Guns: U.S. vs U.K.

There’s this common meme that the U.S. is so much worse than the U.K. in murders or crime, so I wanted to collect a lot of facts in one place.
A common way they mislead people is to compare gun murder rates only, instead of all murder rates. The UK has a higher white murder rate, but they use clubs and knives rather than guns. Since I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to be stabbed or beaten to death, the important factor is whether you’re murdered or not (not the tool the murderer uses), right? Any time you see someone comparing GUN murder rates, you know they’re a propagandist trying to deceive people.
Here’s a simple plot of the murder rates over time, for the U.S. (using the FBI’s UCR / Universal Crime Report) and U.K. (using their ONS / Office of National Statistics). And I overlay when they each enacted or removed gun controls.

Each time the UK (blue) enacted or stiffened their gun control laws, they saw an increase in murder rates. In the 1950’s they outlawed conceal and carry, in the 80’s it was shotguns, and in the late 90’s it was all pistols. Each had no impact or an increase in murder rates. (Crime trends are even worse).

So regardless of whether the UK has fewer murders than the US for cultural reasons, we know that gun control didn’t help the UK’s murder rate.

Next I overlaid the U.S. murder rates (Dark Red) with major gun control events. After JFK was shot, states and eventually the Fed (1968) passed all sorts of gun control laws — and what happened to our murder rates? They doubled from around 5 to 10 per 100K, and they hovered there, despite all sorts of state and federal revisions, or more laws (30,000 different state/local/federal gun control laws were passed in total).

Then in the late 80’s Florida passed “Must Issue” conceal and carry and castle doctrine laws were passed, and their crime/murder rates started falling noticeably. Many other states (in the South and Midwest) followed suit, with the same effects in their state murder rates, and eventually enough of those added up to start impacting the federal murder rates noticeably. Then the federal assault weapon ban expired — and if gun control worked, you’d expect an upward spike in murders, but nothing, it continued to trend down.

So regardless of whether the UK has fewer murders than the US for cultural reasons, we know that gun control didn’t help the US’s murder rate. And in fact, seemed to have the opposite effect, both in enacting those controls, and in removing those controls.

But there’s still quite a gap between the U.S and the UK murder rates. Why is that?

Something important to know is that the U.K. ONS distorts their numbers for political reasons. While the rest of the world measures murder rates as people who are killed, the ONS does two things to cheat:

  1. They exclude Scotland and North Ireland from their counting: I guess when they are murdered, it isn’t as important to ONS as if Britons die. While that is only about 10% of the total population of the UK, but significantly more of their crimes and murders.
  2. They only count murders where someone is charged with a crime. (Only between 1/2 and 3/4ths of all murders are counted).

When propagandists compare the “official” U.S. to U.K. numbers, they’re ignoring these differences in accounting. Something to note is that Scotland and Ireland have higher murder rates than in England/Whales and the U.S. despite their gun control. So we know that gun control doesn’t work for Scotland and Ireland.

Now to normalize (correct) across countries accounting, you can either correct the UK’s numbers up, or the U.S. numbers down — but you have to make up for the gimmick where an uncharged homicide isn’t counted in the U.K. — so I corrected the U.S. down, and you get the medium red trend line. The U.S. is not equal to UK or England, but much better than Scotland or North Ireland. But wait there’s more.

The other gimmick used, is whenever you compare two different collections in statistics, you must correct for differences between sub-groups. (Or look only at sub groups).

In the U.S. Blacks are 1/7th the population, but over 1/2 of all our murders, and Latino’s are about the same 15% of the population and are responsible for over half the rest of murders.England has virtually no blacks (<3%) or latino’s. So if we again, correct for those demographic differences (or just compare a subset — the U.S.’s white murder rate to the UK’s), we find that in the bright red trend line, that the U.S. has a lower murder rate than the U.K.

This is all statistics 101 — which shows that anyone who doesn’t make these correction either doesn’t know statistics, or is a propagandists, intentionally misleading people.

Now around this time, people that can’t handle the facts or truth, start trying to distract by claiming either I’m racist, or this data is racist. But data is not making judgements, it’s just facts.

The problem isn’t racial in America, but it is cultural. Black immigrants don’t have the same murder rates as Black Americans. And if you dive into the groups, you find rural blacks (and whites and latinos) have lower murder rates than inner cities. It’s also not income or income equality based.

So facts are facts. In the U.S. we have a lower white murder rate (but higher black murder rate) than the U.K. And white’s in America have higher gun ownership rates than blacks (or than whites in the U.K.) — so we know that gun control doesn’t help murder rates for whites. At least across these two countries. And the reason for differences among blacks in the two countries is easily explained by gang culture in the U.S.

But what about crime? 

Violent crime is down in the UK, from a peak of 3.8 million to 1.3 million violent crimes last year, but that’s in a country 1/5th our size. That means they’re only at about 1,776/100K violent crimes per year, versus the U.S. 466. 

Now a few “fact checkers” who can never remember to normalize for differences between reporting standards when talking about gun murders, suddenly remember statistics 101 when the numbers don’t show what they want. So they throw out Scotland/Ireland (for no good reason), and adjust for accounting differences (UK qualifies more things as "violent crimes" than the FBI does) and then they’re only at about 776/100K or still about double ours.

Of course if you adjust for race/gangs in a few urban areas (like they threw out Scotland/Ireland), or just look at white crime rates, and the U.S. drops to about 1/8th of the UK‘s. So there’s lots of ways to massage data. 

England/Wales rape rate (or attempted) is about 85,000/year (w/another 40K sexual assaults), about the same as ours (1/3rd Sweden’s), but more of theirs are at knifepoint, and they don’t include Scotland or North Ireland (which appears closer to Sweden’s rates and puts them well over ours). 

And they still have, 2.6x more assaults than the US. (Scotland has an astounding 5.7x more), far higher burglaries and robberies, and far far worse with home-invasion type. While their total crime rate is about double ours, you have to remember, ours is pooled in a few urban areas w/Gang problems (DC, Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago), their problems are far more widespread. 

Well at least they don’t have our mass murders

Mass murder rates are hard to track because they’re so rare. With 5x the population, we had about 8x as many events as the UK (so a little worse in rate). But usually far fewer kills per incident, and that’s if you go only go back to 2008 and their Cumbria shooting where Derrick Bird shot and killed 12 and injured 11. If you go back to 2005 and their London bombings their 52 dead and 700 injured, they easily surpasses all ours in the same time (not even adjusting for population). So it matters how you account, but 


So what anyone vaguely informed on gun control issues knows is that the U.S. does not have a gun problem. Whites and Asian are highly responsible with guns, and have a lower murder rate than almost all of Europe and the OECD countries. We have a very specific problem: democrats, blacks and latino’s drag our murder and crime rates averages up.

Another thing gun-controller advocates either don’t realize (or do, and lie about) is as bad as the U.S. is at murders, violent crime rate in the UK is much worse than in the U.S., despite their gun control. England alone has something like 600 murdersby knife per year (and 26,370 knife crimes). Compare that to only 1,500 for the U.S., with over 5 times the population. Home invasion robberies, aggravated assault, violent rape, and stabbings are worse than the U.S. average. And when you correct for race, it’s even worse.

So in the end, when it comes to trends — increasing gun control and taking away gun owners liberty only resulted in higher crimes and murder rates in the UK. In the U.S., removing those laws resulted in lowering of crime rates. Though in both cases it’s hard to prove the the results were causal, it’s much much harder to prove the opposite (that gun control had any positive effects, other than when it was removed).


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