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5 Things About Guns The UK Could Teach The US

5 Things About Guns The UK Could Teach The US

On May 14, 2000, over 750,000 of us gathered in front of the US Capitol for the Million Mom March, a diverse group brought together by the urgent need to demand tougher gun control laws.

Pointing towards the Capitol, Sarah Brady, founder of Handgun Control, Inc, declared, “If they don’t change the laws, we will change the lawmakers.” The applause was deafening. We were exuberant, sure that we could win.

We have failed.

Some Key Events:

*  April 2007: Virginia Tech becomes the site of the deadliest shooting in US history, with 32 people killed.

*  January 2012: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is shot and injured at a public appearance. Six others are killed.

*  April 2012: Seven die at a small Korean college in California.

*  July 2012: James Holmes walks into an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre and systematically begins firing rounds into fleeing moviegoers, killing 12 and wounding 59.

As Thinkprogress explains:

Holmes brought five weapons to the theater: a Smith & Wesson AR-15, two Glock .40 pistols, a knife and a Remington model 870 pump shotgun he left in his car.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, nearly identical in appearance to a military M16, that usually holds up to 30 rounds of high-powered ammunition.

But AP tweeted that Holmes had a high-capacity, drum-style ammo clip in the rifle that can carry much more ammunition than a box-shaped magazine.

In addition he seems to have purchased a full line of assault gear shown on the parking lot outside the theater. He was wearing a ballistic helmet, goggles, a gas mask, a ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, along with throat and groin protectors and black tactical gloves available at any law enforcement gear website.

Thanks to years of dedicated lobbying by the National Rifle Association, existing laws are woefully inadequate. Laws in the state of Colorado, similar to those across the US, allowed James Holmes to obtain his weapons with ease. The situation in my native UK is vastly different.

1.  Registration: the state of Colorado prohibits gun registration. In the UK, with a very few specific exceptions, all fireams must be licensed.

2.   Permits: Holmes reportedly drove up to the movie theater with his arsenal. That too was entirely legal in Colorado—as long as the guns are visible, you don’t need a permit. In the UK, the only kind of weapon you may carry is a rifle, and that is only if you belong to a recognized shooting club.

3.  Assault Weapons: under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, assault weapons were banned in the US, but the act was not renewed in 2004, meaning that there are no federal restrictions on the ownership of AR-15s and similar weapons. All assault weapons are illegal in the UK.

4.  Gun Purchase: Since 2003 it has been illegal for any local government or law enforcement agency in Colorado to “enact an ordinance, regulation or other law that prohibits the sale, purchase or possession of a firearm that a person may lawfully sell, purchase or possess under state or federal law.” In the UK, you need a valid license to buy a gun, and you are questioned continually during the purchase to confirm your intent, your background, and your criminal record.

5.  Weapons Transportation: There are no laws pertaining to bringing firearms into Colorado from another state. In the UK, it is illegal to bring weapons into the country.

US Has Highest Gun Ownership In The World

The Guardian reports that the US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – an average of 88 per 100 people. England and Wales, by comparison have an average of 6.2 per 100 people.  As a result, 31,347 Americans were killed by guns in 2009, while the 2008 figure for the UK was 39.

The NRA is undoubtedly one of the most powerful lobbying organisations in the US, and it is not hesitant to divert campaign contributions to defeat advocates of gun control.. The organisation has raised $9m already for this November’s elections.

But as Gail Collins wrote last Saturday in the New York Times:

Everybody, including the gun control advocates, knows that nothing will change unless the people decide to do the leading. Eventually, the American voters come around. Just ask the suffragists.

I certainly hope so.

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4:42AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Noted

8:38AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Russia
http://theacru.org/acru/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/
The study
PDF Files.
http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

6:53AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

@Frank S

I agree about the never ending debate. As I wrote earlier, I have not seen any apples to apples comparisons of UK and US violent crime. However, some things are indisputable:

Crime rate comparisons among countries are difficult because offenses reported and report rate differ.

It is simply not valid to make a blanket statement “gun control doesn’t work” based on comparison of the US with only one gun control country, especially when that country appears to have the highest crime rate among its peers.

UK gun crime is a small fraction of US gun crime. For firearm crimes, rates per 100,000:
Homicide UK 0.1 US 3.3, robbery UK 5.3, US 46

Home Office violent crime stats include a much broader range of offenses than FBI stats. The video link you provided said UK had 6 times the violent crime rate of the US. This is an untrue apples/oranges comparison.

Looking only at time periods where reporting rules are unchanged, UK serious violent crime in 2010/11 is always lower than previous years. For example, grievous bodily harm down 14% in 2 years, gun homicide plus serious injury down 33% since its peak in 2005/06.

The video man said something like “how come the media hasn’t commented on the decreasing US rates”. The media DOES report year to year changes. Crime has decreased in all developed countries. The decrease has been attributed to change in demographics, a smaller population of young men.

5:57PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

If you muck around in home office it brakes it down, violent crime w/o injury is down but violent crime w injury is up, plus other sub groups. they're all PDF files. Plus juvenile stats are separate they are not included.

