Myth: Gun Control reduces Crime
an ABC 20/20 story, as part of “Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity” with John Stossel (this was “Myth #10”).
It reveals some surprising statistics, including the fact that cities and states without gun bans actually have far less crime, while in cities and states where guns are banned, crime jumps.
Most Americans (myself included, until recently) believe that guns being available legally (despite background checks, etc) increases gun violence. The reality – the reality that comes from statistical fact – is that crime goes up when guns are banned, and crime goes down when guns are available. From the interviews, it sounds like yes, criminals will have guns regardless of the bans … and furthermore, some criminals fear an armed victim much more than they fear police … because when you go to rob someone, you don’t know if they have a gun.
or an older version of the report, with less statistics and more interviews with criminals:
Gun Myths http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR9RN_iSKtg
I wanted to see actual data, so i pulled out my grand spreadsheet of all things social in this country, and checked the 2003 Murder, Rape, and Robbery rates (per 100,000, so it represents a percentage). I wrote down the top 13 in each category, and then marked those which were (as of when the video came out) ‘gun control states’ (California, Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts):
|Nevada||Rhode Island||New York|
|South Carolina||South Carolina||Delaware|
When you consider 8 of 51 ‘states’ (because of D.C.) ban guns, it’s kind of telling that of the top 13 Murder, 5 or those 8 are represented, of the top 13 Rape, 2 are represented, and of Robbery, 6 are represented.
Of course statistics are not perfect. As stated in the video, we don’t know how many crimes are thwarted by a citizen pulling a gun, because crimes that don’t happen (i.e. ‘aren’t completed’) don’t usually get reported. Likewise, it is likely that many rapes that are completed don’t get reported, either.
D.C. made the list in all 3 categories, as did Delaware, while Illinois and California each appeared twice (Murder and Robbery). I don’t know what Illinois’ gun control laws are, but I know that, as of 2003 (when these statistics came out), D.C’s were the strongest, followed by California.
Also, keep in mind this does not tell us how many crimes were committed with a gun – if I had those numbers, we’d not only be able to see crime rates, but whether or not more crimes involving guns were committed in either states with gun bans or states with lax gun laws, which might be interesting too.
[crime statistics from the “FBI: Uniform Crime Reports, 2003; Final Statistics”]