Glenn Reynolds agrees with the BBC

The latest crime figures in the UK are out and show that crime has continued to fall, reaching a record low:

The risk of being a victim of crime, at 25 per cent, is the lowest recorded by the BCS since it began in 1981.

The BCS recorded an 11% drop in overall crime, a 10% drop in burglaries, a 14% drop in car thefts and a 9% drop in violent crime.

Police recorded crime figures show a 6% drop in crime, a 2% drop in murder, a 23% drop in burglaries, a 17% drop in car thefts and a 7% increase in violent crime. The increase in recorded violent crime is likely due to improved recording rather than an increase in crime.

As for firearms crime, overall firearms crime have been stable, with an increase of less than 1%. Handgun crimes continued to fall, decreasing by 7%. The reason that firearms crimes did not also decrease was because there was an increase in crimes committed with imitation weapons. Firearms homicides fell 16% to 68, and firearms robberies fell by 14%.

Pretty good news you would think. So what’s the BBC’s headline? Violent Crime increases by 6%. And what does Glenn Reynolds post?

ALPHECCA REPORTS that gun crime is up in gun-free Britain.

Comments

  1. #1 ben
    January 27, 2005

    I’ll buy the decrease in crime statistics. It has a lot more to do with the economy than guns, though. Thatcher took over in 1979, and adjusting for a couple years to let her policies take effect, I’d say the decreasing crime rates reflect positively on her leadership and the general trend since then in UK politics.

  2. #2 Agricola
    January 27, 2005

    Ben,

    Actually, the fall in some crime start around 1995 – probably when people found the rusted crone was gone for good, would not be coming back and so there was no point being evil any more.

  3. #3 ben
    January 27, 2005

    yeah, that’s a good reasoning :)

  4. #4 ben
    January 27, 2005

    er, yeah, that’s good reasoning :)
    (whoops)

  5. #5 Scott
    January 27, 2005

    Note that he’s also lying (much as I otherwise like Reynold’s work, there’s no other word for it) about “gun-free Britain”. This site explains what the law really is in Britain. But if people realized that gun control doesn’t equal gun ban they wouldn’t write those checks to the NRA would they?

  6. #6 Terry
    January 27, 2005

    Scott you have to be a real schmuck to say that. For all intensive purposes, its impossible to legal acquire a firearm in Britain today.
    But if the law says so thats it, nothing else matters.
    Your the type of idiot who believed that Cuba has free elections and Canada’s universal health care is great because Cuba and Canada say so.
    You play poker? If so, where and when.

  7. #7 ben
    January 27, 2005

    Scott, from the website you linked

    All of the following weapons and ammunition are prohibited:

    (ab)any self-loading or pump-action rifled gun other than one which is chambered for .22 rim-fire cartridges.

    So we write our checks to the NRA because allowing only .22′s and shotguns is our idea of essentially gun-free. See, those other guns, like my .40 Beretta are banned, so it is, in fact, a gun ban.

  8. #8 Simon
    January 27, 2005

    Those commie Canada’s and their universal health care – think their sooo good just because they live longer. Just like those commie Aussie’s and their universal health care – they live longer too. And those commie Japanese…

    Maybe Canada’s universal healthcare is great because it allows people to live longer at lower cost than the US system. And maybe when a law says something – for all intends and purposes – then that what the law is. And what’s this ‘essentially’ rubbish. What bollocks. Are guns banned or not – NO. Is the UK gun-free – NO. Essentially, actually, for all intents and purposes – NO.

  9. #9 hohum
    January 27, 2005

    The second figure in the linked BBC article, a bar graph with the BCS statistics, is a little deceptive at first glance because while the numbers are all negative, the corresponding bars go to the right, which I usually associate with positive numbers. (The preview has this comment attached to the previous one from Simon. I hope that will not be the case when I hit POST.)

  10. #10 Ian Gould
    January 27, 2005

    Ben: automatic and semi-automatic rifles over 22 calibre are banned. You can have bolt-action and single-shot rifles of larger calibre.

  11. #11 a.r.
    January 27, 2005

    For all intensive purposes, its impossible to legal acquire a firearm in Britain today.

