Whenever gun control advocates talk about the need to civilize American society and finally do something about the proliferation of guns, they inevitably will point to the U.K. and Australia as places where gun bans have worked. This common misconception is spurred on by charts and statistics showing a lower rate of gun homicides in these countries than in the U.S. But that is not the whole story. While it is true that since gun bans have been implemented in those two countries the rate of gun homicides has gone down, both countries have seen steadily increasing crime rates since. At the same time the U.S. has been seeing steadily decreasing crime rates, while access to guns for protection inside the home and concealed carry has become easier for the law abiding citizen.
If you go to the website nationmaster.com, they have a database engine that can compare and contrast crime rates from different countries. For instance, if you click on this link http://www.nationmaster.com/compare/United-Kingdom/United-States/Crime, you will see a database comparison of crime rates between the UK and the US. Many of the statistics compiled are not per capita, so be careful when comparing raw numbers head to head which don’t take into account massive population size disparities. What I found most interesting is their calculations at the bottom of the page concerning the total percentage of crime victims relative to the total population. Here is the 20 country list:
The entire list can be seen here: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri_vic-crime-total-victims
|# 2||New Zealand:||29.4%|
|# 3||United Kingdom:||26.4%|
|# 8||Saint Kitts and Nevis:||23.2%|
|# 15||United States:||21.1%|
Although we need to be careful when making broad generalizations and falling into the correlation = causation fallacy, I think there are some simple observations we can extract from this data:
- All of the countries that have higher rates of crime than the United States, also have stricter gun laws or gun prohibitions in place.
- Some of the countries with lower rates of crime than the United States, most notably Switzerland, have similar rates of gun ownership as the U.S.
- The top three countries with the highest percentage of crime victims have nationwide gun bans in effect.
Again, I must re-emphasize that correlation does not necessarily mean causation, and there are many other factors that play a role in crime and crime statistics, such as the demographics of the population, effectiveness of law enforcement and government security apparatuses, societal values, religious and cultural conflicts, the effect of popular culture on youth, the availability of illicit drugs and narcotics, etc.
That being said, it is worth noting, and very interesting to me that the top three countries on the list are countries where guns are banned or severely restricted, and that no country on the top 10 list has a similar amount of gun ownership and accessibility as we do in the U.S. So unless you are a small island nation with a homogenous population like Japan, I guess the old saying is true- “An armed society is a polite society”.