Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gun Control, Part II

Let's take a look at some numbers, the ones supplied by the FBI in the annual Uniform Crime Report.

This chart shows the nation's homicides from 1991 through 2005. The number of murders peaked in 2003 at 23,180; there were 16,136 murders committed by some kind of firearm.

The very next year the US experienced a downward trend in the incidence of murder.

By 1999 murders had decreased by 45% to 12,658. The number of firearm-related murders also decreased by 45% to 8,259. By 2005 the number of murders reported through the country had increased to 14,860 - a 17% increase from 1999, but still 36% lower than 1993 levels. Firearm-related murder also increased to 10,100 - a 22% increase over 1999 levels but still 37% lower than 1993.

Compare this to the Australian experience.

"There was a decrease of almost 30% in the number of homicides by firearms from 1997 to 1998."-- Australian Crime - Facts and Figures 1999.

Australian Institute of Criminology. Canberra, Oct 1999

This is what the Aussies reported after banning virtually all firearms after the 1995 Port Arthur incident. The US did even better by significantly increasing the availability of firearms after thirty states loosened former restrictions on firearms, particularly handguns. Eventually the Aussies got a handle on this and the number of robberies decreased, but violent crime on the whole has been troublesome for them. From the same source:

"Although armed robberies increased by nearly 20%, the number of armed robberies involving a firearm decreased to a six-year low."-- Recorded Crime,Australia, 1998. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Jun 1999

If this isn't hiding your head in the sand (or ramming it up some other orifice) I don't know what is. Since the Australian government has effectively disarmed the entire potential victim population, Aussie criminals no longer have to fear being shot, they can now rob their chosen victims at their leisure. Aussie criminals can use knives, bats, bricks, fists, anything they please.

In the US, violent index crime totals have decreased by 27% in the past fifteen years, 1991 to 2005 (from 1,911,767 to 1,390,695). Homicide is down by 32% (from 24,703 to 16,692), Forcible Rape is down by 12% (from 106,593 to 93,394), Robbery is down by 39% (from 687,732 to 417,122) and Aggravated Assualt is down by 21% (from 1,092,739 to 862,947). My source is the FBI UCR home page here.

With the exception of murder, the violent crime rate (rape, robbery and felony assault) in Australia has risen dramatically since they disarmed their civilians. The accompanying graph illustrates this point. For a better view pleaase go here. The solid dark blue line is England and Wales. The upper dotted line is Canada and the faded lower dotted line is the US. The very short light blue line is Australia.

These are the violent crime rates per 100,000 English speaking populations for the past thirty-eight years.

It shows that the US has considerably lower crime rates than England, Wales, Canada and Australia. What is really interesting is that Australia only gives violent crime rates since 1995. That's the Port Arthur incident.

I suspect the reason why they neglect to give this information prior to 1995 is it would show that the violent crime rate has skyrocketed since they banned handguns.

England only gives their crime rate since 1980. They may have serious reporting issues that make it difficult for them to carry over crime stats from earlier years and older systems. However, the Brits were accused of changing their reporting system in part to make it harder to track the increase in violent crime throughout the remnants of the Empire. In this most recent edition of the British Crime Survey, the government reports a total of 2,420,000 violent offenses in 2005/06. That is 74% higher than the 2005 violent index crime totals reported in the UCR (2,420,000 versus 1,390,695). However the reporting systems are not similar (surveys v. reported crimes to the police) so it is not wise to draw too many inferences from the disparities.

Moreover, according to a UN report, England, Wales and Scotland now enjoy the reputation as the most violent nations on the planet.

Both Australia and New Zealand had the next highest proportion of assaults among their population at 2.4%, exactly double the level reported for the United States.

And my point? Simply this.

In light of what has transpired in other coutries that have prohibited their civilian populations from possessing handguns and other firearms, we better examine more closely what the anti-gun lobby wants to do here in the US.

For my two cents I say "Hell no!"

If there is anyone who wants to see the raw data, just leave me your email address in the comments section. I'll send the Excel spreadsheets in the manner you determine best for your system resources.

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