    That’s ‘intents and purposes’, and your knowledge of UK gun laws is as shaky as your command of the English language.

  12. #12 Carleton Wu
    January 27, 2005

    I note that the pro-gunners aren’t discussing the misleading reporting, but have jumped directly the the pro v anti gun case.
    Maybe y’all weren’t aware of this, but Tim’s not anti-gun. He’s just anti-bullshit.

    Ben- a “gun ban” isn’t just a ban on some guns. Semantics, I know, but that’s like calling a prostitution ban a “ban on small business”, right? And, if Thatcher gets credit for every good thing that happens in the UK since the early 80s, does she not also get blame for every bad thing?

    Terry-I don’t know what kind of idiot Scott is, if he is in fact one at all- but I’d bet you’re the kind of idiot who believes what they read on Insty about UK gun laws…
    http://www.gundealer.net/ has a listing of UK gun shops by region. There seem to be quite a few. Of course, maybe you’re right- guns aren’t allowed in the UK, and they’re all just fooling themselves.
    If you believe that, please tell me where you play poker.

  13. #13 ben
    January 27, 2005

    We’ll call it a “ban on any kind of gun I want” then, since I don’t have much interest in the kind that British subjects are “allowed” to have.

  14. #14 ben
    January 27, 2005

    and really, it’s a ban on MOST guns, so we can call it a gun ban if we want.

    Simon, I lived in Canada for many years and I found their health care system to be less than desireable. I prefer the US system, though it too is significantly flawed.

    It seems that it is perfectly legal to aquire some types of firearms, the single shot and bolt action for example, but it’s a fair bit more cumbersome as seen from the informative link above

    The holder of a firearm certificate has a far more limited flexibility when it comes to possessing firearms. It is a requirement of the Firearms Acts that such certificate holders specify their reason for each and every firearm they require.

    An applicant for a firearm certificate needs to demonstrate “good reason” for the weapons requested. In the case of target shooting, “good reason” can only be satisfied by the applicant being a full and active member of a Home Office approved club (probationary membership is not acceptable), and the club must be approved for the use of the firearms requested in the application.

    It’s that sort of thing, among those sorts of things, that make us American gun enthusiasts cringe.

  15. #15 Rob
    January 27, 2005

    Under Ben’s definition the US has a full gun ban as well since I can’t get a fully automatic high caliber machine gun in the US.

  16. #16 SayUncle
    January 27, 2005

    “Maybe y’all weren’t aware of this, but Tim’s not anti-gun. He’s just anti-bullshit.”

    I agree with the latter, the former not so much. Tim stated once that he thought Australia’s post 1996ish gun laws were adequate. In my book, that’s pretty darn anti-gun.

    I agree he’s anti-BS.

  17. #17 Barry
    January 27, 2005

    The BBC’s headline wasn’t unreasonable, if you assume that most people worry more about violent crime rather than non-violent crime. I live in a university town, whose crime rate reflect a very large number of petty larcenies (i.e., leave your backpack lying around, and it might jump up and run away).

  18. #18 Tim Lambert
    January 27, 2005

    Barry, the BBC’s headline was unreasonable, since violent crime actually went down, yet again.

  19. #19 ben
    January 27, 2005

    Not true, Rob. Since when is “a small fraction” the same as “most”? My definition is based on the banning of most, as in about 99% of, guns being banned. To me, that’s a gun ban. Your version is like the prostitution/small business example given earlier by Carleton Wu.

    further, Rob, you can get a fully automatic machinegun in the US (in 42 states, but not mine). Those weapons are heavily regulated, but any law-abiding person can get one if they jump through enough hoops.

  20. #20 Agricola
    January 28, 2005

    Carleton: no offence, but why is anyone surprised by any of this? Some pro-gunners cannot accept that any of the mantras they have been fed over the past decade could possibly be wrong, so they stuff their fingers in their ears and repeat “well they have no guns” over, and over, and over again. Its this denial of reality that allows people like Reynolds, Malcolm and Lott to continue making statements that are flat wrong.

  21. #21 Kevin P.
    January 28, 2005

    Note the single quotes around the BBC’s headline and the first paragraph.

