What relationships exist between crime and firearm ownership? Should we do something?

At this moment there are three gun-related threads open with the same people making the same arguments, and in all cases, the posts are not related to the OP.

I’m tired of going back and forth and frustrated cause we can’t crosspost, so I propose we take all the arguments here. I believe that I have the basic argument in the title, but I am open to expansion beyond this OP if the participants agree to it.

I think this will be easier, more clear and will help us make some headway.


Well, it’s just me, but I suspect that law-abiding gun owners, currently in posession of their firearms, are among the least-likely to be victims of crime. :smiley:

And people who have gone through the process of registering their guns, obtaining whatever local licenses are needed, and passed a gun-saftey course are statisticly much less likely than average to commit a crime with a gun.

Of course that doesn’t really matter, since guns are eeeeeeeeevilll. :rolleyes:

Do you have some kind of hypothesis you’re working with here? Are you looking for

(a.) People who own guns are less likely to commit crimes, or
(b.) People who own guns are less likely to be victims of crimes?

I would say other factors, such as ethnicity(within the US, blacks & and to a lesser degree Hispanics), population density, or certain cultural conditions (like a Communist past or fundemtalist Islamic elements) are much better predictors of crime rate than firearm ownership. Look at Swizterland - they have very high per capita gun ownership, yet few crimes. In the US the murder rate of whites is 3.4 per 100,000. This is compable to many European nations, where guns are highly restricted.

Now, as to why blacks in the US commit murder at a vastly disproportionate rates, well, I suspect poverty & gang culture would be the main causes.

A UK perspective here.

Murder rate per 100000:
US: 8.4

Murders committed with handguns annually:
US: 8915
UK: 7

Cite: http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/8Comparison.htm

There is no serious pressure to suggest gun control legislation should be relaxed in the UK. Statistics such as those provided above curtail debate pretty effectively.


That would surprise me a lot, considering that they must be the primary victims of gun theft.

In Japan rates for both violent crime and robbery have been rising over the past few years, but are still much, much lower than in the US…or most of the rest of the world. There are many reasons for this, but it’s certainly not because there are more law-abiding gun owners. Gun laws in Japan are so strict that there’s hardly any such thing as a law-abiding gun owner. It’s pretty much just the military and the police that have 'em legally, and of course the yakuza has 'em illegally. The old “…only outlaws will have guns” saying is largely a reality, and strangely enough it seems to have worked out pretty well for the Japanese. I don’t know if things would play out the same way in the US, but it’s certainly possible to have both a low crime rate and an unarmed general population.

Probably very little. There are 80,000,000 firearm owners in the US.

Should we do something?

To address the OP. No. The anti-gun folks are a cure looking for a problem.

Actually, THIS POST in This Thread says,

So, that seems to indicate that the lower murder rate in the UK is attributable to something other than number of firearms owned or number of gun bans enacted.

As I have posted elsewhere, starting with this post and continuing throughout that thread, that the number of guns owned and the types and quantity of gun laws enacted actually have less effect upon the crime rate than the respective cultures do.

Also check out this post on culture and feel free to bring any comments back here.

I think it is *quite * obvious that it is the behavioural factors (i.e., the culture) that makes all the difference. We have seen, from posts in several of the threads relating to firearms that reducing the numbers of guns through confiscation has only a small effect on the numbers of violent crimes committed (although it does seem to raise the *burgulary * rate significantly! The UK, NZ and Australia have rising burgulary rates since gun confiscation that are recently up to 200% to over 300% as high as the US).

And how do we change a culture? The best known way is to offer incentives for change. make it more difficult to be a criminal, make it easier and more rewarding to be a law abiding citizen. Reduce unemployment, make it easier to survive when unemployed but less rewarding (throw food and housing, not money, and require active jobseeking). Use effective punishment for crime. Remove repeat criminals from society. Sure, it’s harder than banning guns, and it’s more expensive, but it’s light-years more effective.

When gun thefts occur, they must occur either from the military, police, gun manufacturers, gunshops or gun owners, of course. No argument on that.

But those countries that have had firearms confiscation seem to have a higher burgulary rate than the U.S. It has been suggested that their rising burgulary rate is due, at least in part, to the fact that they are unlikely to encounter any effective resistance from their unarmed victims.

