A Lesson From Britain: Less Guns = Higher Crime Rates? MSNBC Thinks So.

Joe Schoffstall | June 2, 2010
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Britain. They have some of the toughest gun laws in the world, and anti-gun proponents would claim that could only lead to positive results, right? Wrong. According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph who filed for a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) to obtain the figures, the results for those advocating looser gun restriction laws could not be better. The report shows in Britain at least one in three police forces have seen an increase in either gun or knife offenses in the last year. “Force by force statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information have raised fears that Government initiatives to tackle gun and knife crime in the worst hit areas—mainly urban forces—has left the problem grow in rural areas.” Twenty-two forces responded to the FOIA, out of that 12 saw a rise in either gun or knife crime in the 12 months up to September 2009. Eight of the forces saw an 18 percent increase in offenses involving a knife or sharp object. In North Yorkshire alone, offenses increased from 520 to 740. While homicide rates have fallen in Britain with the tough gun ban, police have said the main reason could be due to “skilled paramedics and improved medicine than any suggestion Britain is becoming less violent.” Now, an anti-gun propopenent would read that last line and say, "See! Homicide rates have fallen, you're completely misleading people and lying about gun bans! You're probably a paid operative of the NRA!" Not so fast, do-gooder. Let's take a look at the United States, shall we? In the US, gun ownership skyrocketed in recent years. As gun ownership soars, homicide rates are falling drastically- even MSNBC (painfully) acknowledged this (but not until the third and final page of their report). Back in late March, I came across a report from MSNBC titled, “Record numbers now licensed to pack heat: Firearm deaths fall as millions obtain permits to carry concealed guns.” Your eyes did not deceive you. They did, indeed, report that. After seeing this, I couldn’t resist writing an article for CNSNews.com, “Report From Liberal Cable Outlet Shows That More Guns Equals Fewer Firearms Deaths.” In a nutshell, the MSNBC report showed the following (this is essentially copied and pasted segments from my article):

The MSNBC.com report, Record numbers now licensed to pack heat, says that in the 1980s and 1990s, Americans were killed by guns at a rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population, at the time the concealed-carry movement (carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or close proximity) began gaining momentum. In this decade, the gun-homicide rate has fallen to 4.07 per 100,000, which equates to a 28 percent reduction in homicides with the use of firearms. This decline in homicides follows a five-fold increase in a “shall-issue” (requirement of a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but where the granting of the permit is subject only to meeting certain criteria laid out in the law) and unrestricted concealed-carry laws in states from 1986 to 2006, reported MSNBC.com. According to federal background checks conducted on the sale of most firearms, the decline in homicides comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing.  While the number of gun sales held stable between 8.5 million and 9 million from 1999-2005, the FBI reported a rise in sales to 10 million in 2006. In 2007 the number jumped to 11 million; in 2008, up to 13 million; and more than 14 million in 2009 -- an increase of 55 percent in four years.
Now, let’s do a little comparison based upon laws and their restrictiveness in comparison to homicides:
The nation's highest gun homicide rates are in Washington, D.C., with 20.50 deaths per 100,000 people, five times the general rate. Yet the District of Columbia has the strictest gun-control laws in the nation. The lowest rate of gun-related homicides is in Utah: 1.12 deaths per 100,000 people. Utah’s gun-control policy is very unrestricted.
Essentially, the moral of the story from Britain is simple; criminals who want to obtain a firearm will do so illegally through the black market. The UK Daily Telegraph pointed out criminals are even turning blank shooting only guns into guns that can fire bullets. On the other hand, law abiding citizens who cannot own a gun (due to restrictive laws) automatically are at a disadvantage. What happens if someone with a firearm breaks into your house and threatens your family, are you going to fight back with a fork? Good luck Jean Claude Van Damme. To give you an idea of how strict the laws are there, the Olympic shooting team can’t even practice within the country. Take a look at the above numbers from Utah; very lax gun laws, and practically a zero homicide rate. Don’t you think criminals would be a little more hesitant to enter a house with a gun, if they know there's always the possibility that you own a one yourself? To the criminals relief, that’s not something they have to worry about in Britain. This is a simple argument that gun proponents have been preaching for years. Reports are now showing they may have been right all along.