  22. #22 Kevin P.
    January 28, 2005

    Out of curiosity, what is the explanation for a 35% drop in the surveyed crime rate since 1995? This is a very large and significant number. I would think that every country in the world would be sending observers to Scotland Yard by now.

  23. #23 Kevin P.
    January 28, 2005

    There is an oblique reference to the reason for the drop as … “New anti-social behaviour laws had helped the police tackle problems such as alcohol-fuelled disorder, said Mr Fox.”

    This seems very vague to me. The large drop in the crime rate in the US since 1992 has had no shortage of debate about its causes. I haven’t heard a peep about this UK report.

    The police and the government seem anxious to take credit for it, of course

  24. #24 ben
    January 28, 2005

    apparently the much of the drop in crime can be attributed to legalizing of abortion in the late ’60′s early ’70′s in the US and UK.

  25. #25 dsquared
    January 28, 2005

    Out of curiosity, what is the explanation for a 35% drop in the surveyed crime rate since 1995?

    Mainly; reduced proportion of young males in the population, low unemployment.

    Also, 1995 was a peak year for a drug war in Liverpool; the “Gunchester” era in Manchester was more or less over but still probably contributing. But there have been improvements in policing, and the Blair government has chucked a fair bit of money at the problem.

  26. #26 Toby
    January 28, 2005

    My definition is based on the banning of most, as in about 99% of, guns being banned.

    From dictionary.com:
    ban: 1. To prohibit, especially by official decree.

    If England had a ban on firearms, English people would be prohibited from acquiring firearms. According to the regulations described on this site, an English person with no criminal record can get an effective firearm (multi-shot .22 pistol, bolt-action rifle, or shotgun) by joining an approved gun club (of which there are many, in England) and applying for a certificate. Most English people would have the means, if they so wished, to join a club and apply for such a certificate, and so purchase a firearm. I know of people who have attended such clubs and fired firearms; if they had wished to, they could have joined and purchased their own. They are able to purchase firearms that are accurate and powerful. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that the English people are prohibited from owning firearms. Under the generally-agreed definition of the term “ban”, there is no ban on guns within England.

  27. #27 Shaun Bourke
    January 28, 2005

    Reading the report on page 11 we discover that it is only a public opinion survey conducted over a period of 12mths interviewing 40,000 people over 16 years of age living in private households.

    So tell me what type of results would you like ?

  28. #28 :
    January 28, 2005

    <<We’ll call it a “ban on any kind of gun I want” then>> You mean like the gun ban in the US that stops you buying 50 calibre chain-fed machine-guns, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns?

  29. #29 :
    January 28, 2005

    <<We’ll call it a “ban on any kind of gun I want” then>> You mean like the gun ban in the US that stops you buying 50 calibre chain-fed machine-guns, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns?

  30. #30 :
    January 28, 2005

    <<We’ll call it a “ban on any kind of gun I want” then>> You mean like the gun ban in the US that stops you buying 50 calibre chain-fed machine-guns, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns?

  31. #31 :
    January 28, 2005

    <<We’ll call it a “ban on any kind of gun I want” then>> You mean like the gun ban in the US that stops you buying 50 calibre chain-fed machine-guns, howitzers and anti-aircraft guns?

  32. #32 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2005

    SayUncle: “Tim stated once that he thought Australia’s post 1996ish gun laws were adequate.”

    Actually I think Tim stated that Australia’s PRE-1996 gun laws were adequate and than the additional restrictions that year on semi-automatic rifles were unjustified since they were extremely expensive and unlikely to save many lives.

  33. #33 Ian Gould
    January 28, 2005

    Shaun

    Crime surveys are regarded as the most accurate and reliable way to measure crime levels because they avoid problems associated with crime records providing by the police – for example, some crimes are never reported and the rate of under-reporting varies widely between different types of crime.

    Britain also publishes figures on criems reproted to the police and they show a similar part of decline.

    As Dsquared had, there’s been a decline in the proportion of the British population aged in theri teens and twenties. Look at arrest and conmviction figures for any population and you’ll find people aged between about 15-25 are over-represented.

