Caught a YouTube video this morning which highlighted a protest in the UK regarding the banning of Fox Hunting, which included commentary from several residents regarding the crime rate in the UK since handguns were banned nationwide in 1997. The overall feel of the video indicated a sharp rise in the level of crime which included commentary from an anonymous “Bobby” to reinforce the opinion.
I felt compelled to dig in to this a bit…
In 1997, the UK Parliament enacted 2 firearms amendments. The first banned any handgun with a caliber greater than .22 (5.6mm). The second banned the private possession of all handguns regardless of caliber. You could still own antique or historic guns as long as the ammunition was no longer available, or if the ammunition WAS available – they had to be securely stored at a government owned and operated site. You could still have a musket though, hoorah.
The amendments were passed in response to the Dunblane Massacre, where a 43 year old man walked in to the school with 4 handguns and murdered 16 children and one adult before turning the gun on himself. Sound familiar? The new laws went into full effect on Feburary 1st, 1998; two years after the Dunblane Massacre.
The Brits have a site set up, homeoffice.gov.uk, where overall statistics can be obtained. In 1998, they changed the method of counting which “had the effect of increasing the number of crimes counted” and also made it so that the numbers of crimes committed “before and after  are not directly comparable.
So the UK bans handguns, and then tweaks the numbers so that you can’t accurately compare the crime rate before and after the ban. By looking at the raw data, it appears that under the “New Rules” specific crimes were re-categorized…
The primary category of “violent crime” had several changes made:
- Under “violence against the person”:
- “Other wounding, etc.” became “Less serious wounding.”
- “Possession of weapons” was added.
- “Harassment” was added.
- “Racially or religiously aggravated less serious wounding” AKA hate crime was added.
- “Racially or religiously aggravated harassment” AKA hate crime was added.
- “Cruelty to and neglect of children” was added.
- “Assault on a constable” was added.
- “Common assault (includes some minor injury)” was added.
- “Racially or religiously aggravated common assault” was added.
- Under “sexual offenses”:
- “Soliciting or importuning by a man” was added.
- “Abuse of position of trust” was added.
- “Other miscellaneous sexual offences”
- In regard to “robbery”:
- “Robbery of business property” was added.
- “Robbery of personal property” was added.
Violent crime covers a wealth of offenses in the UK. Under the old rules, the number of violent crimes committed in the UK for 1998 was 331,717. Under the new rules, we see 615,995. The biggest percentage increase that accounts for the jump are those crimes classified as “violence against the person” followed closely by “robbery” and lastly our personal favorite – “sexual offenses.”
Using the violent crime rate in 1998 under the “new numbers” as a baseline, we see the rate increase steadily.
- 1998 – 502,788
- 1999 – 581,034 (+13.5%)
- 2000 – 600,922 (+16.4%)
- 2001 – 650,330 (+22.7%)
The number of sex offenses?
- 1998 – 46,372
- 1999 – 47,185 (+1.4%)
- 2000 – 45,878 (-1.1%)
- 2001 – 49,581 (+6.5%)
How about robbery?
- 1998 – 66,835
- 1999 – 84,277 (+20.6%)
- 2000 – 95,154 (+29.7%)
- 2001 – 121,359 (+44.9%)
Overall violent crime?
- 1998 – 615,995
- 1999 – 712,496 (+13.5%)
- 2000 – 741,954 (+16.9%)
- 2001 – 821,270 (+24.9%)
The numbers here do not lie, and they tell the story of what will happen here in the US if all of the people begging for greater gun control get their way. It should be noted that while over the past 9 years, the total number of violent crimes in the UK has been on the decline, recent numbers (again, using 1998 as a baseline) are still higher now than before the ban was enacted.
Violent crime: 2010 – 871,712 (+36.7%)
Sexual offenses: 2010 – 54,509 (+15%)
Robbery: 2010 – 75,101 (+11.1%)
Overall violent crime: 2010 – 1,001,332 (+38.5%)
The population of the UK in 1998 was 59.2 million. In 2011 63.1 million. It has grown approximately 6.2% in size since the ban was passed in 1998, while its violent crime rate has jumped by 38.5%.
I’d say that at least the UK doesn’t have to worry too much about shooting sprees, no more school children being slaughtered by the mentally ill toting assault weapons – that is until 2010 when a cab driver went postal with a double barreled shotgun and bolt action 22 rifle, killing 12 and injuring 11 before doing the world a favor and turning the gun on himself.
The population of the UK supported the ban in the hopes it would prevent another massacre. Only now, when something as seemingly benign as a traditional fox hunt is threatened do they realize just how much they lost.
What happened in Newtown, Connecticut was a tragedy, but the truth is that violent crime in this country did not start with Newtown, or Columbine, or any of the other mass murders committed with a gun that received such widespread media attention. Violent crime has existed since the dawn of mankind. Drafting new laws which attempt to restrict the access to methods of causing violence ala gun control do nothing to decrease the overall levels of violent crime. New gun control laws which only stand to restrict law abiding citizens from obtaining and using a firearm for legal purposes only affect law abiding citizens. The criminals can still obtain any weapon they want.
These children weren’t murdered by assault weapons, they were murdered by a mentally ill bastard whose first victim, his mother, made the fatal mistake of owning guns and not properly securing them in the same place said bastard called home.
No ordinary American can legally own a fully automatic weapon. No ordinary American can legally own a gun which holds more than a specific number of rounds in a clip. The slippery slope to greater numbers of violent crimes starts with something benign. Folding stocks, flash suppressors, etc… don’t seem like a big deal right now. Label a gun as an assault weapon so that the public will approve it. Miscategorize a semi-automatic AR-15 as a “military grade assault weapon” so people will gladly ape the lie that “nobody needs a military weapon” when no ordinary law-abiding-citizen actually has a real “military grade assault weapon.” Call for bans of semi-automatic weapons. Call for bans of handguns. Call for bans of rifles and shotguns. The last call you make will be to the Police in a desperate hope that they will be able to outrun the bullets.
Many people don’t like guns, and I can sympathize. Whether or not you like guns, you need to understand why we have the right to bear arms. The primary reason we have guns in this country, and a right to own and use them, is to defend ourselves and our loved ones from any threat be it animal, criminal, or tyrannical. That most guns are used for hunting or sport is just one of the perks for those who enjoy that right every single day. The problem isn’t the gun, it is humanity, and until we stop blindly accepting the arguments from those who focus all their efforts on the trigger instead of the finger pulling it – violence will only grow and our freedoms will continue to fade.
The statistics prove it, time and again – when the people are armed and have access to the means to defend themselves, crime is low, and liberty abounds. When the people are disarmed, crime is high and liberty is at stake. Look past the emotion of 20 innocent children being murdered, look past the means employed to exact such a tragedy, and realize just who will have control over our lives and safety when we foolishly yield that control so that we can feel like we’ve done something to prevent the next crime from ever taking place.
Innocents die every single day in America, people of every race, color, and creed. We look around and try to find someone or something to blame for the pain we see but never stop to see that these knee-jerk emotional reactions that our elected officials will gladly embrace in order to empower their own interests do nothing more than lead us as useful idiots, as sheep – to the slaughter of our safety, our security, and most importantly – our liberty.