Never mind.
After reading Articles and studies from Universities and professors about not being able to agree on witch was more violent. The main reason was that the Home Office doesn't keep consisted or good data, some data is from police, some from NHS hospitals and some from surveys and some seems like they just pulled it out their butts. This is a never ending debate.

12:24PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Framk

What's your point? Didn't you read my post? Your video has added NOTHING.

Your statement that firearms crime is increasing in the UK is OBVIOUSLY incorrect. It decreased 50+ % in the last 7 years.

I spent substantial time looking at the difference in definition of violent crime between the US and the UK. To repeat, FBI violent crime rate consists of homicide, aggravated assault, robbery and forcible rape. The UK data includes half a dozen additional crimes including threats public alarm and fear (more than 100,000 in that last category), illegal weapons possession. OBVIOUSLY UK violent crime rate will be higher than the US. Can't you understand this. The US counts only oranges, the UK counts orranges, apples, grapefruit, cherries, strawberries,....

I repeat, I have not found any apples to apples comparison in violent crime of US vs UK.

The clown in your video said obviously there would be a lower murder rate in the UK because the UK has 6.3 times fewer large cities. Well DUH - the US has 5.6 times more people. Isn't it kind of obvious that a higher population country would have more cities. Is the man a half wit?

9:11AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Video on comparing the stats with links.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooa98FHuaU0

FBI-Direct link to page.
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1


Homeoffice Official England crime stats.-Direct link to page.
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/hosb0812/hosb0812?view=Binary

7:54AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

@Frank J

It is simply incorrect that "Gun control doesn't work. The UK gun crime is rising". The very reverse is true.

England and Wales total firearm offenses decreased by 54% from 2004 to 2011. “Firearms” include paintball guns, imitation weapons that can fire low velocity plastic pellets, stun guns and pepper spray … “Real” hand guns account for 44% of the total.

There were 354 fatal or serious firearm injuries in 2011, down from 505 in 2004. There were 2,965 robberies with guns (including paintball guns) down from 4,117 in 2004. Clearly firearm related crimes are decreasing, in direct contrast to your assertion.

Reported violent crime rates UK vs US are not comparable. In the UK, assault includes grievous bodily harm with and without intent, simple assault, assault with no injury, threats, illegal possession of weapons, public fear, alarm or distress. The FBI reports only aggravated assault - assault intended to seriously injure or assault with a deadly weapon. Not surprisingly, the UK rate with its wide range of crimes is higher than the US. UK rate of assaults resulting in serious injury – with or without intent - is 62 per 100,000. US aggravated assault rate is 262 per 100,000, much higher than the UK. In part this is because US numbers include any crime involving a deadly weapon.

I have been unable to find any apples to apples comparisons on total violent crime. Robbery and forciple rape rates are similar i

5:47PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Gun control doesn't work. The UK gun crime is rising and violent crime is very high. The US is declining and has been for some time. As gun sales go up all crime gos down. Take Russia, basically a complete gun ban, murders are three times higher than the US.
Where dose most crime come from, big cities. What causes most crime, criminals, gangs, drugs, poverty. What are their targets, rivals and the week and defenseless. Who do you call when your in trouble, someone with a gun. But unfortunately its usually to late.
Here's an idea, lets enforce the laws that we already have, close loop holes and keep criminals in jail and make prison a bad place not just a place with bad people.
Lets look at the facts, we have gun trafficking in the US (Guns coming from other parts of the world)so criminals getting guns will never be a problum. People wanting to commit suicide will just use other means. Killers are killers they will use any means that they can.
So how do you protect yourself from crime, The key word is protect. If your defenceless you can't protect yourself from any thing, you are nothing but a target. Here's a question; If osama bin laden is a tarriest for killing several hundred innocent people and we could just go and kill him, then why can't we declare the drug cartel as tarriest. Their responsible for the lives of millions, we know who the are, we know where they are and we have proof of what they have done. But all we do is arrest the little guys? T

4:37PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Trying to force states like Alaska, Montana, Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico to enforce new gun laws that people in states where large populations exist and police protection is more available is not going to work and some states are already in the process to nullify any new gun laws that the federal government issues with prison time for any federal officials that try to enforce them in their state. Several states are going to exempt any guns manufactured in their states from any new laws because citizens that purchase them in that state are exempt from any interstate commerce laws and state law only applies.

3:36PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Very well written argument. However, let's not forget, the United Kingdom is just one example. Virtually every country which practices gun control is safer than America. People are quick to say "gun control doesn't work" but America doesn't enforce any gun laws and it is THE most dangerous country, while every other country which enforces gun control is SAFE! This isn't a coincidence. The evidence points that gun control DOES work, but if there's one thing the people in America is good at doing, is denying evidence. After all, most Americans are ignorant and tend to ignore facts in the first place.

I see some people saying Chicago's gun control laws don't work, but this is a weak argument. Yes, Chicago the city itself enforces gun laws, but the outside cities(Such as Rockford) don't enforce gun laws. Of course it's not working in Chicago, because those same people drive five minutes into the next city to buy a gun. If we had these gun laws NATIONWIDE, it would make it harder for criminals to get guns.

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