  34. #34 ben
    January 28, 2005

    How about we restrict gun ownership to single shot flint-locks in small caliber only. That’s not a gun ban, because you can still own a gun. I don’t want a single shot flint-lock, I don’t have any use for one. So that would be a ban on guns that I consider useful. For me, that’s a gun ban.

    Shaun, you seem to be talking about an artillery ban. If not, you’re still talking about a ban on a small percentage of available guns. I’m talking about a ban on 99% of guns. That’s a ban on guns for all intents and purposes.

    Toby, you write

    an English person with no criminal record can get an effective firearm (multi-shot .22 pistol, bolt-action rifle, or shotgun) by joining an approved gun club (of which there are many, in England) and applying for a certificate. … They are able to purchase firearms that are accurate and powerful.

    I guess your definition of accurate and powerful is different than mine. Last time I checked, a .22 was at a serious disadvantage in power and range compared to my .30-30 winchester and my .40sw. I guess you could call it a ban on effective self-defense firearms. That’s really the point of the firearm restrictions anyway.

  35. #35 ben
    January 28, 2005

    Hold on, I missed the bolt action rifle thingy. Yep, those are accurate and powerful. I’m surprised they’re allowed though, on account of someone in Britain could go on a DC-sniper style spree with one of those, and do more damage too. After all, many, if not most, bolt action rifles are more powerful and accurate than the relatively wimpy .223 Rem used by the DC snipers in their “assault weapon.”
    Maybe Britain could just ban people with prescriptions for SSRI’s (e.g. prozac) from owning weapons? That might be more fair and more effective.

  36. #36 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    Test post by Kevin P. to force a break before the previous one

  37. #37 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    Regarding what a ban on firearms really means:

    1) The only modern firearms that are permitted in England are single and double-barreled shotguns, single shot and bolt-action rifles, and .22 caliber rifles. Banned firearms include: All kinds of modern revolvers and pistols, all pump-action and semi-auto shotguns, all pump-action and semi-auto rifles (except .22s). It is true that there is no complete ban on firearms, but that is likely just a matter of time. At the present time, a large proportion of the guns that are actually useful for defense of self, family and home are illegal to possess. You may as well say that Saudi Arabia does not ban religious freedom because you are free to be a Sunni or a Wahabbist. This is the classic half-loaf strategy that the gun banners in the States have been pursuing for the last 25 years. Heck, this has just showed up yet again in San Francisco.

    2) In order to exercise the privilege to possess the few remaining firearms that are allowed, a prospective gun owner in England has to jump through an enormous number of hoops, both expensive in terms of financial cost (periodic substantial licensing fees), time (a long bureaucratic licensing process), and privacy (personal referrals and mandatory police inspection of gun storage in the home). There is no evidence that this kind of regulatory burden has reduced gun violence anywhere in the world. England was much safer a hundred years ago when anyone could own any kind of firearm and carry it freely. Rather, the licensing regime is administered to reduce the gun owning population through attrition and thereby reduce the number of people who will object to the ultimate gun ban.

    3) Perhaps the most sinister aspect of English firearms laws and practice is that self-defense is not a “good reason” to own a firearm, even in your own home. Moreover, all firearms kept in the home must be kept locked up in a safe, with ammunition kept separately. This is essentially a prohibition on using a firearm for self-defense in the home (unless you think that the criminal will politely wait until you unlock the safe in the dark and load your weapon). Given that the entire gun control debate really rotates around crime and self-defense, this alone justifies saying that the UK has a firearms ban.

    Source: http://www.met.police.uk/firearms-enquiries/f_reasn2.htm

    Money quote:
    However, please note that applications for the grant of a firearm certificate for “self-protection” will be refused since firearms are not considered to be an acceptable means of protection in this country.

    Most gun-rights activists that I know are really self-defense activists who are fighting to protect the right to own the most useful tool of self-defense. Target shooting and hunting are fun pastimes but are irrelevant to the right to own a gun. As far as we are concerned: England has a gun ban.

    Note: I have confined my descriptions to “England”, and I believe that this is also applicable to Wales. I understand that the laws in Scotland and Northern Ireland are even more restrictive, but have not done any research into it yet.

  38. #38 Scott
    January 29, 2005

    If the consequences of weak gun laws weren’t so serious, it would be funny to watch the pro-NRA crowd twist themselves into knots trying to rationalize their positions. At any rate my point is proven, if a Brit takes the necessary steps, he or she can buy a rifle or a shootgun but the pro-NRA, as Ben et al. have been so kind to demonstrate, when scream themselves blue in the face trying to tell you they can’t.

    “Moreover, all firearms kept in the home must be kept locked up in a safe, with ammunition kept separately.” In a hunter’s safety class, I was told to do precisely that .. by an NRA instructor!

  39. #39 Toby
    January 29, 2005

    Kevin P. – you didn’t read the site well enough, I’m afraid. Pump action shotguns are NOT banned – they are defined as a Section 1 shotgun, and are available under a firearm licence. Refer to http://www.met.police.uk/firearms-enquiries/f_whatis.htm

    Considering you don’t know what the law is, I’m not inclined to agree with your predictions on what the law will become.

  40. #40 Toby
    January 29, 2005

    Sorry – link didn’t work. Refer to:
    http://www.met.police.uk/firearms-enquiries/f_whatis.htm

  41. #41 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    Toby, thanks for pointing that out. Yes, you are correct and I am mistaken, shotguns that hold more than two rounds are classified as Section 1 shotguns and require the “good reason” firearms certificate (not license) for each such shotgun.

    I idly wonder what “good reason” is accepted by the licensing authorities for possessing a high-capacity pump or semi-auto shotgun.

    .

    Incidentally, in your post at 28/1/2005 19:49:43, you claim that: an English person … can get an effective firearm (multi-shot .22 pistol…

    Of course, if you had actually done your own research properly, you would know by know that all handguns, pistols and revolvers, .22s and otherwise are prohibited in England. The Tory government banned all handguns except .22s and the Blair government banned the remaining .22s. I think that blackpowder handguns are still permitted, although you naturally need even more licenses to store the blackpowder.

    So get your own facts straight before being quick to sneer at others for making mistakes about the laws.

    I noticed that you avoided the rest of the post about self-defense not being a good reason to keep firearms.

    And regarding the future state of the laws: gun ownership in Britain is down to about 4% of the population, so the banning of the rest of the guns is only a matter of time, and the timing of the next well publicized mass murder. See
    All the way down the slippery slope

    Prediction: Tim Lambert will be along shortly to disparage the above article as a suspect creation of Dave Kopel and the eeeevil Prof. Olson

  42. #42 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    Scott, thanks for your casual and revealing dismissal of the basic right of self-defense. Every such posting by you and people sympathetic to your view strengthens the resolve of gun-rights activists.

  43. #43 Shaun Bourke
    January 29, 2005

    Ben,
    Thankyou very much for pointing out your inability to distinguish between my comment and the unattributed comment below mine.

  44. #44 Nabakov
    January 29, 2005

    “And regarding the future state of the laws: gun ownership in Britain is down to about 4% of the population, so the banning of the rest of the guns is only a matter of time, and the timing of the next well publicized mass murder.”

    Nothing to add there. I think that para speaks for itself when it come to the logic of some “everyone should have guns” advocates.

    I like guns and shooting and hunting but I don’t think they should be easily available. Especially not to someone as irrational and excitable as you Kev.

  45. #45 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    Nabakov, did you bother to read the article above? A large amount of British gun control in the last century has been in response to some kind of dramatic event involving death. No, I am not suggesting that someone is planning this. Rather, it will happen because s#*$ happens, and then the gun banners will take advantage of it.

    I like guns and shooting and hunting, BUT … Yeah really. For some reason, this blog attracts a large number of such people.

  46. #46 a.r.
    January 29, 2005

    I do like the way that ‘the basic right of self-defense’ is used by gunners like Kevin P. to beg the question. For them, it’s no more than a shorthand for ‘the right to keep and bear arms’. Strangely enough, the law tends to differ with them on that regard. Out of curiosity, Kevin P. — are you British? I only ask because most pro-gun Americans who comment on British gun laws do so primarily (or sometimes only) through secondary or tertiary American sources. Like yourself.

    As for ‘ben’ and his ‘I don’t want a single shot flint-lock, I don’t have any use for one’, there’s no point in trying to engage with someone whose position is akin to that of a five-year-old wailing ‘No! Me want that!’ at his mother. ‘Just because.’ is not a reason.

    Look, ben, it’s okay that you find your guns useful, especially since you’ll never be allowed to bring them anywhere near me. Just don’t try and extrapolate anything out of your own personal ooglies.

  47. #47 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    a.r. , I am American. My sources on British gun laws are from the Metropolitan police. You would have seen if you had clicked on at least one of the links above. I can however understand that it is easier to assume that I would read only secondary American sources.

  48. #48 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    That makes it easier to dismiss my arguments without research or thought.

    Incidentally, (assuming you are British), your laws did have a strong right to self defense and a strong and related right to bear arms for defense of self and realm.

    Until the last century, when it was systematically eviscerated.

  49. #49 Tim Lambert
    January 29, 2005

    Kevin P, since you wanted me to comment on the Kopel/Olson article, I will. British folk who read it will be startled to learn that after Dunkirk, Britain was able to rearm its troops from private donations of guns from American citizens.

  50. #50 Kevin P.
    January 29, 2005

    Tim, I didn’t invite you to comment, I just assumed you would :-)

    I agree that British folks who read Kopel will be startled about the donations of arms from private Americans, which of course occurred before Lend Lease and before the entry of the US into WWII. But then, for some reason, I wager that most (not all) Brits will be startled about anything about arms.

    I love history and had a fun time this morning digging into this. Link, Pic of poster (you will have to scroll halfway down).

    Your statement about Kopel seems to be an incorrect paraphrasing of what he actually says. He makes it clear that US government hardware (albeit from a then neutral nation) was very much part of the arms shipments to Britain.

  51. #51 Kevin P.
    January 30, 2005

    Sorry, the link above broke for some reason. Here is the right one.

  52. #52 liberal
    January 30, 2005

    Kevin P. wrote, Most gun-rights activists that I know are really self-defense activists who are fighting to protect the right to own the most useful tool of self-defense.

    For home defense, is a gun more useful, on average, than a dog?

  53. #53 ben
    January 30, 2005

    depends on whether or not you have a bulletproof dog. All joking aside, it depends on the dog and the potential bad guys (and how they’re armed) that your dog might encounter. There are other self defense situations besides home defense, of course.

    hey, I did some digging, and it seems that you are about a billion times more likely to be killed by a “dog in the home” than a burgler is. Here’s a taste from this website

    A survey by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (“CDC”) concludes that dogs bite nearly 2% of the U.S. population — more than 4.7 million people annually. (Sacks JJ, Kresnow M, Houston B. Dog bites: how big a problem? Injury Prev 1996;2:52-4.) Almost 800,000 bites per year — one out of every 6 — are serious enough to require medical attention. Dog bites send nearly 334,000 victims to hospital emergency departments per year (914 per day).


    The chances that the victim of a fatal dog attack will be a burgler are one in 177; the odds that it will be a child are 7 out of 10.


    Dog attack victims in the U.S. suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses every year. (“Take the bite out of man’s best friend.” State Farm Times, 1998;3(5):2.) That $1 billion estimate might be low — an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, in 1995, State Farm paid $70 million on 11,000 claims and estimated that the total annual insurance cost for dog bites was about $2 billion.

    and so forth. Seems like having a “self defense dog” is pretty risky to me. And a dog isn’t an inanimate piece of metal like a gun is. A gun won’t go off unless somebody causes the trigger to be pulled. A dog can potentially do what it wants, when it wants, with no outside input. Now I’m sure they’ll ban “self defense dogs” in Britain pretty soon, or at least require justification for owning a dog of any kind, and “self defense” will not be deemed reasonable justification.

    har har.

  54. #54 a.r.
    January 30, 2005

    British folk who read it will be startled to learn that after Dunkirk, Britain was able to rearm its troops from private donations of guns from American citizens.

    Actually, I’m not. I already knew where many of the post-Dunkirk Lee Enfields came from. Then again, I also know that the IRA’s Armalites came from similar private donations. Kevin P. seems to believe that Kopel and Olsen are British, though, which is a curious mental lapse.

    your laws did have a strong right to self defense and a strong and related right to bear arms for defense of self and realm.

