The UK’s Gun Ban Works, Doesn’t It?

Gun laws in the United Kingdom have gradually over the years become more and more restrictive, to the point where today the laws and licensing requirements effectively ban private gun ownership [ref].

Yet homicide rates in the UK have been rising. Mark Easton of the BBC wrote:

If we look at the murder rate from 1967 through to the turn of the millennium, it is obvious that the prevalence of homicide has been rising. There may have been a flattening or even a slight fall in the years after the graph but the likelihood of being killed by another hand is more than double what it was forty years ago. That thin black line shows we are a more violent society. [ref]

The UK’s Firearms Act of 1998, banning ownership of all handguns, was passed in reaction to a primary school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland. Similar to the recent massacre in Newtown, CT USA, the Dunblane massacre resulted in the death of 16 children and one teacher, and numerous others were wounded [ref]. What effect has the Firearms Act of 1998 had? Joyce Lee Malcolm, professor of law at George Mason University Law School, writing in the Wall Street Journal, explains:

The results have not been what proponents of the act wanted. Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time. Moreover, another massacre occurred in June 2010. Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself. [ref]

Australia has a similar gun ban, passed also in response to a massacre. Australia also instituted a forced buy-back program where they purchased and destroyed over 631,000 guns. The result? A pre-massacre and pre-gun ban trend of declining homicides continued, but assaults, including sexual assaults, increased [ref].

Could it be that the criminals are bolder, knowing the likelihood of a defenseless victim is much higher?

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