Gun Control in Britain

Americans looking to more strongly regulate guns might want to consider the reality of my country, Britain which outlawed public handgun ownership in 1997 following massacres at Dunblane and Hungerford — a vastly more severe measure than anything on the table in America. Certainly, the two cases are nothing like identical. America is widely different demographically, culturally and geographically, and Britain banned guns fifteen years ago in a different political and cultural era.

Yet in Britain’s specific case, gun killings have not fallen since the introduction of the handgun ban:

homicides_committed_firearms_england_wales

And overall homicides significantly spiked following the handgun ban, although have more recently fallen back:

numberofhomicides_englandwales

Correlation, of course, does not imply causation. The level of violence in a country is likely determined more than anything else by the cultural, social and economic climate, not by legislation (which is why Mexico which has strong gun control laws can have a vastly higher rate of violence than the United States).

On the other hand, what this does show is that banning gun ownership is in itself no panacea for violent crime and gun crime, underlining the reality that those with criminal intent who want to get guns will still get guns whether or not they are legal to the wider public.

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