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December 2, 2003
Gun Control: A Consistent Failure

According to the Fraser Institute, restrictive firearms laws and gun confiscation programs have been expensive failures in various Commonwealth countries (via Instapundit).

In England and Wales:

Both Conservative and Labour governments have introduced restrictive firearms laws over the past 20 years; all handguns were banned in 1997.

Yet in the 1990s alone, the homicide rate jumped 50 percent, going from 10 per million in 1990 to 15 per million in 2000. While not yet as high as the US, in 2002 gun crime in England and Wales increased by 35 percent. This is the fourth consecutive year that gun crime has increased.

In Australia:

While violent crime is decreasing in the United States, it is increasing in Australia. Over the past six years, the overall rate of violent crime in Australia has been on the rise – for example, armed robberies have jumped 166 percent nationwide.

The confiscation and destruction of legally owned firearms has cost Australian taxpayers at least $500 million. The cost of the police services bureaucracy, including the costly infrastructure of the gun registration system, has increased by $200 million since 1997.

In Canada:

Over the past decade, the rate of violent crime in Canada has increased while in the United States the violent crime rate has plummeted. The homicide rate is dropping faster in the US than in Canada.

The Canadian experiment with firearm registration is becoming a farce says Mauser. The effort to register all firearms, which was originally claimed to cost only $2 million, has now been estimated by the Auditor General to top $1 billion. The final costs are unknown but, if the costs of enforcement are included, the total could easily reach $3 billion.

In order to really parse the data, you will need to download the complete study, which is available here in PDF format. There are a number of graphs demonstrating that highly restrictive gun-control policies have failed to lower crime rates in these countries; indeed, in comparison to the US, these rates have grown enormously, during a period where the US has liberalized concealed-carry laws in 35 states.

Especially striking is the drastic increase in violent crime rates in England and Wales. Prior to enacting the restrictive firearms bans, the violent crime rate had met the US rate at slightly above 600 per 100,000 (the US had been declining, while English/Welsh rates had been slightly increasing, for the previous decade). After 1997, the rate more than doubles in two years, without any other economic or social explanation. The English/Welsh rate is now 1,400 per 100,000, while the US rate has declined to around 500 per 100,000.

What other explanation can there be except that disarming law-abiding citizens makes them open targets to criminals, who are highly unlikely to comply with firearms bans in the first place? This dovetails with the report from the Guardian, as posted by Strange Women Lying in Ponds:

Handgun crime has soared past levels last seen before the Dunblane massacre of 1996 and the ban on ownership of handguns introduced the year after Thomas Hamilton, an amateur shooting enthusiast, shot dead 16 schoolchildren, their teacher and himself in the Perthshire town. It was hoped the measure would reduce the number of handguns available to criminals. Now handgun crime is at its highest since 1993.

When do we finally get some recognition that disarming law-abiding citizens is bad policy and should be stopped?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 2, 2003 8:34 AM

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