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Invited Presentation World Forum on Shooting Activities Gary Mauser Professor emeritus.

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Presentation on theme: "Invited Presentation World Forum on Shooting Activities Gary Mauser Professor emeritus."— Presentation transcript:

1 Invited Presentation World Forum on Shooting Activities Gary Mauser Professor emeritus

2 Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide? A review of international evidence

3 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy Spring 2007 Vol 30 (2) Don B. Kates Gary A. Mauser

4 Don B. Kates o American Criminologist o Professor of law (ret.) o Pacific Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA Gary A. Mauser o Canadian criminologist o Professor emeritus o Simon Fraser University Burnaby, BC, Canada

5 Claim The United States has the industrialized worlds highest murder rate because of high availability of guns Facts Russia has a much higher murder rate In general, higher gun ownership rates are associated with lower homicide rates (both internationally and intra-nationally)

6 Comparing homicide rates: United States and Russia (per 100,000 people) YearUSARussia (USSR) 1960s s

7 Claim Europe has low murder rates because of stringent gun control Facts Europe had low murder rates before gun controls introduced in twentieth century Research does not support effectiveness of stringent gun controls

8 Notes, Tables 1 – 2 Tables cover all the Continental European nations for which the two data sets given are both available. In every case we have given the homicide data for 2003 or the closest year thereto because that is the year of the publication from which the gun ownership data are taken. That publication is the Graduate Institute of International Studies, SMALL ARMS SURVEY 2003 (Oxford U. Press 2003) at pp. 64 and 65, tables The homicide rate data come from the pamphlets JURISTAT: Homicide in Canada (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics) for the years

9 Table 1 Gun ownership and murder rates NationMurder rate (per 100,000) Gun ownership (guns per 100,000) Murder rate year Russia20.544, Lithuania Hungary2.222, Finland1.9839, Sweden1.8724, Poland1.791, France1.6530,

10 Table 1 (contd) Gun ownership and murder rates NationMurder rate (per 100,000) Gun ownership (guns per 100,000) Murder rate year Denmark1.2118, Holland Greece1.1211, Switzerland0.9916, Germany0.9910, Luxembourg Norway0.8136, Austria0.8017,

11 Banning handguns Restricting access to handguns does not correlate with lower murder rates Countries that ban handguns typically have higher murder rates than neighboring countries

12 Table 2 Comparing murder rates of neighboring European nations NationHandgun policyMurder rate (per 100,000) Year BelarusBanned10.4Late 1990s PolandAllowed RussiaBanned

13 Table 2 contd Comparing murder rates of neighboring European nations NationHandgun policyMurder rate (per 100,000) Year RussiaBanned FinlandAllowed NorwayAllowed

14 Explanatory Note to Table 3 It bears emphasis that the following data come from a special U.N. report whose data are not fully comparable to those in Tables 1 and 2 because they cover different years and derive from substantially differing sources.

15 Do ordinary people murder? Table 3 shows European countries with descending order of murder rate No apparent correlation between murder and civilian firearms ownership

16 Table 3 - Eastern Europe Gun ownership and murder rates NationMurder rate (year)Rate of gun ownership Russia20.54 [2002]4,000 Moldova8.13 [2000]1,000 Slovakia2.65 [2000]3,000 Romania2.50 [2000]300 Macedonia2.31 [2000]16,000 Hungary2.22 [2003]2,000

17 Table 3 (contd) - Eastern Europe Gun ownership and murder rates NationMurder rate (year)Rate of gun ownership Finland1.98 [2004]39,000 Poland1.79 [2003]1,500 Slovenia1.81 [2000]5,000 Cz. Republic1.69 [2000]5,000 Greece1.69 [2000]11,000

18 Is the United States uniquely violent? Table 4 shows countries in descending order of combined murder and suicide rates The United States does not have the highest intentional death rate. It falls midway in this collection

