Gun Control in America

A Rarely Discussed Fact About Gun Control In America

A look at rarely discussed facts about gun control in America, as well as a comparison between countries around the world and the United States

A Rarely Discussed Fact About Gun Control In America

Gun control in America is one of the most divisive topics at the moment. In fact, it might one of the most polarizing issues in the history of the United States, with the exception of the right to own slaves.

In publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Guardian, they frequently describe the rates of murder in Japan and Canada, as examples of countries with successful gun control policies and low murder rates.

They use the stats of these nations as a means of asserting, or rather, connecting the minimal ownership of guns with decreased rates of murder and violent crime.

It Turns Out That It’s Not What It Seems

The mantra of the media and political talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Night With Stephen Colbert is that fewer guns mean fewer murders.

However, when looking at the actual data, it looks like it may be the opposite.

For instance, gun-control advocates frequently argue that guns are disproportionately available in the United States in comparison to everywhere else in the world, which is why the murder rate in the US is so high.

But both of those claims are incorrect.

Americans Do Own A Lot Of Guns

Americans do own a lot of guns.

There are currently 270 million guns in the United States right now. However, other nations have firearms including Norway, Finland, Germany, France, and Denmark, and these countries have a low murder rate.

Denmark, in particular, both illegal and legal, has 650,000 guns out of a population of 5.7 million.

On the other hand, in Luxemburg, There are currently 270 million guns in the United States right now

This pattern continues.

‘More Guns = Less Crime’ Rather Than ‘Less Guns = Less Crime’

According to this study, there is a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime.

In other words, in places with a lot of guns, the rates of violent crime are the lowest. And where there are no guns, there are more crimes.

Another misconception we often hear about is the low homicide rates in Europe.

Misconceptions About Europe

Frequently, gun-control advocates are adamant that the low murder rates in Europe are due to their great gun control laws when in reality, the rates of homicide have been low even before the government introduced gun laws.

According to the study linked above, England, before they introduced gun laws, was a very peaceful nation where there wasn’t a lot of violent crime, to begin with.

However, their new laws forbidding the ownership of firearms has not curbed the levels of crime or even the amount of armed violence. The government at first enforced stricter laws of handguns and then banned them altogether.

Banning Guns Doesn’t Deter Criminals From Getting Them

And since then, England now has millions of illegal firearms.

Criminals don’t struggle to find them and are more willing to use them because they know that they won’t be met with any kind of opposition. Ten years after 1957, the use of guns in violent crimes increased tenfold.

And at the end of the 1990’s, England finally moved from forceful laws on weapons to then a complete ban of handguns and some long guns.

Law-abiding citizens began turning over all of their weapons to the government, and what happened next is quite surprising.

The Banning Of Firearms Led To Increased Rates Of Violent Crime

Following the confiscation of their weapons, by the year 2000, the violent crime rate increased so much that England and Wales now had the highest rates of violent crime, even surpassing that of the United States.

During the 1990’s, even though Americans continued to go out and buy more guns, the United States saw a long, progressive, and “dramatic” decrease in criminal violence during that same period.

But, on the other hand, the United Kingdom saw a big increase in violent crime.

And at this same time, guns weren’t completely prohibited, there were just some laws in place. But due to media reports and gun-control advocates, they eventually banned them altogether.

By The Year 2000, The UK Had Some Of The Highest Rates Of Crime In The EU

Finally, by the year 2000, the UK was now one of the most violent countries in the EU and has a rate of murder and violent crime that is significantly higher than the United States as a whole.

However, one possible explanation for the increase in violent crime could be that the UK government has redefined the term, “violent crime,” and what acts fall under its umbrella.

More On The Comparison Between Britain And The USA

During the 1980’s and the 1990’s, Britain and other parts of the United Kingdom were enacting laws to make ownership of firearms more difficult.

But, overseas, the United States government, in 25 different states, made it legal for them to carry concealed handguns.

Now, there are 40 states in the USA where a qualified citizen can carry a handgun.

Currently, there are 3.5 million gun-permit holding Americans. And according to the economists, John Lott and David Mustard, these laws contributed to the drop in homicide and violent crime rates.

The Rates Of Crime Decreased In Areas With ‘Concealed Carry’ Laws

And from twenty-five years of statistics from that period overseeing 3,000 American counties, Lott and Mustard concluded that the decrease in confrontational and violent crime fell faster in these states, in comparison to the ones which did not adopt those same laws.

However, if we’re being honest here, there could be another explanation for those same drops in crime.

Other Explanations For The Drops In Violent Crime

Two of Lott and Mustard’s most vociferous critics, Donohue and Levitt, explain the decrease in crime as the result of the legalization of abortion in the 1970’s, leading to the decrease of the birth of children who would’ve grown up in areas of violent crime and poverty, and therefore been perpetrators of crime later on in life.

