NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 6, 2006

The gun control debate has shifted over the last 20 years. Activists pointed to Britain, Australia and Canada as models of gun control policy; however, the statistics tell a far different story, says John Barnes of the Washington Policy Center.

  • In 1997 Britain banned handguns, and between 1998 and 2003 gun crimes doubled.
  • According the British Home Office, between 1997 and 2001 homicides increased by 19 percent and violent crime increased by 26 percent; meanwhile, in the United States, those same crimes fell by 12 percent.
  • Between 2000 and 2001, robbery increased by 28 percent in Britain but only 4 percent in the United States. Domestic burglary increased by 7 percent in Britain, but only 3 percent in the United States.
  • In 1996 Australia enacted sweeping gun control laws. In the six years following, violent crime rates rose by 32 percent.
  • Canada isn't faring well under its stringent gun control laws. Today Canada's violent crime rate is more than double the rate in the United States.

During the same time, right-to-carry laws were expanding in the United States, making these statistics all the more telling. Now 40 states issue permits for individuals to carry guns and violent crime rates are steadily declining across the country. Research and common sense show that the "right-to-carry" by honest citizens deters crimes against persons and property, says Barnes.

Now even the most vocal anti-gun groups in Washington admit there is an individual right to own gun. The debates rage not over the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns, but how to keep them away from criminals, says Barnes.

Source: John Barnes, "Legal Gun Ownership Saves Lives," Washington Policy Center, May 17, 2006.


Browse more articles on Government Issues