International News: Does Banning Firearms Reduce Violence?

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Harvard University’s 2007 “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?,” study is once again at the forefront of nationwide politics. While most people assume that fewer guns correlates to fewer deaths, this insightful study written by Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser, Ph.D., sheds interesting insight into these misconceptions.

In comparing worldwide data, Kates and Mauser discovered that stricter gun laws don’t equate to less overall crime. In fact, when reviewing homicide rates, the U.S. is well behind Estonia, Russia and other countries, ultimately placing seventh overall. Even though guns are banned in Russia, their homicides rates are significantly higher.

The study clarifies that gun control doesn’t necessarily cause more murders, but stringent gun control measures do result in higher homicides rates. This study did find a relation between less stringent firearm laws and lower overall gun-related crimes.

Artfully stated, Kates and Mauser addressed the following in their study, “If more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death, areas within nations with higher gun ownership should in general have more murders than those with less gun ownership in a similar area. But, in fact, the reverse pattern prevails.”

Gun Owners of America cites several statistics to substantiate that gun control measures do not decrease overall crime.

England’s murder rate was lower than average before their parliament enacted gun control measures. Therefore, gun control cannot be credited with low murder rates. In fact, crimes committed with handguns have increased 40% since this ban went into effect. People are more likely to be robbed in England, with their mugging rate 1.4 times higher than that in the U.S. British law enforcement has been accused of altering violent crime data to make numbers appear as though gun control measures are successful.

In 1996, Australia banned firearms. Today, their armed robberies have increased by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, kidnappings by 43% and assaults by 24%. Murders have decreased by 3%, but manslaughter rates have increased by more than 16%.

Canada enforced strict gun control in 1991 and 1995. The ultimate result is that their rate of violent crime has increased, while U.S. crime rates have decreased.

Japan reports their crime continues to increase, while their police arrests are at all an time low.

In fact, U.S. statistics speak for themselves. Gun ownership rates are substantially higher in rural areas, yet murder rates are higher in urban areas. While controversial, more Caucasians own firearms, but homicides rates among African Americans are staggeringly higher.

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