It’s hard to say exactly why the rate of violent crime has dropped so much, but it’s clear that in the last twenty-five years, the crime rate has fallen.

Others argue that it may have something to do with the fact that the courts are incarcerating more Americans.

The Same People Commit The Majority Of Crime

Another potential reason for why increased gun ownership doesn’t raise the rate of crime is that murderers and other violent criminals are not spread evenly throughout the population.

A disproportionate amount of the crime is committed by the same groups of people. Or, in other words, it’s the same people committing crimes over and over again, and those same individuals have histories of crime.

The study states that murderers “almost uniformly have a long history of involvement in criminal behavior.”

The inference from this fact is that if responsible adults obtained firearms, it would not be them who  commit acts of rape, robbery, or murder. In the same fashion, violent gun crimes wouldn’t fall if guns were banned.

If the arguments made by the previous studies are true then what should we do about school shootings?

What Should We Do About School Shootings?

Following the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the issue became a contentious one – again, and the “March For Our Lives” protests began.

And while any shooting or act of violence that harms another is tragic, what happens when we actually break down the statistics used by the Washington Post and The Guardian?

According to the New York Times, there have been around 700 mass shootings since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, two years ago.

They define a shooting as an instance where a gunman shoots at least four or more people.

However, mass shootings are just a small portion of the USA’s gun violence.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 96 people in the USA die every single day from gun violence.

But a part of that statistic they state with nonchalance is that around 66% of those shootings, or two-thirds, are a result of suicides.

Moreover, another statistic they don’t give much attention to is the fact that a good portion of gun violence statistics are actually cases where the police resorted to using a firearm.

In a report from the New York Times this morning, they state that “in no other country does this kind of violence take place so frequently.”

So How Much Gun Violence Is In The United States?

So, just how much violence is there in other countries in comparison to the United States?

As it was mentioned above, there is actually a negative correlation between gun ownership and violent crime in countries around the world.

9 European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership have a combined murder rate that is actually three times as high as the 9 European nations that have the highest rates of gun ownership.

In the United Kingdom, where guns are illegal, there are 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 and in the United States, there are 466 violent crimes per 100,000.

According to AmericanGunFacts.com, following the Labor party’s election and the banning of handguns in 1997, the rate of recorded violent attacks went up by 77% to 1.2 million in 2007.

The UK Is Entertaining The Idea Of Prohibiting Knives

Moreover, now, criminals are using kitchen knives in stabbings all over the nation, which has prompted some politicians to ask for the banning of long pointed kitchen knives.

Many people in the United Kingdom have met the idea of banning knives with outright ridicule.

Additionally, as it was noted earlier, the implementation of concealed carry laws in American states has actually led to lower rates of crime, rather than increased shootings.

In states with concealed carry laws, there are 8.5% fewer murders, 5% fewer rapes, 7% less aggravated assaults, and 3% fewer robberies.

Other Facts

When looking at all of the big mass shootings in the USA since 1950, a majority of these incidents took place in locations where the government doesn’t permit people to carry guns.

In the same vein, in areas with strict gun regulations like in many European countries, there has been 3 of the worst 6 school shootings of all time.

And another interesting fact is that in 1982, the state of Georgia passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one gun in their house. And in the following year, the burglary rate dropped 89% in Kennesaw, in comparison to the state as a whole where it dropped 10.4%.

In the modern age, Kennesaw’s rate of violent crime is still around 85% lower than that of Georgia or the national average.

However, Kennesaw is just a small town, with around 30,000 people. 

Another Thing To Note

It seems like there is a disconnection between rural people and urban people. As if, they aren’t able to understand each other or their opinions because of the different lifestyles they both tend to live.

For example, in this article, it explains how people who grow up in the countryside have a better understanding of activities like hunting.

For those who grow up in large urban areas, they typically have a caricature of the average hunter, as if hunters are people who like to kill animals out of cruelty.

And while maybe some hunters do hunt because they’re cruel, there are actually perfectly reasonable explanations for why hunting is a past time.

For one, hunting is a means of population control, as species that get out of hand disrupt the ecosystem.

For instance, in areas with deer overpopulation, they tend to spread Lyme disease. So, in areas where deer are overpopulated, there are significantly higher rates of Lyme Disease in the human population, in addition to a huge increase in car accidents. 

Conclusion

Gun control is surprisingly complicated, and not quite as cut-and-dry as you’d think. And when one looks into the actual data, that fact becomes more clear.

However, that may be the reason why people don’t look into problems like this one in the first place. They don’t want to disrupt their worldview.

image sources

  • Gun Control in America: EqualOpportunityGamer.com

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