NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 7, 2008

After the Washington, D.C., gun ban went into effect, Washington's murder rate skyrocketed, says the New Hampshire Union Leader.  As Reason magazine's Brian Doherty pointed out last week, "Washington's per-capita murder rate has exceeded the rate in 1976 (when the ban passed) every year but one since then.   For 10 of the last 30 years, its murder rate was more than twice as high as in 1976."

Gun bans don't reduce murders, says the Union Leader. The National Center for Policy Analysis has noted, "New Jersey adopted what sponsors described as 'the most stringent gun law' in the nation in 1966; two years later, the murder rate was up 46 percent and the reported robbery rate had nearly doubled."

New Hampshire's rate of gun ownership is more than twice Massachusetts's rate. But Massachusetts's murder rate is a percentage point higher than New Hampshire's:

  • FBI data for 2006 (the last year with complete data) show that 111 of Massachusetts's 185 murders (60 percent) were committed with a firearm.
  • But in New Hampshire, with more than double the gun ownership rate, only three of 12 murders were committed with a firearm -- a rate of 25 percent.
  • According to news reports, of the 19 homicides in New Hampshire last year, just 10 (53 percent) were committed with firearms.
  • FBI studies have shown that only 26 percent of violent crimes involve a weapon -- and only about 6 percent involve a firearm.

Clearly, murders and other violent crimes are not the result of average people having firearms at hand. Still, some people are and always will be terrified of guns. That cannot be helped. What we need to avoid is letting those irrational fears guide public policy, as they did in the District of Columbia for three decades, helping turn that city into one of America's most dangerous, says the Union Leader.

Source: Editorial, "Guns and Crime: Where are the New D.C. Shootouts?" New Hampshire Union Leader, July 7, 2008.

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