Bogus gun control successes: U.K. edition

Back when he was still on the air, I would often perform an act of charity in doubling Piers Morgan’s ratings by tuning in to his show.  When the topic of gun control would come up, and it did often, there was one argument that Piers would often bring up: that America has lax gun laws and plenty of gun homicides, while England and Wales have strong gun control and very few gun homicides.  The argument at face value appears to have some validity – the U.S. has around 8,000 gun-related homicides, while England and Wales have about 60 combined.

But, as we all know, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

First of all, England and Wales do not count murders in their statistic unless there’s a conviction. The real reason for their low statistic, however, is not gun control.  We know this because their gun crime rate was low...before gun control.  Look at the chart below comparing gun homicides in the U.K. before and after gun control:

For most years after the ban, there were actually more gun homicides overall.  And the murder rate has been higher than before gun control for nearly every year since the ban.  Gun-related crime has doubled in England and Wales in the past ten years.

This illustrates a central flaw in doing international comparisons when it comes to gun control.  Don’t compare one country to another with no frame of reference – compare a country to itself instead.

Matt Palumbo is the author of The Conscience of a Young Conservative and In Defense of Classical Liberalism.

Back when he was still on the air, I would often perform an act of charity in doubling Piers Morgan’s ratings by tuning in to his show.  When the topic of gun control would come up, and it did often, there was one argument that Piers would often bring up: that America has lax gun laws and plenty of gun homicides, while England and Wales have strong gun control and very few gun homicides.  The argument at face value appears to have some validity – the U.S. has around 8,000 gun-related homicides, while England and Wales have about 60 combined.

But, as we all know, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

First of all, England and Wales do not count murders in their statistic unless there’s a conviction. The real reason for their low statistic, however, is not gun control.  We know this because their gun crime rate was low...before gun control.  Look at the chart below comparing gun homicides in the U.K. before and after gun control:

For most years after the ban, there were actually more gun homicides overall.  And the murder rate has been higher than before gun control for nearly every year since the ban.  Gun-related crime has doubled in England and Wales in the past ten years.

This illustrates a central flaw in doing international comparisons when it comes to gun control.  Don’t compare one country to another with no frame of reference – compare a country to itself instead.

Matt Palumbo is the author of The Conscience of a Young Conservative and In Defense of Classical Liberalism.