guns and homicides

from brietbart (via drudge):

“Harvard Study: No Correlation Between Gun Control and Less Violent Crime”

“A Harvard Study titled ‘Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?’ [pdf] looks at figures for ‘intentional deaths’ throughout continental Europe and juxtaposes them with the U.S. to show that more gun control does not necessarily lead to lower death rates or violent crime.

“Because the findings so clearly demonstrate that more gun laws may in fact increase death rates, the study says that ‘the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths’ is wrong.

“For example, when the study shows numbers for Eastern European gun ownership and corresponding murder rates, it is readily apparent that less guns to do not mean less death. In Russia, where the rate of gun ownership is 4,000 per 100,000 inhabitants, the murder rate was 20.52 per 100,000 in 2002. That same year in Finland, where the rater of gun ownership is exceedingly higher — 39,000 per 100,000 — the murder rate was almost nill, at 1.98 per 100,000….

“And when the study focuses on intentional deaths by looking at the U.S. vs Continental Europe, the findings are no less revealing. The U.S., which is so often labeled as the most violent nation in the world by gun control proponents, comes in 7th — behind Russia, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Belarus, and the Ukraine — in murders. America also only ranks 22nd in suicides.

“The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are banned, is 30.6; the rate in the U.S. is 7.8….”

oops. =/

so, the official gun ownership rate in russia is low. could there be a large cache of illegal guns out there? still — much higher homicide rates in eastern europe than in western.

here’s a table from the report for you to enjoy:

european gun ownership and murder rates

and here are some bits about my favorite little country that could:

“A second misconception about the relationship between firearms and violence attributes Europe’s generally low homicide rates to stringent gun control. That attribution cannot be accurate since murder in Europe was at an all‐time low *before* the gun controls were introduced. For instance, virtually the only English gun control during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the practice that police patrolled without guns. During this period gun control prevailed far less in England or Europe than in certain American states which nevertheless had — and continue to have — murder rates that were and are comparatively very high….

“Stringent gun controls were not adopted in England and Western Europe until after World War I. Consistent with the outcomes of the recent American studies just mentioned, these strict controls did not stem the general trend of ever‐growing violent crime throughout the post‐WWII industrialized world including the United States and Russia. Professor Malcolm’s study of English gun law and violent crime summarizes that nation’s nineteenth and twentieth century experience as follows:

‘The peacefulness England used to enjoy was not the result of strict gun laws. When it had no firearms restrictions [nineteenth and early twentieth century] England had little violent crime, while the present extraordinarily stringent gun controls have not stopped the increase in violence or even the increase in armed violence.

“‘Armed crime, never a problem in England, has now become one. Handguns are banned but the Kingdom has millions of illegal firearms. Criminals have no trouble finding them and exhibit a new willingness to use them. In the decade after 1957, the use of guns in serious crime increased a hundredfold.’

“In the late 1990s, England moved from stringent controls to a complete ban of all handguns and many types of long guns. Hundreds of thousands of guns were confiscated from those owners law‐abiding enough to turn them in to authorities. Without suggesting this caused violence, the ban’s ineffectiveness was such that by the year 2000 violent crime had so increased that England and Wales had Europe’s highest violent crime rate, far surpassing even the United States….

“[T]he conclusions of the premier study of English gun control. Done by a senior English police official as his thesis at the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology and later published as a book, it found (as of the early 1970s), ‘Half a century of strict controls…has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of [handguns] in crime than ever before.’ The study also states that:

‘No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less [in England before 1920] when there were no controls of any sort and when anyone, convicted criminal or lunatic, could buy any type of firearm without restriction….

hmmmm. i wonder what’s different about england now as opposed to back then?

read the whole report here [pdf] — you really should, because it’s chock-full of info. (harvard is certainly proving to be quite the den of politically incorrect thinking, isn’t it? (~_^) )

edit: see also Guns & Homicide, Map Form from jayman.

previously: outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence and what pinker missed

(note: comments do not require an email. don’t forget your gun safety!)

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22 Comments

  1. I do not know why such studies are created. Seriously.
    Ban on weapons is never about limiting crime. It is about disarming of law abiding citizens and empowering criminals.

    Reply

  2. I’m opposed to gun control; but it is misleading to call this a “Harvard Study.” That would suggest it was funded by Harvard, written by Harvard faculty, or supported by Harvard in some way.

    In reality, it was merely published in a journal published by the Harvard Law federalist society, with no oversight from the school or faculty.

    It does not make the study any less valid, but it makes conservatives look desperate.

    Reply

  3. @mike – “…it is misleading to call this a ‘Harvard Study.’ That would suggest it was funded by Harvard, written by Harvard faculty, or supported by Harvard in some way. In reality, it was merely published in a journal published by the Harvard Law federalist society, with no oversight from the school or faculty.”

    good point!

    (it’s still interesting, i think, that there does seem to be some politically incorrect individuals lurking around in the shadows @harvard! (~_^) no, sorry — never mind. neither of the authors is at harvard. just published in this harvard journal, like you said!)

    Reply

  4. Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare states within the US since you have a variation in legislation there, instead of comparing with countries like Estonia or Russia that are completely different?

    Personally I think it has more to do with alcohol. Liquor and violence seem to go hand in hand. Eastern Europe has plenty of both. But what is up with super-rich Luxembourg?

