Harvard Study-Gun Bans Don’t Work
(GunNews.com) — A recent study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy concludes that banning firearms does not reduce murder and suicide rates.
The study, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence,” just appeared in Volume 30, Number 2 of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy (pp. 649-694).
The findings of two criminologists — Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser — in their exhaustive study of American and European gun laws and violence rates, are telling:
Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).
For example, Norway has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe, yet possesses the lowest murder rate. In contrast, Holland’s murder rate is nearly the worst, despite having the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe. Sweden and Denmark are two more examples of nations with high murder rates but few guns. As the study’s authors write in the report:
If the mantra “more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death” were true, broad cross-national comparisons should show that nations with higher gun ownership per capita consistently have more death. Nations with higher gun ownership rates, however, do not have higher murder or suicide rates than those with lower gun ownership. Indeed many high gun ownership nations have much lower murder rates. (p. 661)
The study also shows that Russia’s murder rate is four times higher than the U.S. and more than 20 times higher than Norway. Russia has practically eradicated private gun ownership.
The important thing to keep in mind is not the rate of deaths by gun — a statistic that anti-gun advocates are quick to recite — but the overall murder rate, regardless of means. The criminologists explain:
Per capita murder overall is only half as frequent in the United States as in several other nations where gun murder is rarer, but murder by strangling, stabbing, or beating is much more frequent.