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  • More Guns, Less Safe

    More Guns, Less Safe: Confronting the American Mythology of Gun Ownership

    Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has a murder rate ‘only slightly higher than [it had] fifty years ago.’ In the 1999-2001 period, Toronto’s murder rate was 2.2 per 100,000. Compare this city to the murder rates of major US cities (1999): New York City, 8.9; Chicago, 22.7, and Los Angeles, 11.6 per 100,000. Compare national capitals: Washington, D.C., 46.4 per 100,000 – Ottawa 0.36 (only three murders in the entire year). The only American city listed by the Census Bureau as having a lower murder rate than Toronto is Honolulu.*

    In 1996, 46 per cent of American households had at least one firearm, only 19 per cent of Canadian households contained at least one firearm.*

    The simple fact of the matter is that Canada has a lower level of gun ownership (by over 50 percent!) and a significantly lower murder rate. Now we cannot automatically extend this data to cover all Western industrial nations, but here we see that a society with far less guns than America has far less violent crime. This strongly suggests that the notion that more guns equals greater personal safety and a less violent society is quite mistaken.

    I suspect many of you will disagree…

    Dr. Strangelove (aka E-Male)
    www.strangelove.com

    *These numbers are from Michael Adams, Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada, and the Myth of Converging Values (Penguin, 2003), 122.
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  • #2
    Re: More Guns, Less Safe

    o man you are gonna start a good debate on this one. I will have some interesting facts for you in a few days, give me time to compile.
    that sounds like a good idea trooper.
    -Vulcan

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    • #3
      Re: More Guns, Less Safe

      I have a data set. It has 2 ordered pairs of numbers. Allow me to present it to you.

      Code:
      --X--  --Y--
        5     2.39
       29     0.65
      From this data set, we can clearly see that increasing the level of "X" in a society must always decrease the level of "Y".

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      • #4
        Re: More Guns, Less Safe

        While I'm all for strict gun laws, I think it's just too freakin' cold in Canada to go out shooting people, hence the lower numbers.
        [volun2]
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        • #5
          Re: More Guns, Less Safe

          This comes up from time to time. I'll let Dr. John Lott speak for me:

          Many countries, such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Finland, and Israel have high gun-ownership rates and low crime rates, while other countries have low gun ownership rates and either low or high crime rates. It is difficult to obtain comparable data on crime rates both over time and across countries, and to control for all the other differences across the legal systems and cultures across countries. Even the cross country polling data on gun ownership is difficult to assess, because ownership is underreported in countries where gun ownership is illegal and the same polls are never used across countries.

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          • #6
            Re: More Guns, Less Safe

            As pointed out by the Pastafarian religion, correlation is not causation. Even though pirate numbers have dwindled with the increase in global temperature it does not mean removing pirates caused the increase in temperature, or that a warmer world killed the pirates. Higher gun ownership is not the obvious cause of increased violence, as the Swiss have much less crime than we do with higher gun ownership.
            |TG-6th|Snooggums

            Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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            • #7
              Re: More Guns, Less Safe

              One point of view



              DB

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              • #8
                Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                That's all good for Canada, but if you live in a place where everyone and their grandmother has a gun(including the criminals). You may just become a dead gun control advocate.

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                • #9
                  Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                  Gun ownership is neither sufficient nor necessary for murder.

                  It is probably the mind set to induce gun ownership that has the most effect.
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                  • #10
                    Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                    Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                    That's all good for Canada, but if you live in a place where everyone and their grandmother has a gun(including the criminals). You may just become a dead gun control advocate.
                    Yeah, I could totally see how being illegally killed by someone in possession of an illegal weapon would make one in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens. Makes perfect sense. :row__573:
                    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

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                    • #11
                      Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                      Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                      That's all good for Canada, but if you live in a place where everyone and their grandmother has a gun(including the criminals). You may just become a dead gun control advocate.
                      Edit: @Hambergler, saw your later post. My bad.

                      The link I posted talks about the fact that the Canadian gun control law, as it is today, does not work, period. Criminals don't register their guns, and the amount of money you throw at the problem is not going to solve it. I'm no expert, but I think that many other factors than the % of gun ownership have an effect on firearm related crimes, regardless of the country. Just to name a few:

                      - Population density (I bet the crime rate is higher in densely populated areas)
                      - Drug related crimes (I'm pretty sure drug dealers carry, and have no problem with killing people, the last (handgun) murder in Montreal was drug related)
                      - Poverty (and the disparity between rich and poor). Check out income figures for Canadian CMA's Pages 30-35 are quite interesting.
                      - Ghettos (see poverty, and drug related crimes)

                      DB
                      Last edited by Dick Blonov; 04-09-2007, 09:45 AM.

                      «That looks like a really nice house except for that horrible bathroom.» Donrhos

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                      • #12
                        Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                        Maybe it has something to do with the latitudinal position on the globe. Take a look at crime rates across countries. Canada=Good, U.S.=so-so, Mexico=horrendous. Canada has low gun ownership, but so does Mexico. Mexico has super strict gun laws and does not allow handguns in the hands of civilians. But the criminals have plenty of weapons. Only a couple of hours away from where I live, in Nuevo Laredo, they have gone through at least 3 police chiefs in the last couple of years. The last one was assinated last year. It's practically lawless there. Many of the federales are bought off. The law-abiding citizens can't do jack about it. Crime is also rampant in Mexico City.

                        There are way too many factors to say that gun control in one country will work the same for gun control in another country. We need guns, trust me. Ya'll don't have Mexico across a river from you like we do. Oh yeah, Canada doesn't have the large population that we do either. Besides, take a look at the cultures. As a whole, Canadians are about the friendliest people on the face of the planet. Good folk. But if anyone ever decides to take over your country, good luck organizing any militias without guns.
                        "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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                        • #13
                          Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                          Michael Adams is not a credible source. Why? Because I said so...

                          Kidding.

                          Seriously, as has already been stated, there are many, many other influences on a murder rate than just gun ownership. I think that population density has to be one of the biggest. Criminal culture is another biggie and is comprised of many smaller influences. Are jails/prisons overcrowded resulting in felons being released before their sentences are complete? How many police officers are there per capita? What's the aggravated assault rate? How about non-violent theft/burglary? I could go on and on, but you get the point.
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                          • #14
                            Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                            Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                            More Guns, Less Safe: Confronting the American Mythology of Gun Ownership


                            The simple fact of the matter is that Canada has a lower level of gun ownership (by over 50 percent!) and a significantly lower murder rate.
                            Sorry I was replying \/ to this post. /\

                            Originally posted by Hambergler View Post
                            That's all good for Canada, but if you live in a place where everyone and their grandmother has a gun(including the criminals). You may just become a dead gun control advocate.
                            My point is, It's too late for gun control in Texas. If the criminals knew they were the only ones with guns, you could just leave your door wide open at night with a sign that says Help Yourself. It's not utopia, and it is a social barrier. Sometimes I have to think twice about what I'm going to say for fear of getting shot. On more then one occasion strangers I didn't know have let me know they were packing. I don't like guns at all, but the lines have been drawn. On a positive note, there is a lot less honking on the roads.
                            Last edited by Hambergler; 04-09-2007, 06:31 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: More Guns, Less Safe

                              I think what you should be doing is comparing violent crime rates in US states that have strict gun control laws vs. those that adopt shall-issue policies.

                              States/cities with more guns and shall-issue policies tend to have lower violent crime rates than states/cities with strict gun control laws. IE: Washington D.C., New York City,
                              Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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