Less Guns More Murder

The claim that gun control laws reduce murder and suicide rates is simply factually inaccurate. There has consistently been evidence showing that there is no positive correlation between increased gun control and reduced murder rates. If anything, there is a correlation between an increasingly armed population and a reduction in violent crime rates.

Of course, easy availability of firearms increases firearm murder rates. But that does not reflect the total murder rate. It has been shown time and again that criminals will either find firearms illegally or simply use other tools to commit murder. Would it be better to have murder victims hacked up with machetes instead of being shot?

Take the example of Russia, where gun control has been effective at vastly eliminating civilian possession of guns. Both the murder and suicide rate in Russia was four times higher than the U.S. in 1999. In 2002 the murder rate in Russia was 20.54 per 100,000 people. In neighboring Poland, where handguns are allowed, the murder rate was 1.98 in 2003. In 2001 Norway the rate was 0.81 and in 2004 Finland it was 1.98, both of which also allow handguns.

In England, violent crime rates were much lower before there were any restrictions on the purchase and use of firearms. For much of history, English police officers did not carry firearms despite the lack of gun control laws. Recently, increases in violent crimes have caused more and more English law enforcement officials to carry firearms. In 2000, England surpassed the U.S. in criminal violence rates.

Banning guns does not address the real socio-economic and cultural factors that cause violent crimes. It is a reactionary policy, indicated by the fact that the U.S. jurisdictions with the highest murder rates are typically the ones with the most stringent gun laws. It might be a result of democracy, where the appearance of action by politicians in the wake of certain events and statistics is important to re-election.

Additional Resources

Harvard, Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

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