From This Site

Crime: Burglaries (per capita, 1000 people)

**1. Australia 22.13 ** Most guns banned and confiscated
2. Dominica 18.62
3. Denmark 18.49
4. Finland 16.87
**5. New Zealand 16.62 ** Most guns banned and confiscated
6. Estonia 16.52
**7. United Kingdom 13.91 ** Most guns banned and confiscated
8. Poland 9.44
9. South Africa 9.22
10. Canada 9.11
11. Iceland 8.57
12. Montserrat 8.56
13. Switzerland 8.25 Gun ownership required
14. Slovenia 8.24
15. Czech Republic 7.24
*16. United States 7.23 * Gun ownership relatively easy

We have always had a very low level of gun ownership in the UK even prior to the more stringent regulations enforced post Dunblane. It is also true that we have always had a much lower murder rate. I cannot prove that that these two phenomena are linked but I would be surprised if they were not. The weight of opinion supporting this view is such that I doubt we will ever pass legislation that would allow widespread private gun ownership. For this I am grateful.

There’s got to be more to it than that. According to your link, Japan comes in at #29 (2.33 per 1000 people), considerably below the US and Switzerland. Hong Kong, which also has strict gun laws, is at #36 (1.21 per 1000 people). There aren’t any burglary stats given for Germany, but Germany has lower per capita crime rates than the US for all forms of theft and violent crime that are listed…although interestingly enough it does come in at #1 in the world for fraud.

**sinical brit ** posted these stats in another thread to try and show the US was the most violent country.

A check of the web site shows that he was not referring the the PER CAPITA statistics, which are more meaningful, ans which show a different picture:

One example, from the same site

  1. Dominican Republic 16.63 deaths per 1 million people
  2. Colombia 12.43 deaths per 1 million people
  3. Belize 11.25 deaths per 1 million people
  4. Brazil 9.35 deaths per 1 million people
  5. Luxembourg 6.60 deaths per 1 million people
  6. Estonia 4.96 deaths per 1 million people
  7. Venezuela 4.09 deaths per 1 million people
  8. United States 3.67 deaths per 1 million people

The US is eighth! not first, and the difference is significant!

A quick check of the other stats shows similar results, too.

An interesting graph to check out is this page from the same site It show just the US, and lists different rates of mortality.

In the assault section alone, more people die from assault with a sharp object than assault with handguns.

Check 'em out first hand. Don’t rely on my take, and don’t rely on sinical britt’s!

That’s not correct. People are able to own guns here in Australia, including rifles and pistols. Automatics are banned and semi-automatics are restricted (though I believe there are some exceptions).

Neither have we confiscated many guns, even the banned ones - the vast majority of these (around a million) were voluntarily handed in and most of these were bought back by the government for an average price of around $500 AUD.

There are still about three million legally owned guns in Australia, most used for hunting and sports etc. However, since we’ve tightened our laws we haven’t had another huge massacre and overall gun crime rates are well down.

Anecdotally speaking, I don’t know of any spree of burglaries. I’d like to see the full cite for that one. Even if there is such a spree, how could it be linked to our gun laws? Wouldn’t a hunting rifle or a pistol be just as effective at stopping crime - as I said above, we still have millions of those?

I honestly don’t care about this, I just want to make a couple of comments about statistics:

First of all: in most of Europe the murder rate per 100 000 is between 1.0 and 1.3. In the US the murder rate is between 5 and 6 per 100 000. Data is in plenty in earlier posts.

Secondly, I would like to mention that several countries around the world has a higher gun ownership rate per household than the US (which stands at 35%, 2001), often due to mandatory military service followed by Reservist status. BUT, most countries have strict laws requiring that guns are kept locked in and/or that ammo are stored seperately from guns. And finally, legally carrying a concealed weapon in public is pretty much out of the question everywhere.

