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December 23, 2012


"The purpose of gun control is to prevent violent gun deaths, not to be a panacea for everything that’s wrong with society."

The purpose of a gun is to deter or prevent murder, home invasion, robbery, assault, or rape. Therefore an increase in the rate of these crimes IS absolutely relevant to any discussion of gun control.

HS: So yes, less guns means less people getting killed by guns. This is a huge duh!!!

Gun control worked great in CT and DC. It also works great in Chicago, NY, etc.

If you isolate for race, pop density, etc., I'm sure the stats would show something different. But, even if you're not any less likely to be a victim of violence, at least you have a fighting chance when you are.

Anecdotal, but I've lived in both pro and anti gun states. I found that interactions/confrontations between people in ccw states to be way more level-headed and calm.

"That’s a huge difference. Because the United States is much stricter at keeping the criminal element behind bars,"

Your conclusion is totally off.

The difference in incarceration rates indeed comes from our War on Drugs, idiotic Three-Strikes-type laws, which waste untold hundreds of billions over decades putting nonviolent offenders behind bars, which accounts for some 49% of the existing prison population nationally and 75% of new admittants to the state prison system.

A guy who stole his third Twinkie or got caught with a few joints is not likely going to be a gun-wielding criminal.

I'm curious how much of an effect the UK's insularity has on smuggling guns into the country. After all, it's got to be a lot easier to prevent them from coming on to an island than into the third largest country in the world with something like 7,000 miles of land border, most of it wilderness and unprotected. I think the sheer size of the border, our large population, and our history of gun ownership, would make any ban in the US nearly impossible to enforce.

The UK is only about 2% black. Just saying.

You linked to the table for "incarceration rate" rather than the intended "murder rate".

Also, from the table on "firearm related deaths": wouldn't it make more sense to look at "homicides by firearm" rather than "total firearm deaths" (the majority of which are suicides)?

Doing this doesn't entirely change the point you were trying to make, but does imply that the UK has twice the rate of non-firearm homicides than the US. There does appear to be a bit of substitution occurring.

Intentional homicides-
US- 4.2
UK- 1.2

Firearm homicides-
US- 3.7
UK- 0.04

Non-Firearm homicides-
US- 0.5
UK- 1.16

"Commenters cited the United Kingdom as some sort of evidence that gun control doesn’t work. As you may or may not know, the United Kingdom has strict left-wing gun control laws.

The United States has an annual murder rate of 4.2 (per 100,000), vs only 1.2 for the United Kingdom. Pretty big difference."

The point they were making was that the rise in "diversity" is what's been driving up the UK gun crime rate, not access to guns. If the rate of gun crime in Britain has been increasing alongside with non-white immigration then the reason the UK has a lower crime rate is because they have less criminal minorities than us, and not because they have gun laws.

Republicans should be more concerned with Liberals attempting to weaken our prison system.

Indeed gun nuts who say "guns must be free and legal no matter" and "gun crimes still happen in countries with highly restrictive guns laws" are falling for the Fallacy of the Perfect Solution (as well as using anecdotes more so than statistics).

This is an HBD blog. What are you doing? You should know that you need to compare the United States to a country that is demographically similar. The US is not demographically similar. GBR is 2% black african for instance. GBR is well over 90% white. The US color difference is especially stark among the younger age groups where crime is mainly the issue.

And Britain is a nanny state where people are much less free. How fun.

There was a large difference in the gun crime rate between the two countries before either enacted strict gun control laws.

It pays to remember there are no well controlled social experiments on this scale.

Any discussion of crime rates that does not account for race is worthless. What is the murder rate for White Americans and for Britons?

The murder rate in the UK has always been lower than the US, even before gun control. Comparing the two is somewhat apples and oranges. More relevant, I think, is what happened to rates after gun control went into effect. Have a look, http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp#crime

Those statistics are kinda freaky. For example, in western countries, guns are more likely to be used to kill oneself than to kill another.

I also find myself wondering what the difference is between countries like USA and Switzerland and Finnland. All three (with USA being in the lead a lot) have high rates of gun possession. Yet while USA has an incarceration rate of 730, those two have 76 and 59 appropriately, and a gun related death rate about 35-36% of USA's.

