In making arguments about gun control, liberals often point to rates of gun violence in America compared to other developed nations. While that may seem like common sense, there are thousands of variables that go into a nation’s violent crime rate — including even gun violence (aside from guns, obviously). For instance, if one nation has more gangs than another, even if they have an equal amount of guns, the one with more gangs will naturally have more gun violence.
Likewise, most gun violence occurs in metropolitan areas with populations over 250,000. The US has 186 areas meeting that criterion, while the UK only has 32, and Canada 17. Ironically, the majority of gun ownership in the US is in rural areas, while the majority of the gun violence is in cities where guns are either banned or heavily regulated.
To account for all the variables affecting gun violence across nations, rather than compare nations, gun policies and violence to one another, it would be more appropriate to compare nations to themselves over time. For example, when he was still on the air, Piers Morgan would make the argument that while the U.S. has over 10,000 gun homicides a year — and relatively lax gun laws — the U.K. has banned most firearms from public life, and only has around 30 or so gun murders a year.
What Piers didn’t mention is that the UK has ALWAYS had low gun crime, even when their gun laws were, more or less, as lax as the U.S. — and gun crime has actually ticked upwards since their 1996 handgun ban.
Below are just a few examples of homicide rates before and after gun bans in a handful of countries, courtesy of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
The U.K.’s overall homicide and firearm homicide rates increased most years after their handgun ban, despite an increase in the police force:
Here are the figures for Ireland:
And it’s not just countries. Look at Washington D.C.:
And of course, Chicago:
After Chicago’s handgun ban took effect, the percentage of homicides committed with firearms actually increased.
As most are aware, policies should be judged by results, not intent, and it’s clear that the last thing gun control does is control guns.
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]