Skip to comments.The Failed Experiment: Gun Control and Public Safety in Canada, Australia, England and Wales<
Posted on 02/19/2004 8:52:05 AM PST by justlurking
Widely televised firearm murders in many countries during the 20th Century have spurred politicians to introduce restrictive gun laws. The politicians then promise that the new restrictions will reduce criminal violence and ³create a safer society.² It is time to pause and ask if gun laws actually do reduce criminal violence.
Gun laws must be demonstrated to cut violent crime or gun control is no more than a hollow promise. What makes gun control so compelling for many is the belief that violent crime is driven by the availability of guns and, more importantly, that criminal violence in general may be reduced by limiting access to firearms.
In this study, I examine crime trends in Commonwealth countries that have recently introduced firearm regulations: i.e., Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. The widely ignored key to evaluating firearm regulations is to examine trends in total violent crime, not just firearms crime. Since firearms are only a small fraction of criminal violence, the public would not be safer if the new law could reduce firearm violence but had no effect on total criminal violence.
The United States provides a valuable point of comparison for assessing crime rates because the criminal justice system there differs so drastically from those in Europe and the Commonwealth. Not only are criminal penalties typically more severe in the United States, often much more severe, but also conviction and incarceration rates are usually much higher. Perhaps the most striking difference is that qualified citizens in the United States can carry concealed handguns for self-defence. During the past few decades, more than 25 states in the United States passed laws allowing responsible citizens to carry concealed handguns. In 2003, there are 35 states where citizens can get such a permit.
The upshot is that violent crime rates, and homicide rates in particular, have been falling in the United States. The drop in the American crime rate is even more impressive when compared with the rest of the world. In 18 of the 25 countries surveyed by the British Home Office, violent crime increased during the 1990s. This contrast should provoke thinking people to wonder what happened in those countries where they introduced increasingly restrictive firearm laws.
In the past 20 years, both Conservative and Labour governments have introduced restrictive firearm laws; even banning all handguns in 1997. Unfortunately, these Draconian firearm regulations have totally failed. The public is not any safer and may be less safe. Police statistics show that England and Wales are enduring a serious crime wave. In contrast to handgun-dense United States, where the homicide rate has been falling for over 20 years, the homicide rate in handgun-banning England and Wales has been growing. In the 1990s alone, the homicide rate jumped 50%, going from 10 per million in 1990 to 15 per million in 2000.
Police statistics show that violent crime in general has increased since the late 1980s and, in fact, since 1996 has been more serious than in the United States. The firearm laws may even have increased criminal violence by disarming the general public. Despite Britain¹s banning and confiscating all handguns, violent crime, and firearm crime, continue to grow.
Following shocking killings in 1996, the Australian government made sweeping changes to the firearm legislation in 1997. Unfortunately, the recent firearm regulations have not made the streets of Australia any safer. The total homicide rate, after having remained basically flat from 1995 to 2001, has now begun climbing again. The decline in homicide rate in the gun-permissive United States stands out against the trend in Australia.
The divergence between Australia and the United States is even more apparent with violent crime. While violent crime is decreasing in the United States, it is increasing in Australia. Over the past six years, the overall rate of violent crime in Australia has continued to increase. Robbery and armed robbery rates continue to rise. Armed robbery has increased 166% nationwide. The confiscation and destruction of legally owned firearms cost Australian taxpayers at least $500 million. The costs of the police services bureaucracy, including the hugely costly infrastructure of the gun registration system, has increased by $200 million since 1997. And for what? There has been no visible impact on violent crime. It is impossible to justify such a massive amount of the taxpayers¹ money for no decrease in crime. For that kind of tax money, the police could have had more patrol cars, shorter shifts, or maybe even better equipment. Think of how many lives might have been saved.
In the 1990s, sweeping changes were made to the firearms laws, first in 1991 and then again in 1995. Licensing and registration are still being phased in. The contrast between the criminal violence rates in the United States and in Canada is dramatic. Over the past decade, the rate of violent crime in Canada has increased while in the United States the violent crime rate has plummeted.
The Canadian experiment with firearm regulation is moving to farce. The effort to register all firearms, which was originally claimed to cost only $2 million, has now been estimated by the Auditor General to top $1 billion. The final costs are unknown but, if the costs of enforcement are included, the total could easily reach $3 billion. Taxpayers would do well to ask for independent cost-benefit studies on registration to see how much the gun registry is already costing.
Restrictive firearm legislation has failed to reduce violent crime in Australia, Canada, or Great Britain. The policy of confiscating guns has been an expensive failure. Criminal violence has not decreased. Instead, it continues to increase. Unfortunately, policy dictates that the current directions will continue and, more importantly, it will not be examined critically.
