6 The murder rate in the United States is reportedly higher than in England, but according to the DOJ study, "the difference between the [murder rates in the] two countries has narrowed over the past 16 years."(7)
* The United Nations confirmed these results in 2000 when it reported that the crime rate in England is higher than the crime rates of 16 other industrialized nations, including the United States.(8)
4. Fact: British authorities routinely underreport crime statistics. Comparing statistics between different nations can be quite difficult since foreign officials frequently use different standards in compiling crime statistics.
* The British media has remained quite critical of authorities there for "fiddling" with crime data. Consider some of the headlines in their papers: "Crime figures a sham, say police,"910 and "Police figures under-record offences by 20 percent."(11) "Police are accused of fiddling crime data,"
* British police have also criticized the system because of the "widespread manipulation" of crime data:
a. "Officers said that pressure to convince the public that police were winning the fight against crime had resulted in a long list of ruses to 'massage' statistics."(12)
b. Sgt. Mike Bennett says officers have become increasingly frustrated with the practice of manipulating statistics. "The crime figures are meaningless," he said. "Police everywhere know exactly what is going on."(13)
c. According to The Electronic Telegraph, "Officers said the recorded level of crime bore no resemblance to the actual amount of crime being committed."(14)
* Underreporting crime data: "One former Scotland Yard officer told The Telegraph of a series of tricks that rendered crime figures 'a complete sham.' A classic example, he said, was where a series of homes in a block flats were burgled and were regularly recorded as one crime. Another involved pickpocketing, which was not recorded as a crime unless the victim had actually seen the item being stolen."(15)
* Underreporting murder data: British crime reporting tactics keep murder rates artificially low. "Suppose that three men kill a woman during an argument outside a bar. They are arrested for murder, but because of problems with identification (the main witness is dead), charges are eventually dropped. In American crime statistics, the event counts as a three-person homicide, but in British statistics it counts as nothing at all. 'With such differences in reporting criteria, comparisons of U.S. homicide rates with British homicide rates is a sham,' [a 2000 report from the Inspectorate of Constabulary] concludes."(16)
5. Fact: Many nations with stricter gun control laws have violence rates that are equal to, or greater than, that of the United States. Consider the following rates:
6. Fact: The United States has experienced far fewer TOTAL MURDERS than Europe does over the last 70 years. In trying to claim that gun-free Europe is more peaceful than America, gun control advocates routinely ignore the overwhelming number of murders that have been committed in Europe.
* Over the last 70 years, Europe has averaged about 400,000 murders per year, when one includes the murders committed by governments against mostly unarmed people.(17) That murder rate is about 16 times higher than the murder rate in the U.S.(18)
* Why hasn't the United States experienced this kind of government oppression? Many reasons could be cited, but the Founding Fathers indicated that an armed populace was the best way of preventing official brutality. Consider the words of James Madison in Federalist 46:
"Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger . . . a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands."(19)
For a full list of references, click here.