Facts are stubborn things. In a column for the Canadian National Post (tip of the hat to Cafe Hayek), scholar John Lott makes the following observations:
Crime did not fall in England after handguns were banned in 1997. Quite the contrary, crime rose sharply. In May, the British government reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the last four years. Serious violent crime rates from 1997 to 2002 averaged 29 percent higher than 1996; robbery was 24 percent higher; murders 27 percent higher. Before the law, armed robberies had fallen by 50 percent from 1993 to 1997, but as soon as handguns were banned, the armed robbery rate shot back up, almost back to their 1993 levels. The violent crime rate in England is now double that in the United States.
Australia saw its violent crime rates soar after its 1996 gun control measures banned most firearms. Violent crime rates averaged 32 percent higher in the six years after the law was passed than they did the year before the law went into effect. Murder and manslaughter rates remained unchanged, but armed robbery rates increased 74 percent, aggravated assaults by 32%. Australia's violent crime rate is also now double America's.
In contrast, the United States took the opposite approach and made it easier for individuals to carry guns. Thirty-seven of the 50 states now have right-to-carry laws that let law-abiding adults carry concealed handguns once they pass a criminal background check. Violent crime in the United States has fallen much faster than in Canada, and violent crime has fallen even faster in right-to-carry states than for the nation as a whole. The states with the fastest growth in gun ownership have also experienced the biggest drops in violent crime rates.
I really do feel sorry for all those potential criminals who are begin dissuaded from committing violent acts because of gun ownership in America. Now if only we could repeal those idiotic victimless crime laws that are clogging up the prison system (not that I'm in favor of prison anyway -- ever hear of restitution?)....
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal