Readers debate: Does gun control cause crime to rise?
Sam Levin's interview with Denver mayor Michael Hancock, who said he won't use the Aurora theater shooting to push for gun control, led a number of readers to discuss whether bans and prohibitions make us safer or less at risk. Below is a conversation in which both parties use facts and figures to bolster their argument.
Too much to reference, but please look into it yourself. Chicago has the most gun control, and the most violent crimes and murder. Washington D.C. is a another example of a near total gun ban that went wrong. Within two years of the handgun ban going into effect, the homicide rate per 100,000 went from 25 to 83. When the Supreme Court overturned the law, the rate soon dropped back close to the nation average of 11. Australia banned many weapons, 640,000 weapons were turned in and destroyed. Results: armed robberies went up 69%, assaults up 28%, gun murders up 19%, home invasions up 21%. Switzerland requires citizens to own guns, but Americans murder each other with guns 137 times more than they do. The UK, with extreme gun control, has 45% more total crime victims than their heavily armed neighbor, Switzerland. Here is a international Harvard study. Lots of info out there, if you pay attention, you too will discover gun bans have never reduced violence.
I've been having this conversation all over Twitter with avid NRA supporters. They draw on two correlations for their false claim. Crime rates (pretty much around the world) continue to rise, albeit slowly. The example most cited is Australia where they instituted permit-based gun policy in 1997 and crime rose 200%. They neglect to point out that crime rose 600% in Australia between 1991 and 1997 before the new policy was enacted.
For more memorable takes, visit our Comment of the Day archive.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.