Harvard College has done a study on the effects of gun control, printed in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and found that murder rates do not wane because of gun control. Rather, “the determinants of murder and suicide are basic social, economic, and cultural factors, not the prevalence of some form of deadly mechanism.” The study found that where guns are unavailable as murder weapons, other tools are substituted. It further found that some countries with low rates of gun ownership still have quite high murder rates. The study mostly focused on European countries when comparing rates of gun ownership to murder rates.
Russia had one of the lowest rates of gun ownerships at 4,000 gun owners per 100,000 people, yet the murder rate is 20.54 per 100,000 people. On the reverse side of these stats was Finland with 39,000 gun owners per 100,000 residents, and a murder rate of 1.98 per 100,000. But again, murder rates seem more related to other factors than directly related to high or low gun ownership. Austria had the lowest murder rate with .8 murders per 100,000 and 17,000 gun owners per 100,000 people. Norway had the second lowest murder rate (.8 per 100,000) and the second highest gun ownership (36,000 per 100,000). Though Luxembourg offers a small sample size, it had the second highest murder rate of countries studied of 9.01 murders per 100,000 residents, and virtual 0 gun ownership due to strict gun regulations.
Some other tid bits from the study include the following:
- “data on fire‐ arms ownership by constabulary area in England,” like data from the United States, show “a negative correlation,” that is, “where firearms are most dense violent crime rates are lowest, and where guns are least dense violent crime rates are high‐ est.”
- [Another] misconception about the relationship between fire‐ arms and violence attributes Europe’s generally low homicide rates to stringent gun control. That attribution cannot be accu‐ rate since murder in Europe was at an all‐time low before the gun controls were introduced.
- In 2004, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences released its evaluation from a review of 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and some original empirical research. It failed to identify any gun control that had reduced violent crime, sui‐ cide, or gun accidents. The same conclusion was reached in 2003 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s review of then‐ extant studies.
- In the late 1990s, England moved from stringent controls to a complete ban of all handguns and many types of long guns. Hundreds of thousands of guns were confiscated from those owners law‐abiding enough to turn them in to authorities. Without suggesting this caused violence, the ban’s ineffective‐ ness was such that by the year 2000 violent crime had so in‐ creased that England and Wales had Europe’s highest violent crime rate, far surpassing even the United States.
- On the one hand, despite constant and substantially increasing gun ownership, the United States saw progressive and dramatic re‐ ductions in criminal violence in the 1990s. On the other hand, the same time period in the United Kingdom saw a constant and dramatic increase in violent crime to which England’s response was ever‐more drastic gun control including, eventually, banning and confiscating all handguns and many types of long guns. Nevertheless, criminal violence rampantly increased so that by 2000 England surpassed the United States to become one of the developed world’s most violence‐ridden nations.
So now a Harvard study can join the ranks with the CDC study of scientific evidence that banning guns, reducing firearm ownership through law, or initiating stricter gun control will bear no positive effects, and will likely lead to more violent crime. I hope the pro-gun control zealots will begin to be recognized for what they are, deniers of science. I hope as the facts in studies like these slowly leak out through non-traditional media, more and more people will realize that emotional pleas to ban guns are just that, emotional, and not logical. But following emotional pleas for gun control will in fact result in more violence, more death, and more victims. It is a basic human right to be able to protect oneself against those who would do us harm, and initiate force against us; it only makes sense to have the best tools available for the job.