NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Comparing Guns And Crime In England And The U.S.

August 7, 2002

"Guns and Violence," a new book by Joyce Lee Malcolm, published by Harvard Press, delves into the question of whether more or fewer guns result in more or less crime. She attempts to answer it by comparing the experiences of England with those of the U.S.

  • She finds that since England started severely regulating guns in the middle of the 20th century, that country's rates of violent crime have been on the rise.
  • The situation has become so bad that, according to 1995 figures, the English are at far greater risk of assault, burglary and robbery than Americans.
  • In the U.S., states which allow the carrying of concealed weapons have experienced a reduction in crime.
  • And while American firearms legislation has continued to loosen on a state level, U.S. rates of violent crimes have been falling since 1991 -- hitting a 30-year low in 1999.

Oddly though, England has a reputation for low rates of violent crime, while the U.S. has a reputation for high rates. The facts show that neither reputation has been earned.

Source: Kimberley A. Strassel, "Bookshelf: Bearing Arms, Keeping the Peace," Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2002.


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