December 31, 2012
In the 17 days since an elementary school in Connecticut was attacked, an all-out war on the 2nd Amendment and our right to bear arms has culminated in President Obama backing Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban to be introduced this January.
Two-and-a-half weeks have gone by and we have heard it all, from hypocrite celebrities who murder people with guns in movies telling us to give up our rights in reality, to Joe Biden heading a new gun violence task force while he bragged about his guns on the 2008 campaign trail.
The claim being pushed from seemingly every angle is that if we all give up our guns and our rights, it will somehow make us safer.
One of CNN host Piers Morgan’s favorite arguments is that the United Kingdom has less gun crime than the United States because of its strict gun control policies. While it may be true there are less gun crimes in the U.K. than in the U.S. based on the statistics they report, this position fails to paint the full picture.
A 2009 Telegraph article dubbed the U.K. The “violent crime capital of Europe,” noting the country had one of the highest reported violence rates in the world, a per capita rate worse than South Africa, Australia, and yes, even America.
Yet, private possession of semi-automatic weapons and handguns is prohibited in the U.K. If firearm laws and gun prohibition stop crime, how can this be possible?
Not only is the rate of rape in England and Wales per 100,000 people higher than in the U.S., but the U.S. rate has been dropping over the past seven years while the rape rates in the U.K. have risen each year for the last four. The U.K.’s Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 report recorded 45,326 serious sexual offenses, though the report notes these types of crimes are typically under-reported.
Violent crime in the U.K. increased six percent during 2010/11, but the increase was not considered “statistically significant.” The U.K. Also reported 32,714 serious knife offenses in 2010/11, although knife crimes are not required to be reported there the same way gun crimes are, so that figure may not reflect the true number.
Robberies at knifepoint have apparently become a common news item in the U.K. Just a few weeks ago, a pregnant woman was stabbed during a knifepoint car robbery when she attempted to get into a cab in East London. The following week, a man was stabbed for his headphones during a robbery in Gloucester skate park. Prior to Thanksgiving, a man was found stabbed to death in an East London petrol station, and another man was stabbed in the stomach during an attempted robbery of his cell phone as he walked through Victoria Park, Ashford that same month. These are just a few examples.
If gun control — where law-abiding citizens are not allowed to own guns to protect themselves from criminals — automatically equaled less crime, shouldn’t England’s crime rates be much lower?
In 2000, George Soros’ Open Society Institute released a report it dubbed “the first comprehensive state-by-state look at gun laws in the United States.” The institute compared every state’s gun laws systematically and gave states negative scores to indicate limited gun control laws or what the institute considered to be “undermining” federal law minimum standards. This report claimed that Massachusetts had the best gun control laws in the nation, while Maine had the absolute worst.
Unless something has changed substantially in the last decade, the FBI’s latest crime statistics show that Maine actually had the fewest violent crimes and aggravated assaults of any state in the nation last year, while Massachusetts was 12th highest for aggravated assaults and 15th highest for violent crimes.
Statistics also show that half of all firearm deaths in the U.S. are actually suicides. More guns are fired during suicides than during homicides in America.
While Morgan and other anti-gun advocates throw out the single statistic of less gun crime in the U.K., the rest of the statistics cannot simply be ignored to manipulate an argument.
No correlation between gun ownership and murder has been found, and data does not show that an assault weapons ban would magically stop — or even decrease — mass shootings. In fact, when the assault weapons ban was previously in place from 1994 to 2004, mass shootings actually showed a slight increase.
Connecticut already has an assault weapons ban in place, and for a weapon to be considered “semi-automatic” simply means one bullet is fired each time the trigger is pulled; the majority of guns in use today are semi-automatic.
Adam Lanza reportedly tried to buy a gun legally in the days prior to the Connecticut school massacre, but he was refused for failing to wait for the 14-day background check. The guns Lanza used in the shooting were allegedly stolen from his mother.
Connecticut’s anti-gun laws did not stop the school shooting. All of these new gun control requirements Senator Feinstein plans to introduce requiring fingerprinting, photo identification, and enhanced background checks would not have stopped what happened at Sandy Hook that day.
The majority of gun crimes are not committed by law-abiding gun owners. Criminals commit crimes. Laws punish criminals — they do not prevent crime. History shows these anti-gun laws, however, will punish law-abiding citizens as well.