Only the United States has witnessed such a dramatic drop in criminal violence over the past decade. Perhaps it is time politicians in the Commonwealth reviewed their traditional antipathy to lawfully owned firearms.
It is an illusion that gun bans protect the public. No law, no matter how restrictive, can protect us from people who decide to commit violent crimes. Maybe we should crack down on criminals rather than hunters and target shooters?
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These mealy mouthed weasels say, "It is worth it if only one innocent person's life is saved." And, of course, they and the commies in the media then control the gun stories. It is like this sniper in Ohio. The media coverage will skyrocket just as soon as they are sure it is a white, Christian male pulling the trigger. Anyone who tells you that they want to ban guns to reduce crime is lying to you. He has to be lying because he can't be that stupid.
No, they're not a waste of time, because many people who would otherwise support gun control will change their mind once they understand the truth.
These mealy mouthed weasels say, "It is worth it if only one innocent person's life is saved."
First of all, that's a false proposition, since the same could be said of banning automobiles.
Secondly, studies such as this highlight the truth: when it comes to restrictive gun control, there's no evidence at all to support the idea that one innocent person's life is saved by such laws.
You certainly have it right that this line about saving even one life gets used by the gun-banning side. I wonder why the second amendment side cannot take this over. John Lott's and other data provide plenty of grounds for arguing that widespread gun ownership reduces murders. "Even if gun freedom saves only one extra life, it would be worth it" or so say I :-)
To anyone with a modicum of intellect, this is obviously some politically opportunistic ploy. Only some evil, deceitful entity would even try to convince the dim of wit that they are better off not being able to act in defense of their lives and those of their loved ones.
Perhaps those who no longer possess the will to survive are destined, by some decree of Gods nature, to not participate in the future of humanity.
Part of the nonsense of "gun control" is that it evokes a powerful emotional response in those too stupid to actually carefully consider the ramifications of a completely disarmed civilian populace; fortunately, for those of us still living in a somewhat "free Republic" in the US, these living experiments in Canada, Britain and Australia will be very instructive as time unfolds. If only we could enlist media allies in the fight for truth, instead of allowing the dominant, socialistic press to control the argument.
It is clear that the DNC and the RAT party apparatus want to take us down the same road that is being built, law by law, in Europe. It is on the gun issue alone (and its corollary - freedom)that I no longer will even consider voting for a RAT for any level of government office.
The Repubos seem content with the status quo when they become the majority. It is up to us, those rabid RKBA advocates, to instruct them as to the folly of their ways. This includes our current President. The renewal of the '94 AW ban must not be allowed.
It is clear that the ONLY purpose of gun prohibitions are to clear the way for despotic rule. I have no doubt that certain people currently holding a seat in the United States Senate have this solely in mind when they author Draconian and worthless (in terms of crime reduction) gun legislation. These people are the Enemies of Freedom; they have many sycophantic allies in the press and in special interest groups, like the Brady Boob, and the Million Morons. These groups operate on money which, for the most part, like the "reverend" Jackson, they obtain from corporate "shakedowns". While membership in these organizations is smaller in number than groups like the NRA, they are able to set up both 501(c)3's and lobbying organizations based on this corporate money. We need to find a way to shut them down; to find a way to use the legal system to sue the living crap out of these groups.
Finally, we must make it clear to those who would enslave our children and grandchildren that, no matter what, we will not be disarmed; that to pursue such an ambitious project as a national gun registration and/or a confiscation, might be the final straw.
This excellent post synopsizes the facts that gun-grabbers will never admit. It clearly illustrates that "An armed society is a polite society!"
.....and polite societies have less crime, of ANY kind!
Just as important (more?) is sending this type of factual report to our reps up the ladder. It does not change die hards who are opposed, but may persuade fence sitters, which we are always happy to pick off one at a time to see our point of view.
Okay... First, a pedantic issue: *I* am a gun nut (and so are you, presumably). You are referring to "The Gun-Grabbers". (Terminology, please!).
Next... to requote a dismally overused saw... "never attribute to conspiracy, that which can be easily explained by stupidity" (or, I might add, cowardice). I really think that the preponderance of the gun-grabbers' conshituency is whining, sniveling, fawning, cringing, whimpering cowards who are simply afraid of guns. ("They make LOUD NOISES... and they ****KILL**** people"!!! Make them go away, Mommy...) (whine, snivel...).
I LOVE arguing with people with whom I agree...
The criminal mind only preys on the weak. Just think of how all society would be more polite, if they were not only armed, but also, if everyone had a good command of martial arts. If taught at the childhood level, to all, by the time kids were 12 or 13, there would be no such thing as a "schoolyard bully", who would later go on to be a violebt criminal.