In the wake of the December 16 murder of 26 people – 20 of them children – at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., President Obama has vowed to renew his fight for increased gun control.
In previous columns, we showed that dramatically increasing legal gun ownership in the United States in recent years has coincided with a falling murder rate, and an even more so with a falling murder rate by firearms. Far from supporting the assumption that gun ownership by law-abiding citizens causes murders, these figures suggest that it may actually reduce murders. If so, restricting the Second Amendment rights of the citizenry might result in more innocent deaths. Given the statistics, we concluded that the burden of proof must be on proponents of gun control to show otherwise.
Many commentators have suggested that the United States could reduce its murder rate even further by copying the United Kingdom, whose murder rate is one-fourth that of the United States. Americans can cut their murder rate to British levels, we are told, by enacting a handgun ban similar to the U.K.’s 1997 law, which virtually banned privately owned handguns.