Subj: INTERNATIONAL HOMICIDE RATES AND GUN LAWS/OWNERSHIP
Date: 7/18/2004 6:12:09 PM Eastern Standard Time
Those of you who are familiar with the paper Dr. Kohn and I presented at
the Tower of London symposium last year may remember its tables showing that
despite wildly varying gun laws and rates of gun ownership most European
nations have only slight variances in murder rates. In other words, gun laws did
not reduce murder rates nor did widespread gun ownership increase it.
Those tables were for the 1990s and matched with two different
measurements of gun ownership. I have just run across some early 2000s figures for a wider variety of nations confirming this (though for many of these nations I
have no measure of gun ownership.
These new murder rate data are given below. The asterisks indicate
clarifying discussion below the figures.
>From JURISTAT: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics pamphlet "Homicide in
Canada, 2002" by Josee Savoie at p. 3, Table titled Homicide Rates for Selected
Country Homicide Rate [per 100,000 population]
Russia 20.54 *
Luxembourg 09.01 *
England & Wales 02.01*
France 01.88 *
Tunisia 01.20 *
Switzerland 01.18 *
Austria 00.80 *
From JURISTAT: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics pamphlet "Homicide in
Canada, 2001" by Mia Dauvergne at p.3
England & Wales 01.60
Norway 00.81 *
RUSSIA: has banned handguns from the 1920s on. Over the last decade its
murder rate has been between 3 and 4 times that of the U.S.
The only reason the U.S. was once thought to have "the industrialized
world's highest murder rate" is because the Soviets suppressed and
misrepresented their rate. From 1965 to 1980 the Russian rates were slightly higher than
the U.S. rate. Since then Russian murder has steadlly increased till today it
is c. 4 times greater.
LUXEMBOURG: bans all guns. Its murder rate is often comparable to the western
European average. But in many other years it is 2-4 times higher.
ENGLAND & WALES: used to have the lowest murder rate in Europe. But since the
early 1990s its violent crime rates have steadily risen. In 1997 it banned
and confiscated all hadguns. By year 2000 its violent crime rate was double that
of the US though its homicide rate is still less -- but growing steadily
FRANCE: every law abiding householder is entitled by law and policy to have a
handgun for home defense.
TUNISIA: I wouldn't trust this murder rate figure as far as I can throw it.
SWITZERLAND: Every law abiding adult is entitled to a permit to own a
handgun, and the rate of gun ownership is among the highest in Europe.
AUSTRIA: Every law abiding adult is entitled to a permit to own a handgun.
Four times more Austrians have permits to carry handguns than do Californians
though California has four times more people -- and a murder rate 15 times
NORWAY: has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe -- and the
lowest murder rate. Compare Holland w/ the lowest rate of gun ownership and a
murder rate double Norway's.
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