19 Table 4 – Intentional Deaths: United States vs. Continental Europe NationSuicideMurderCombined rates Russia Estonia Latvia Lithuania Belarus Hungary Ukraine Slovenia Finland

20 Table 4 (contd) – Intentional Deaths: United States vs. Continental Europe NationSuicideMurderCombined rates Denmark Croatia Austria Bulgaria France Switzerland Belgium United States Poland

21 Table 4 (contd) – Intentional Deaths: United States vs. Continental Europe NationSuicideMurderCombined rates Germany Romania Sweden Norway Holland Italy Portugal Spain Greece

22 Notes, Table 4 1. Based in general on U.N. D EMOGRAPHIC Y EARBOOK (1998) as reported in David C. Stolinsky, "America: The Most Violent Nation?" M EDICAL S ENTINEL v. 5 (# ) It should be understood that, though the 1998 YEARBOOK gives figures for as late as 1996, the figures are not necessarily for that year. The YEARBOOK contains the latest figure each nation has provided the U.N. which may be 1996, 1995, or The Swiss homicide figure Stolinsky, supra, reports is an error because it combines attempts with actual murders. We have computed the Swiss murder rate by averaging the 1994 and 1995 Swiss National Police figures for actual murders in those years given in R.A.I. Munday & J.A. Stevenson, GUNS AND VIOLENCE: THE DEBATE BEFORE LORD CULLEN (Essex, Eng., Piedmont: 1996) at p. 268.

23 More guns, more death? Does access to firearms by civilians increase murder rates and suicide rates? No apparent correlation between total intentional death rate and civilian firearms ownership

24 Table 5 European Gun/Handgun Violent Death NationSuicide w /handgun Murder w/ handgun Percent households w/ guns Percent households w/ handguns Belgium %6.8% France %5.5% W Germany %6.7% Holland %1.2% Italy %5.5% Norway %3.8% Sweden %1.5% Switzerland %12.2%

25 Notes, Table 5 1. As to derivation of the homicide rates see Table 1, note 1. The data on household firearms ownership come from British Home Office figures printed in R.A.I. Munday & J.A. Stevenson, GUNS AND VIOLENCE: THE DEBATE BEFORE LORD CULLEN (Essex, Eng., Piedmont: 1996) pp. 30 and 275.

26 Table 6 European Firearms-Violent Deaths NationSuicideSuicide with gun MurderMurder with gun Guns per 100,000 population AustriaN/A Belarus27.26N/A9.86N/A16.5 Czech Rep Estonia Finland Germany Greece

27 Table 6 (contd) European Firearms-Violent Deaths NationSuicideSuicide with gun MurderMurder with gun Guns per 100,000 population Hungary MoldovaN/A Poland RomaniaN/A Slovakia Spain5.92N/A Sweden

28 Banning guns does not reduce murder rates

29 Irish murder incidents before and after 1972 handgun ban

30 Jamaican murder rates before and after 1976 firearm ban

31 Explanatory Notes for Subsequent Chart Recently published data confirm earlier analyses by Kates-Mauser that firearms ownership and homicide rates are not positively correlated internationally Civilian firearms ownership (shown by red line) increase from left to right. Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Global Study on Homicide, 2011 Homicide rates (shown by vertical blue bars) from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, SMALL ARMS SURVEY 2007 In general, nations with higher gun ownership rates (found at right) are associated with lower homicide rates

32 Homicide rates and firearms ownership in Europe

33 Caveat The Kates-Mauser study is based on the best available data o Murder and suicide rates are government sources o Firearms ownership rates provided by United Nations or the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Swiss Small Arms Survey Nevertheless, errors abide in available data o E.g., Swiss Small Arms Survey estimates combine civilian and criminal firearms

34 Conclusions and recommendations Available data does not support link between civilian firearms ownership and murder or suicide rates Available data does not support effectiveness of stringent firearms laws in reducing murder or suicide rates Better estimates of civilian firearms ownership should be collected It is imperative that policy makers be exposed to more accurate research on civilian firearms


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