    Unless you were a Catholic, of course. Which may be one reason why Americans were so enthusiastic to arm the IRA in the 1980s.

  55. #55 ben
    January 30, 2005

    Catholic? The USA was founded by Puritans, not smelly Catholics. GRRRRRR.

  56. #56 Ian Gould
    January 30, 2005

    Actually Ben North and South Carolina (and, I think, Georgia) were founded specifically as colonies for English Catholics unwilling to accept discrimination in Protestant England.

    Meanwhile, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania were founded on explicitly non-sectarian charters which forbade them from establishing and church as the state religion.

  57. #57 Tim Lambert
    January 30, 2005

    Britain did not rearm from private donations, but buying rifles from the US government. Kopel writes:

    Churchill thought that the American donations (p.418)were “entirely on a different level from anything we have transported across the Atlantic except for the Canadian division itself.”

    But if you check the source, you’ll find that Churchill wasn’t referring to the donations, but the guns purchased from the US government.

  58. #58 liberal
    January 30, 2005

    ben wrote, hey, I did some digging, and it seems that you are about a billion times more likely to be killed by a “dog in the home” than a burgler is.

    You miss the point, which is that a dog would primarily deter would-be burglers.

    Seems like having a “self defense dog” is pretty risky to me.

    But you have to compare dogs to guns—what’s the heightened risk of death (suicide, accident, domestic homicide) with a gun around?

  59. #59 ben
    January 30, 2005

    You miss the point, which is that a dog would primarily deter would-be burglers.

    Nope, that’s exactly the point that pro-gunners make when confronted with the statistics that a person in the home is X times more likely to be killed by a gun in the home than a burgler is. Anyone on my side of the debate would have gotten the joke.

    In comparing dogs to guns, you need to look at death AND injuries, not just fatalities. The number of injuries and serious injury due to dogs is one or two orders of magnitude greater than the due to guns. So there’s a funny trade-off. Significantly lower risk of death with a dog, but significantly greater risk of serious injury (especially to children). In fact, if you only consider children (under 12) then the risk of death is the same or maybe even better for guns, but the risk of injury is much worse for dogs. Looks like guns might actually be better for “the children.”

  60. #60 Ian Gould
    January 31, 2005

    Ben,

    I don’t see any figures for dog-related fatalities in the sources you quote.

    However the cost of dog-related injuries (estimated at $1-2 billion a year) is far lower than that for gun-related deaths alone.

    Economists estimate the value of a life at around $1 million – that’s based both on the economic losses and on the implied value from hazard pay demanded for dangerous jobs.

    The 7,000 gun homicides alone therefore represent a cost of around $7 billion. I don’t recall the number of other gun fatalities (accidents and suicides) but I seem to recall its larger than the number of homicides. You then have all the NON-lethal injuries.

    The number of suicides in which dogs are the chosen weapon is probably pretty low.

    Plus with dogs you avoid all the arguments about concealed-carry laws – well until somebody cross-breeds pit bulls and chihuahuas.

  61. #61 ben
    January 31, 2005

    I think that $7 billion is off by about $7 billion. If you factor in that most of the people killed by guns in the USA each year are also criminals (I’ve read conjectures that this is as high as 60-70%, but can’t confirm) the value of their lives suddenly goes from $1 million to somewhere between $0 and -$1 million (or less). Hence, there may be even a net economic benefit from gun homicides. In any case, the $7 billion loss each year to gun violence is bogus.

  62. #62 Simon
    January 31, 2005

    Gees – ben how many stats can you make up in one comments sections – ’99% of guns’, ‘as high as 60-70%’ ‘somewhere between $0 and -$1 million (or less)’, ‘is one or two orders of magnitude’ – sounds like one of those dodgy carpet places ‘save up to 50%, sometimes more’

  63. #63 ben
    January 31, 2005

    hey, be fair, I was making up stats to compete with someone else’s made up stats. I think that’s OK.

