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Regulation of Guns

More Guns, More Crime

The most important and influential evidence for the claim that guns are a vector of violent crime is found in the work of Zimring and Hawkins, whose comparison of the crime, violence, and lethal outcomes rates of various countries leads them to the conclusion that forms the title of their study: Crime Is Not the Problem. What is the problem, then? Guns—at least as a first approximation. For example, if one compares the rates of assault or robbery in the United States with other Anglophone countries (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, and Wales), America's statistics appear normal; most of those countries' rates of crime are quite similar to that of the United States. Similarly, if one compares burglary rates in London and New York City, one finds rather similar numbers. But in terms of lethal outcomes of crimes—crimes that end with somebody getting killed—the U.S. experience is far more deadly than that of other English-speaking countries. Polsby and Kates (1998) argue that differences in the populations and cultures of these countries offer an explanation for this phenomenon.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawRegulation of Guns - More Guns, More Crime, Prohibition, Waiting Periods, Gun Buy-back Programs, Background Checks