As many people already know, the United Kingdom has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the world. We have never really had a serious problem with firearms-related crimes, but that isn’t down to our strict gun laws at all. In fact, disarming British citizens made many areas less safe rather than safer.
When it comes to comparing homicide rates between the UK and the US, it gets a little tricky as our definition of homicide has been different since 1967.
Here in the UK, crime reports won’t show a crime as being homicide unless the suspect is actually caught and convicted. This means that justifiable homicides and deaths where no suspect is caught or convicted are excluded. Whereas in the US, all intentional killings, regardless of whether the killing was legally justified or whether any person was caught or convicted are included.
Here is a quick history of civilian disarmament in the UK:
- The 1689 English Bill of Rights protects the right of individual British subjects to possess arms for purposes of self-defense. We have had this right completely stripped from us.
- Under the 1920 Firearms Act, anybody wishing to own a handgun or rifle must obtain a certificate from the local chief of police after proving that we have “good cause” to possess a firearm and that we are not “unfitted.” self defense does not class as a good cause.
- In 1936, Parliament passed laws that heavily regulated (practically prohibited) civilian possession of short-barreled shotguns and fully automatic firearms.
- Between 1964 and 1969, the Home Office increasingly narrowed the definition of “good cause.” The instructions effectively removed self-defense from the definition of good cause, with the Home Office stating that “it should never be necessary for anyone to possess a firearm for the protection of his house or person.”
- In 1988, the purchase and possession of shotguns became heavily regulated. They required registration and a showing of costly security arrangements for “safe storage.”
- After the mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996, Parliament banned the civilian possession of semi-automatic firearms and handguns. All citizens were ordered to turn in all but muzzle-loading guns, pistols of historic interest, and signal pistols. Public pressure from the victims’ families led to a complete ban on semi-automatic weapons and handguns. This happened even though only 9 percent of homicides in England at the time were committed with firearms.
- The current gun laws are so restrictive that Olympic shooting competitors required special permission to travel to the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympic Games, because possession of necessary firearms for common shooting events was a criminal offense. English, Scottish, and Welsh pistol competitors are still required to train outside of the U.K.
Did Disarming the UK Make it Safer?
Statistics don’t lie and it doesn’t take much searching to find that the UK is not safer as a result of disarmament. Here are a few things to consider:
- By 2009, 12 years after the ban, England’s violent crime rate was the highest in the European Union and nearly five times that of the United States.
- In the year ending September 2017, there were 37,443 recorded crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument, gun crime saw 6,694 recorded offences. At the same time, police numbers saw an all time low.
- Gun crime is currently at its highest in a decade.
- England has the highest rape rate in the entire EU. In 2015, almost twice as many Britons were raped per 100,000 inhabitants than were Americans.
- Rates of theft in England and Wales are also higher than in the United States. In 2015, England and Wales experienced a theft rate of 2,000 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants.
- The rate of “hot burglaries” (where the residents are home) is 14 percent in the United States. In the UK it is almost 60 percent.
Has disarming the UK made it safer? I don’t think so. The stats above should show just why we should be allowed to protect ourselves but our Government still don’t think there is need. I guess they are OK all the time they are hiding behind their security. What would it take for them to see sense?