NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gun-Control Laws Don't Stop Gun Crimes in Britain

August 8, 2001

An increase in firearms crimes in Britain has authorities questioning whether gun-control laws there -- among the strictest in the world -- have been misguided.

  • Criminal use of handguns in Britain has increased by almost 40 percent in three years, according to a report by the Center for Defense Studies at King's College.
  • A ban on handguns was enacted in 1997 and more than 162,000 registered firearms were turned in during an amnesty period of several months after the ban was enacted.
  • But officials estimate that at least 250,000 illegal weapons are still in circulation.
  • Armed robberies involving handguns have increased dramatically in recent years.

Although the "bobby" on the beat still patrols unarmed, specially trained armed response units of each police force are being called out more often. The number of incidents in which armed officers have responded has increased two-fold -- from about 6,000 in 1994 to 12,000 in recent years, according to media reports.

Source: Ellen Hale, "British Fear Rise of 'Gun Culture,'" USA Today, August 7, 2001.


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