In his latest op-ed Lott continues his misrepresentations about crime in Australia and England:
The British government banned handguns in January 1997 but recently reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the seven years from 1996 to 2003. Since ’96, the rate of serious violent crime has soared by 88 percent: armed robberies by 101 percent, rapes by 105 percent and homicide by 24 percent.
Before the law, armed robberies had fallen by 50 percent from 1993 to 1997 — but as soon as handguns were banned, the robbery rate shot back up, almost back to 1993 levels. The crooks still had guns, but not their victims.
Australia’s 1996 gun-control regulations banned many types of guns and the immediate aftermath was similar. Crime rates averaged 32 percent higher in the six years after the law was passed (from 1997 to 2002) than in 1995. The same comparisons for armed robbery rates showed an increase of 74 percent, reversing a previous decline.
Lott, of course, has cherry picked his numbers. He carefully picks his numbers to avoid mentioning the dramatic decline in violent crime in England since 1996. As for Australia, note the use of the word “immediate” so he can avoid mentioning the recent large reductions in armed robbery which is now below what it was when the law was passed. And he’ll never admit that the firearms murder rate has halved since the law was passed.
Letting more law-abiding citizens own guns may actually save police lives. Many countries, from Britain to Brazil, have learned this the hard way. There are also a large number of peer-reviewed academic studies showing that letting private citizens own guns reduces violent crime, and some work finds that gun crime falls even faster than overall violent crime.
Well, a large number of studies by Lott at any rate. A National Academy of Sciences panel reviewed all those studies and concluded:
There is no credible evidence that ‘right-to-carry’ laws, which allow qualified adults to carry concealed handguns, either decrease or increase violent crime.