    And the 99% thing, well, ok, how about we look at it like this. Ordinary type guns allowed in Britain: 1 .22 (rimfire) rifles, 2 bolt action rifles, 3 single action rifles. Ordinary guns not allowed: 1 rimfire revolvers, 2 rimfire semi-auto pistols, 3 centerfire revolvers, 4 centerfire semi-auto pistols, 5 centerfire semi-auto rifles, 6 centerfire pump-action rifles, 7 semi-auto shotguns, 8 full-auto anything.

    So, they’ve banned 8/11 types of firearms. 73%, not 99%, my bad.

  64. #64 ben
    January 31, 2005

    I was also thinking that maybe Britain should ban automobiles weighing more than 100 pounds that can drive faster than 10 km/hr, because anything more powerful could easily be used to run down a dozen school children at a time. And definitely don’t call that a car ban.

  65. #65 Ken
    January 31, 2005

    Unless the law has changed recently you do need a special licence to fire a cannon. Ceremonial users, historic re-enactors, and 1812 overture fans in the UK please take note. At least one cannon manufacturer makes a cannon with the same bore as a shotgun so that it can be fired without a cannon licence. You still can’t hunt foxes with them though.

  66. #66 Keith Jacka
    March 6, 2005

    Dear Tim,
    Please excuse the retrospective nature of my remarks. I discovered your interesting weblog only a week back.
    About me: Australian. Born 1927. Came to UK in 1962 and lived here ever since. Have worked as mathematician and statistician for about 20 years in all.
    ‘The risk … is the lowest recorded … since 1981.’
    When I read that I fell about,as they say in this country. Good clean fun in this troubled world.
    I can well believe the claim. And the recorded rate may well fall even lower as the years go by. And I, too, have read a few fantasy novels in my time.
    I have my guesses, but I do not know what the actual crime rate is, or whether it is going up or down. And I am pretty sure that hardly anyone else knows. And those who do know — assuming they exist — they are not telling. Homicide figures — probably not far off. But the rest: I am pretty sure that for several types of crime the figures are far, far higher than the records suggest.
    Consider the following. A young man I know was mugged. He did not report the incident. A young woman I know was mugged four times in the last six months near her home. She reported the first incident , but not the last three. A few years back I suffered an attempted mugging, but got away. I did not report the incident. Along with many others, I would report a burglary only if it would help in claiming insurance. Otherwise not.
    Four very large changes have occurred in Britain, and especially over the last thirty years.
    (1) By many people the police are now seen as nearly useless at either preventing or detecting crime. They have other things to do.
    (2) Crime, and all connected with it, has become politicized, entangled with ideology and political correctness.
    (3) Government statistics, on very many matters, are no longer trustworthy. [In the days of the old Soviet Union you wouldn't have trusted their crime figures, would you.]
    (4) There is now — not so when I came here — a huge gap between the governing classes (all parties and groups) and the main body of the people. The former neither know what is going on, nor do they seem to care.
    Consequently I think it is time wasted getting into slanging matches with Glenn Reynolds and others on these matters. For the reasons I have touched on above. When the primary data are near worthless then discussion is pointless.

  67. #67 Tim Lambert
    March 6, 2005

    Keith, the crime figures are based on the British Crime Survey, not just crimes reported to the police.

  68. #68 Keith Jacka
    March 8, 2005

    Tim, you are right. Mu apologies. I know the methodology of the BCS but I may have given a misleading impression. However, my main point remains: in a society politicized in the pervasive way that this one now is — but once was not — ALL government statistics become suspect. And if some statistics contradict wildly the impressions of yourself, your friends and relatives ( and I have many in different parts of the country) then you neither believe the official figures, nor think it worth while to discuss them. But all is not lost. I think the development of the Internet and the Weblogs is the great technical social achievement of the last hundred years. The first real counter to the terrible power of the Total State, since it makes possible both the establishment and the defence of accurate current history. A very encouraging indication of the continuing creativeness of Western Culture. But until you have bloggers both inside and outside the British Home Office I tentatively suggest you take their figures with many grains of salt.
    PS The Brits can be maddeningly slow, but once they get there they are often very good.
    PPS What I have said above — the gap between Rulers and Ruled — applies to Britain, I think both the USA and Australia may well be different.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!