Good read...

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Gun Laws Don't Reduce Crime

By John R. Lott Jr.

05/08/2002 - Updated 11:32 PM ET USA Today

Should we treat the Second Amendment like the rest of the Bill of Rights and assume it protects Americans against an over-intrusive government, as the Bush administration now argues? While the question whether people have a right to protect their own lives and the lives of loved ones is important, for most the bottom line is simpler: Do gun laws reduce violent crime?

Too often calls for "reasonable" gun control or "sensible" gun-safety laws ignore that such legislation can actually result in increased crime. Guns are used defensively about 2 million times a year, according to national surveys. Physically weaker victims (women and the elderly) and those most likely to be victims of crime (particularly poor blacks) benefit the most from owning a gun. Unfortunately, rules that are primarily obeyed by law-abiding citizens and not would-be criminals make crime easier.

One would never know from reading the news that there exists not one single academic study showing that the federal Brady Act, assault-weapons bans, state waiting periods, background checks, one-gun-a-month rules or safe-storage laws reduce violent crime. Some research even finds that these rules increase crime.

Advocates of "reasonable" gun laws need only look at Europe to see what the future holds. Europe has everything American gun-control proponents favor, but the three worst public shootings in the past year all occurred in Europe. All took place in so-called gun-free "safe zones." With violent crime rising, European police complain that strict gun laws have not impeded criminals' access to guns.

Around the world, from Australia to England, countries that have recently strengthened guncontrol laws with the promise of lowering crime have instead seen violent crime soar. In the four years after the U.K. banned handguns in 1996, gun crime rose by an astounding 40%. Since Australia's 1996 laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24% and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%.

Gun-control advocates conveniently ignore that the countries with the highest homicide rates have gun bans.

John R. Lott Jr. is a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the author of More Guns, Less Crime.
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