The Newtown, Conn. school shooting has put the issue of gun control in the spotlight once again. While there is no denying that the murder of innocent children is a tragedy, banning guns will not stop this type of violence.
Timothy McVey killed 168 people, including 19 children, in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. He used a fertilizer bomb and a Ryder truck. On Dec. 14, 2012, the same day as the Newtown shootings, a man in China entered a school and stabbed more than 20 children.
A statement from the Gun Owners Foundation dated March 2004 neatly sums up the problem with banning guns: “Guns are not the problem. On the contrary, lax criminal penalties and laws that disarm the law-abiding are responsible for giving criminals a safer working environment.”
The basic premise of gun control, that access to guns causes higher crime rates, and banning or controlling guns will lead to lower crime rates, is contradicted by statistics from countries that have strict gun control laws. Holland has the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe, yet the murder rate is extremely high. Great Britain’s ban on private possession of handguns has led to a thriving black market for those guns. Norway has the highest gun ownership rates in Western Europe, but the lowest murder rate. A license to possess a firearm is easily obtained in Israel and Switzerland and both countries allow concealed carrying of firearms; both countries have a very low incidence of homicide.
Certain areas of the United States have gun bans in effect, such as New York City and Washington, D.C. The D. C. gun ban has done nothing to impact the astronomically high murder rate in the nation’s capital. In fact, the murder rate in D. C. has increased while the nation’s overall murder rate has decreased. In contrast, states that do not restrict gun ownership have, on average, a 24 percent lower violent crime rate, a 19 percent lower murder rate, and a 39 percent lower robbery rate, according to the Cato Institute, at www.cato.org.
A study by professors of Criminology Don Kates and Professor Gary Mauser, published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, found that “Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not.” The study states that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership. According to the study’s findings, limiting access to guns does lower the rate of “gun-related” crime, but crimes involving strangling, stabbings, or beatings are much more frequent.
Bottom line, the old adage is true. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.