A Harvard Study titled “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” looks at figures for “intentional deaths” throughout continental Europe and juxtaposes them with the U.S. to show that more gun control does not necessarily lead to lower death rates or violent crime.
Because the findings so clearly demonstrate that more gun laws may in fact increase death rates, the study says that “the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths” is wrong.
For example, when the study shows numbers for Eastern European gun ownership and corresponding murder rates, it is readily apparent that less guns to do not mean less death. In Russia, where the rate of gun ownership is 4,000 per 100,000 inhabitants, the murder rate was 20.52 per 100,000 in 2002. That same year in Finland, where the rater of gun ownership is exceedingly higher–39,000 per 100,000–the murder rate was almost nill, at 1.98 per 100,000.
Looking at Western Europe, the study shows that Norway “has far and away Western Europe’s highest household gun ownership rate (32%), but also its lowest murder rate.”
And when the study focuses on intentional deaths by looking at the U.S. vs Continental Europe, the findings are no less revealing. The U.S., which is so often labeled as the most violent nation in the world by gun control proponents, comes in 7th–behind Russia, Estonia, Lativa, Lithuania, Belarus, and the Ukraine–in murders. America also only ranks 22nd in suicides.
The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are banned, is 30.6; the rate in the U.S. is 7.8.
The authors of the study conclude that the burden of proof rests on those who claim more guns equal more death and violent crime; such proponents should “at the very least [be able] to show a large number of nations with more guns have more death and that nations that impose stringent gun controls have achieved substantial reductions in criminal violence (or suicide).” But after intense study the authors conclude “those correlations are not observed when a large number of nations are compared around the world.”
In fact, the numbers presented in the Harvard study support the contention that among the nations studied, those with more gun control tend toward higher death rates.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.