    Reply

  5. @staffan – “Wouldn’t it make more sense to compare states within the US since you have a variation in legislation there, instead of comparing with countries like Estonia or Russia that are completely different?”

    yes, i suppose. but the authors are specifically responding to arguments that involve multiple countries. the introductory paragraph:

    “International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. Unfortunately, such discussions are all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative. It may be useful to begin with a few examples. There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement (b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.”

    @staffan – “Personally I think it has more to do with alcohol. Liquor and violence seem to go hand in hand. Eastern Europe has plenty of both.”

    but what about finland? i thought that they were in a near-permanent state of picklement there? (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) (~_^) (i think the common denominator with eastern europe is: slavs.)

    Reply

  6. @anonymous – “Well, the actual fact is that crime have been decreased in England since 1981.”

    no. if you look at the graph on pg. 57 (of the report you linked to — thanks!) you’ll see that violent crime (and we’re talking about homicides here) has not decreased since 1981, and, in fact, there was a strong spike in the mid-90s. it’s decreased since then, but it hasn’t been decreasing since 1981, nor has it dropped below 1981 levels.

    @anonymous – “If in this point this papper lies….”

    to say that they’re lying is pretty strong if neither you nor i have double-checked their sources. (i probably won’t — got too much on my plate, unfortunately.)

    Reply

  7. @ KRAKANOS. No, I give them credit for actually believing in the magic ponies they say they do. Arts and Humanities liberals are generally not violent people (they are enablers, but that’s a different matter.) They think guns are icky. Observe how often in gun control discussions they focus on whether others NEED those guns, and why would they WANT them. They believe that not having guns around makes people calm down and be less violent – like them.

    There is an additional dirty little secret. The many liberals who live in cities actually fear black crime, and don’t want so many guns in the hands of black people. But they can’t even think that, let alone say it. So they focus on their cultural competition for ruling America: those rural yahoos with guns, who they are simply furious with for not helping them out in this. It is culture war, of what sort of people will rule, plus a fear that cannot be named.

    Reply

  8. @staffan – “Personally I think it has more to do with alcohol. Liquor and violence seem to go hand in hand. Eastern Europe has plenty of both.”

    but what about finland? i thought that they were in a near-permanent state of picklement there? (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) (~_^) (i think the common denominator with eastern europe is: slavs.)

    There is still a major difference in prevalence though. Quote from an old blog post of mine:

    Another study found that 44% of male deaths and 20% of female deaths can be attributed to alcohol in those aged 25 to 54, including 72% of homicides, 42% of suicides and 23% of CVD’s – in total, 32% of aggregate mortality, compared with 1-4% in all sampled West European countries. Even in Finland, well known as a nation of hard drinkers, the figure was just 4%.

    Take out that 72% – and you get a figure that is much more in line with the rest of Eastern Europe (even if still towards the higher range).

    PS. Also worth noting that Russia’s homicide rate has since fallen to 10/100,000, which has coincided exactly with a reduction in alcohol consumption, especially in its vodka binge drinking form.

    PPS. Though I agree that Eastern Slav countries (I don’t know if it remains true at the pure ethnic level, e.g. descendants of Russian/Ukrainian immigrants abroad) are more criminally prone than the other white and east Asian countries – even if they are “inflated” somewhat by all the alcohol binging. The South Slav and West Slav countries, however, are pretty normal in this regard. For instance, gun ownership is very high in Serbia (for obvious reasons), but it has a very low homicide rate and one acquaintance who recently visited it remarked that its streets are remarkably safe considering that it was a warzone not that long ago.

    Reply

  9. “No Correlation Between Gun Control and Less Violent Crime” Wow. I blush to say that I am authentically surprised. I guess I had been brainwashed. Thanks. It’s good to be reminded that it happens.

    Reply

  10. @linton – “Wow. I blush to say that I am authentically surprised. I guess I had been brainwashed. Thanks. It’s good to be reminded that it happens.”

    learn something new everyday, right?! (^_^)

    Reply

  11. I belive some numbers are unaccurate here. Its likely that France, switzerland and Austria have very much more Guns than stated here as they not have registration a number Of Guns.

    Reply

  12. @håkan – “Its likely that France, switzerland and Austria have very much more Guns than stated here as they not have registration a number Of Guns.”

    you could very well be right. i’m not sure where these authors/researchers got the gun data from (i didn’t read the report that closely.)

    Reply

  13. @scharlach – “When you look at gun homicides by U.S. state, the point you’re making here is even more pronounced”

    yup! thanks. (^_^)

    Reply

  14. @hbd chick Sorry, english is not my first language.
    What I wanted to say is that level now is lower than in the past so the conclussion of the papper are not correct because are based on cherry picking (they decided to use data up to that crime fell).

    I think that the ressults are correct, but I wont accept it if are bassed on bad science.

    Reply

  15. @anonymous – “I think that the ressults are correct, but I wont accept it if are bassed on bad science.”

    always good to be skeptical! (^_^)

    Reply

  16. gun control in the UK was not about crime, it was about revolution. Previously, the Brits prevented military coups by letting people buy military officers’ commissions, thus putting the army under the command of those who did best out of the existing social arrangements. But that had been abolished well before 1914, and events since then had shown the potential for military could without the support of the officer class. So to prevent a Bolshevik revolution, the Brits disarmed the working class.

    Reply

  17. From Wikipedia, I got gun ownership per capita, and murder rates by countries. There were 174 countries which had both. There was a small negative correlation –0.155 for gun ownership and murder rates.

    Reply

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