I'm fairly sure that the difference in ownership rate, while significant, does not account for the disparity in incarceration - though possibly it does account for the difference in gun-related deaths.

So. Are Americans inherently unusually criminal?

What are the NAM and non NAM incarceration rates of the two countries? Because that's relevant.

Has any large democratic country successfully transitioned from permissive gun laws and widespread ownership to restrictive laws and limited ownership?

AFAIK, the UK never had a situation where a large segment of society was armed. Restriction is much easier when you start from a low baseline.

The US and the UK have different demographics. Tha should explain the difference. What percentage of the US population is, well let´s say dysfunctional compared to the UK? You should look into this, Siggie.

"The UK is only about 2% black. Just saying."

The Pakis commit most of the crime in Britain, while the blacks are mostly law-abiding.

Gun rights are in the constitution.

If we want to get rid of rights because of harm done, may I suggest that we prohibit men from being allowed to to screw each other in the rectum?

This bloody, fecal habit has led to millions of deaths worldwide because men having their way with each others' bottoms has been one of the main vectors for the transmission of AIDs. Rates for these men is something like 50 times what it is for everyone else.

Deaths due to men frolicking in each others backsides has certainly exceeded firearms deaths in many years.



We must act now to stop the senseless loss of life.

HS, you and the other members of the reality-based community should find this article interesting:


Of course, he's a member of the evil leftist academia, but it helps to make an effort to use numbers and not base one's opinions on personal prejudice.

One should always be careful of comparing crime statistics among countries. I remember learning that in Japan, if someone goes crazy and kills his family and himself, all of the deaths will be listed as suicides.

Blue Willow is right. If one is going to compare murder rates, one has to compare apples to apples. Normalizing such that the white* American murder rate is 1,

.88*1 +.12*6 = 1.6
.98*.1 = 1.1
1.6/1.1 = 1.45

We would expect the UK's murder rate to be about 2/3 the US rate. But it's actually about a quarter, so probably something the UK does makes a big difference.

The murder rate for white-whites is actually lower bcz hispanics are mostly non-white by race and totally non-white by ethnicity.

According to this, the UK has 4x the violent crime rate of the US: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html

Maybe it would have less violent crime if it had more guns? Maybe most of the higher US homicide rate is criminals killing each other, which leads to fewer criminals than we'd have otherwise, and fewer instances of other sorts of violent crimes?

[HS: Per the article you linked to, the UK is more likely to count an "affray" where no one was hurt as a "violent" crime. The actual number of deaths resulting from UK "violence" is much less than in the United States. Plus, the UK seems to have crappy law enforcement compared to the US.]

The problem is it is EASY to kill a bunch of elementary school kids and their teacher with ANY firearm. You don't even need a firearm. A sword, good-sized knife, hatchet or even club will get the job done. Armed guards, unless there is one outside of each classroom won't get the job done either. And putting away all obviously insane people won't prevent these killings. Nor will eliminating all violence in movies, TV, and video games. Doing ALL these things won't absolutely prevent such things from happening.

A Rochester man just shot up some firefighters in New York state. Talk about it.

"The Pakis commit most of the crime in Britain, while the blacks are mostly law-abiding."

And the blacks come out mostly at night...Mostly.

If the statistics doe not control for race, it doesn't mean much.

You of all people should know that.

No one talks about how most of the gun homicides are gang or drug related slayings. These mass shooting sprees is still rare in the US.

"If you isolate for race, pop density, etc., I'm sure the stats would show something different."

"you need to compare the United States to a country that is demographically similar."

You can break it down by state.


Hawaii 1.2
New Hampshire 1.3
Rhode Island 1.3
Vermont 1.3
Minnesota 1.4
Iowa 1.5
Iowa 1.5
Utah 1.9
Idaho 2.3

cases per 100,000
El Paso 0.8
Lincoln 0.8
Plano 1.4

UK 1.1
USA 4.7

England vs USA

Over a period of three years near the end of the 19th century, "there were only 59 fatalities from handguns in a population of nearly 30 million people," according to Professor Malcolm. "Of these, 19 were accidents, 35 were suicides and only three were homicides -- an average of one a year."

"In 1954, there were only a dozen armed robberies in London but, by the 1990s, there were more than a hundred times as many"

"The Pakis commit most of the crime in Britain, while the blacks are mostly law-abiding."

