Interesting stats on US crime and guns

Two statistical surveys came out at the end of 2009. One being the FBI’s Semiannual Uniform Crime Report and the other the figures for gun sales in the US.

Surprisingly (to some), gun sales in the U.S. were up and crime was down.

Preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported a decrease of 4.4 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first six months of 2009 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2008. The violent crime category includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

This is not what the gun-banners like to hear.

On the other side of the fence many of the pro-gun commentators took it to mean that the combination of the two proved the argument of ‘more guns, less crime’. That in fact having more law-abiding individuals owning firearms had a direct result in a decreasing crime rate.

This is something that John Lott did studies on, with reference to States that had ‘shall issue’ gun laws. Lott came to the following conclusion:

States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes. Thirty-one states now have such laws—called “shall-issue” laws. These laws allow adults the right to carry concealed handguns if they do not have a criminal record or a history of significant mental illness.

Of course, there those that assailed his work as being flawed. but even by reworking Lott’s figures other statisticians couldn’t come up with any correlation between more guns and increased violent crime. At worst they could only adjust the figures to show that there was essentially no impact.

I am certainly not qualified to debate statisticians, so whether increased gun ownership in the community causes crime to go down or whether the decrease in crime is due to some other arguable factor is beyond my pay scale. But regardless, the facts would appear plain; increased gun ownership is not the monster in the closet that the anti-gunners would have the public believe.

But then again, when you take a look at the British experience, there may be a strong practical example that Lott is dead on the money. In a country that made firearm ownership almost impossible for its honest citizens, things have gone to hell in a hand-basket (actually in more ways than just gun violence, but that’s a different rant).

Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold.

The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year  –  a rise of 89 per cent.

In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold.

In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled.

The statistic will fuel fears that the police are struggling to contain gang-related violence, in which the carrying of a firearm has become increasingly common place.

Last week, police in London revealed they had begun carrying out armed patrols on some streets.

The move means officers armed with sub-machine guns are engaged in routine policing for the first time.

By god, I think Lott may be on to something there!


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