10 Sep 2003 berend   » (Journeyer)

hadess wrote:

I guess firearms control actually does some good.

And he went on to quote some statistics about England: 8.1 homicides per million (these statistics are incorrect, see below) I would be the first one to ban guns. If that actually worked. Is England the example that shows that gun control works?

Forbidding things works of course. We forbid stealing and we have no more thiefs. We forbid lying, and nobody lies. We forbid killing and nobody is murdered: Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Problem solved. Well, that didn't work, did it?

We forbid guns, and suddenly we don't have homicides. Or at least, we should expect a drop in homicides, isn't it? We think that locking our door helps against thiefs. We have contracts to guard against liars. Might guns not help against would-be killers? Even criminals possess some logic: if this house has a lock, I might as well go to the next house which doesn't. If this guy has a gun, I might as well go to the neighbour who hasn't.

Let's look at England. In the 90s, England introduced the most draconian gun laws ever. Did it help? According to a UN survey end 2002, England and Wales now have the highest crime rate of the world's 20 leading nations. Mark Steyn writes:

Since the Government's "total ban" five years ago, there are more and more guns being used by more and more criminals in more and more crimes. Now, in the wake of Birmingham's New Year bloodbath, there are calls for the total ban to be made even more total: if the gangs refuse to obey the existing laws, we'll just pass more laws for them not to obey.

And he ends his article with:

Meanwhile, America's traditionally high and England and Wales's traditionally low murder rates are remorselessly converging. In 1981, the US rate was nine times higher than the English. By 1995, it was six times. Last year, it was down to 3.5. ... New York has just recorded the lowest murder rate since the 19th century. I'll bet that in the next two years London's murder rate overtakes it.

According to the link hadess provided, the actual figure is 15.5 per million (table 4.1). I'm not sure where he got his 8.1 from. But crime is rising in the UK, while it is dropping in the US. Do we know why? I'm not aware of a single, all-explaining answer. Guns? No guns? I really don't know. But the UK does not proof that gun control works.

I don't know why hadess added his last link. That guy says:

As we gun rights watchers know, Canada, the UK and Australia have taken extraordinary steps to impede the rights of their citizens to possess firearms. What are these poor countries to do? It seems that in response to the continual rise in crime rates, those countries only tighten the noose around the legal gun owner even more. I wonder, though, what's going to happen when no one, except police and the military, can legally possess a firearm? What else can they take?

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