Have you a source for this rather surprising assertion?


"Compared to 1960, the year our analysis
begins, we estimate that without these developments in medical
technology there would have been between 45,000 and 70,000
homicides annually the past 5 years instead of an actual 15,000 to

Crime in New York in 1875


6 were held for trial. ...
last year ... 1 was held for trial

54 were held for trial

36 were held for trial"


1874: none

1875: William Thompson, Hanging

1876: Johnny Dolan, Hanging

Quote: "The United States has an annual murder rate of 4.2 (per 100,000), vs only 1.2 for the United Kingdom."

Might this have something to do with the fact that there are fewer blacks and Hispanics in Britain than in the United States?


>>>So yes, less guns means less people getting killed by guns. This is a huge duh!!!

Almost every country has fewer guns than Switzerland (which has tons of "assault rifles") so your logic means that almost every country has fewer gun deaths than Switzerland. This is a huge duh!!!

You should blog at DKos. You're really good at their kinda thing.

US had vastly higher rate of violent crime than UK before EITHER had gun control. Please google "longitudinal" repeat "longitudinal". People and culture matter much.more than laws. Americans of UK ancestry have rate of violent crime like the UK. White Minnesotans famously act like their Norwegian cousins. Americans and Brits of west African ancestry commit crimes at west African rates.

Gun control laws can't be shown to correlate with the difference. If it PRECEDED the laws, they didn't cause it. Or have you invented a time machine? All repeat all of the difference PRECEDED REPEAT PRECEDED REPEAT AGAIN PRECEDED all REPEAT ALL I SAID ALL DO YOU HEAR ME gun control laws in tbe UK.

Sorry, the same innumerate aistorical preposterous nonsense gets old after a few hundred repetitions.

"The Pakis commit most of the crime in Britain, while the blacks are mostly law-abiding."



Looks like in UK, blacks are 2.7% of the population and 13.7% of prisoners. For "Asians," which includes Pakis, the numbers are like 5 and 7.


"Have you a source for this rather surprising assertion?"

Me suspect he don't.

But just you ask him about pubic hairs and he's a veritable encyclopedia of wisdom!

Others have commented on how silly it is to make cross-demographic, cross-cultural comparisions. New Hampshire and Vermont -- "gun nut" states with the least gun control -- have murder rates lower than the UK.

Oh, and let's not forget that the murder rate was also much lower in the UK BEFORE they had control.

anon regarding David Hemenway:
> He also happens to live in a state with strong
> gun laws. "It’s nice," he says, "to have
> raised my son in Massachusetts, where he is
> so much safer."

Um, not safer than neighboring NH and VT that have murder rates that are less than half that of MA. For a reality-based scientist, Hemenway seems to be pretty clueless about the relevant data.

So right off the bat we know that 1) he isn't aware of the crime rates in MA and neighboring states and 2) he's strongly biased against gun rights.

I love the way this clown wastes a few pages of ink about how he's transcending the whole gun debate before launching into a recitation of the most trite cliches of the gun ban lobby.

He is also completely oblivious to the importance of demographics.

Gun control is an area where researchers and journalists seem to throw away their professionalism and give up any pretense of objectivity from square one.

Take for instance the way that "firearms deaths" statistics so often conflate homicide and suicide in the U.S. but NOT in the comparison countries despite the fact that the COMBINED murder and homicide rate is lower in the U.S. than in France, Germany, Belgium and Finland.


Anyway, David Kopel and the good folks at GunCite.com have compiled the best antidote to all of the bogus stats and biased research.


HS, avid reader here, you are being startlingly unrigorous in your approach.

Among the United States, there is no relationship, positive or negative, between % gun ownership and homicide rate.


Among European nations, there is no relationship between guns per capita and murder rates.


Although not all jurisdictions publish data for percent of crimes committed with firearms, the experience of Chicago after its handgun ban is useful. Murder rates appear unaffected, and the proportion of murders committed with handguns actually increased.



Didn't the UK have an extremely low violent crime rate back when its people were permitted to own firearms? Obviously something else changed which is must more important to overall social harm of violent crime than whether guns are banned or not.

please no more of these gun trolling posts

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