January 16, 2015 by Steven Ahle
In the spring of 2007, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy released a study of the relative effects of stringent gun laws. They found that a country like Luxembourg, which bans all guns has a murder rate that is 9 times higher than Germany, where there are 30,000 guns per 100,000 people. They also cited a study by the U.S.National Academy of Sciences, which studied 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, and it failed to find one gun control initiative that worked.
In fact, in many cases it found that violence is very often lower, where guns are more readily available. The report points to a myth that guns are more easily obtained in the United States than in Europe. That is factually incorrect.
Austria has the lowest murder rate of any industrialized country, with .8 murders per 100,000 people, yet they have 17,000 guns per 100,000 people. Norway is second with .81 murders and 36,000 guns. Germany is third with .93 murders and 36,000 guns. The United States has a murder rate of 10.1 murders per 100,000 people. But Luxembourg, which does not allow gun ownership at all has a rating of 9.01.
The same pattern appears when comparisons of violence to gun ownership are done within nations. Indeed, “data on firearms ownership by constabulary area in England.” like data from the United States show a “negative correlation” that is “where firearms are most dense, violent crime is lower, and where firearms are least dense, the violent crime rate is the highest.”
Another longstanding myth is that Europe’s relatively low murder rate is because of their gun control laws. The truth is, their rates were low even before gun control laws were passed, according to the Harvard study. In fact, their murder rates hit an all time low, before any gun laws were passed. In fact, their violent crimes have risen since they enacted gun control laws. By comparison, violent crimes have dropped in the US over the same period.
Russia has a ban on hand guns and their murder rate is 30.6%, whereas in the United States the rate is a much lower 7.8%. And during the 1990s, gun ownership grew significantly in the United States, while violent crimes dropped by 30%. In England, after they banned handguns, the rate of violent crimes soared.
The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, conceded that the results they found in their report was not what they expected to find.