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Crime In England: The Price Of Gun Control

Friday, May 21, 2004

In March of 1996, a deranged man walked into a school in Dunblane, Scotland and killed sixteen children and one teacher. In the aftermath of this heinous tragedy, British politicians sought to reduce violent crime by enacting an injudicious ban on all handguns. Handgun owners were given a February 1998 deadline to turn in their firearms--and they did. The UK was supposed to become a much safer place--but it didn`t. Not by a long shot.

As reported in a May 14 article in the Edmonton Journal, England`s recently released gun-crime statistics for the first five years following the gun-ban indicate a very different outcome than that which was forecast. According to the article, "the incidence of gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled from 13,874 in 1998 to 24,070 in 2003. And the incidence of firearms murder, while thankfully still very small, has risen 65 per cent," (emphasis added).

The article details statistics from another report issued last year by Britain`s Home Office, which reveal that there has also been a dramatic increase in robberies in recent years. They report that robberies, "rose by 28 per cent in 2002 alone and, since 1998, there has been an increase in the annual average of muggings of more than 100,000. England alone has nearly 400,000 robberies each year, a rate nearly one-quarter higher per capita than that of the United States," (emphasis added).

Do gun bans serve to reduce violent crime? When law-abiding citizens are disarmed, is their society a safer one? England`s plight is just the latest example to show us, yet again, that the answer is "NO."

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.