The core data:

[li]In 2001, there were 29,573 gun-related deaths in the United States … 57% (16,869) of all gun deaths were suicides and 38% (11,348) were homicides[/li][li]Of all homicides in 2001 [excluding 9/11], 65% of the homicides occurred by firearms [and: of all firearm homicides in 2002 in which the type of gun was known, 77% were committed with handguns][/li][li]The rate of firearm homicide in the United States is 19 times higher than that of 35 other high-income countries combined[/li][li]In 2000, the non-firearm suicide rath among children aged 14 or below was 0.35 in both the US and elsewhere, but the firearm suicide rate was 0.45 in the US and 0.05 elsewhere.[/li][/ul]
Some interesting figures:

[li]A study of women physically abused by current or former intimate partners revealed a 5-fold increased risk of the partner murdering the woman when the partner owned a firearm[/li][li]In homes with guns, the homicide of a household member is about 3 times more likely to occur than in homes without guns.[/li][li]Analysis of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reveals average of about 108,000 defensive uses of guns in 1994, as compared with more than one million violent crimes committed with guns in that year. Gun violence researchers have criticized other private surveys that show many more defensive gun uses each year.[/li][/ul]
The relationship between crime and firearms:

[li]One-gun-a-month: A 1993 Virginia law limits handgun purchases to one per person per month. An evaluation of that law demonstrated that after the law took effect, Virginia was significantly less often the source state for crime guns used in other states.[/li][li]Handgun Ban: A 1976 law in Washington, DC virtually banning new handgun sales or ownership was associated with an approximately 25% decline in both gun homicides and suicides in the first 10 years following the law’s passage. There was no similar reduction in non-firearm homicide or suicide during the same time period.[/li][li]CCW: Laws making it easier to carry concealed weapons have not decreased homicide rates and may have contributed to increases in homicides.[/li][li]Domestic Violence Purchase Restrictions: Recent research indicates that laws to restrict firearm access for batterers subject to restraining orders are associated with an 11% reduction in rates of intimate partner homicide of women.[/li][/ul]
Cite for firearms data (Johns Hopkins University):
Copy of cite for suicide data (original: Harvard Injury Control Research Center):

There’s also a study comparing crime in high gun areas with low gun areas in the US, titled: “Rates of Household Firearm Ownership and Homicide Across US Regions and States, 1988-1997”, published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study can be bought here. There seems to be a text copy available here (warning: FreeRepublic, includes web-discussion). Quoting:

I read where the Aussie Govt. was paying a miniscule amount for those guns that were banned and turned in.
Perhaps you can give us the full monty? All the details? What is banned, what is allowed and how much was paid for turned in guns (I heard an average of $A200)? (Which is sure a lot less than they are worth…)

And, do you have any clue why Australia is the burgulary capital of the world?

Not exactly an unbiased research center, but thank you for the statistics! They certainly do require careful study.

What? I just posted this information! What’s allowed, what’s banned, how much paid, how many turned in. If you want more specific info on what is banned, I believe it includes semi-automatics such as high capacity self-loading rimfire rifles, self-loading centrefire rifles and shotguns and pump-action shotguns.

I don’t think Australia IS the burglary capital of the world. I asked for a cite for this. Even if it was, I fail to see how that could be linked to the banning of some semi-automatics, as discussed in my first post.

My bad, chops. Yes you did, guess I was distracted or something. My sincere apologies.

Point: If a gun is banned and turned in “voluntarily,” as far as I am concerned, this is confiscation. “Turn in your gun and get $A500 or go to jail.” That’s not what Americans call voluntary.

Sounds like all your self-loading forearms and pump-action shotguns got banned. What do you have left? Bolt-action and single shot? What about pistols? Revolvers? Autoloading pistols?

And I DID give a cite for the fact that Aus is the burgulary capital of the world.

Please go to This Web Site which also has access to tons of other statistics. As far as burgularies, Australia is the highest per capita, with 22.13 per thousand people.

This is from: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_bur_cap

Crime: Burglaries (per capita, 1000 people)

  1. Australia 22.13
  2. Dominica 18.62
  3. Denmark 18.49
  4. Finland 16.87
  5. New Zealand 16.62
  6. Estonia 16.52
  7. United Kingdom 13.91
  8. Poland 9.44
  9. South Africa 9.22
  10. Canada 9.11
  11. Iceland 8.57
  12. Montserrat 8.56
  13. Switzerland 8.25
  14. Slovenia 8.24
  15. Czech Republic 7.24
  16. United States 7.23

So what do you think the cause IS, lambchops? Too many strange animals? The heat? The amiable manner of Aussies? Flying saucers?

Everyone’s ready to blame all of the US’s crime rates on guns, so how’s this different?