As the rhetoric heats up on gun control, there’s one fact the gun-grabbers don’t want people to know. A gun ban does not reduce murders.
Three Western democracies have banned nearly all firearms possession. The governments hoped by disarming the populace, the violent crime rate would go down.
It did not happen that way. Government-sponsored studies in those countries show what actually happened.
The United Kingdom banned handguns in 1996. It has pretty severe restrictions on long guns. The government even brags about this. “UK firearms policy is based on the fact that firearms are dangerous weapons and the State has a duty to protect the public from their misuse.
Gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. Firearms control in the UK is among the toughest in the world, and as a result firearms offenses continue to make up a small proportion (less than 0.2%) of recorded crime,” said the government’s Home Office Guide on Firearms Licensing Law.
But it hasn’t had much effect on the murder rate. The murder rate there has actually been rising for years. In fact, the Home Office produced a report showing a spike in homicides a few years after the ban. “As can be seen, homicides increased steadily up to the early 2000s,” the report states.
While the murder rate has been going down since the spike, it is comparable to the rate in 1996 and far above the homicide levels experienced throughout the 1960s, 70s and on par with the levels seen in the 1980s.
In 2003, the government added 20,000 more law enforcement officers. At the same time, the murder rate peaked at 18 homicides per million people. As anyone who has been the victim of violence knows, police officers respond after the attack has occurred, minutes to hours later. Adding more police just means they may get there quicker. More cops won’t help while the attack is taking place.
The Emerald Isle also tracks murders. Between 1945 and the handgun ban in 1972, the homicide rate stayed below .6 murders per 100,000 people. That’s six homicides per million people.
The year the handgun ban went into effect, the murder rate nearly doubled from the year before and set an all-time record of about .75 per 100,000 people or 7.5 people per million killed by their fellow man. In 1975, the rate skyrocketed to just over 1.6 per 100,000; that is a bit over 16 people per million done in by their fellow man.
The graphic below compares the murder rates in Ireland to Jamaica. (Image courtesy of Crime Research)
In 1975, the rate jumped to an all-time high of 1.6 per 100,000 people. It did fall, but since then the death rate by violence has continued to climb gradually. The homicide rate is still above the pre-handgun ban level.
The Land Down Under enacted a near-complete gun ban in 1996. The ban was a knee-jerk reaction to what is called the Port Arthur massacre. It took the Australian government only 12 days to create and pass a gun ban.
The ban in Australia did reduce the number of deaths by gun, something the left loves to tout. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. This article in The National Review points out the biggest drop in gun-related deaths is directly due to fewer suicides. In fact, murders in the Land Down Under have remained fairly steady.
Even with these draconian rules, gun ownership in Australia is on the rise and yet homicides, especially by firearm, are not rising as the gun-grabbers want people to believe.
The problem is not, nor has it ever been, guns. The problem goes back to Cain and Abel. The problem is some people are just willing to kill someone for any reason or no reason at all. As these three countries prove, if the killer doesn’t have a gun, he’s going to find some other way to carry out his nefarious deed.