Gun ownership and violent crime

From Cato’s David Lampo writing in May 2000:

© simonov

The 31 states that have “shall issue” laws allowing private citizens to carry concealed weapons have, on average, a 24 percent lower violent crime rate, a 19 percent lower murder rate and a 39 percent lower robbery rate than states that forbid concealed weapons. In fact, the nine states with the lowest violent crime rates are all right-to-carry states. Remarkably, guns are used for self-defense more than 2 million times a year, three to five times the estimated number of violent crimes committed with guns.

Statistically, guns don’t kill people

From the Guardian, of all places, and in the context of the Aurora shooting:

The key facts are:

• The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – an average of 88 per 100 people. That puts it first in the world for gun ownership – and even the number two country, Yemen, has significantly fewer – 54.8 per 100 people
• But the US does not have the worst firearm murder rate – that prize belongs to Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica. In fact, the US is number 28, with a rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people

with thanks to Diego Mendes.

As the Guardian says, facts are sacred.

UK Murder Rate higher than some US States

In the relentless propaganda war currently being waged against the 2nd Amendment, Americans are being led to believe, often by one of the British journalists who seem to infest US television, that things are so much better back in the Old Country, where the people have been almost totally disarmed. Not so, cry the gun advocates, who are not short of statistical arguments, although they sometimes struggle to be heard over the sound and fury of the interviewer.

The United States being so different than the UK, there are certainly ways to toss numbers around that support CNN etc’s unholy crusade to disarm America, and there are other ways to present the evidence which ought to make the average American stop and think very carefully, before throwing away his hard-won birthright, all other things aside.

Therefore, let us imagine that the United States gained a couple of extra states; England & Wales (as one) and Scotland. This is usually how statistics are gathered in the UK (Scotland has a separate legal system, amongst other things). For the year 2011, the murder rate per 100,000 people for England & Wales was 1.35 and for Scotland 2.34.

As the graph shows, there are four US states with a lower murder rate than England & Wales, namely Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and an additional six which are lower than Scotland, those being Minnesota, Iowa, Utah, Maine, Oregan and Idaho, with Wisconsin, Washington and South Dakota not far behind.

So, it is certainly the case that the UK, taken as a whole, is less dangerous murder-wise, than the US, taken as a whole, but then this was always the case, including back in the days when guns were freely available and unrestricted (and, I might add, punishments for actual crimes, committed with or without a firearm were considerably more stringent than today). It is also noteworthy that some of the least dangerous US states are those with the least amount of gun control – but then y’all knew that, right?

The US statistics were taken from this source and this map. The UK figures were stated in this Guardian article. The UK figures are from a slightly earlier period, after which they increased marginally.

UPDATE: In response to various comments, please note: There are 50 states in the USA. The graph above does not show them all, it shows the lower end. I would have thought this was obvious, but apparently not …