American Society of Criminology Meeting Paper: Lessons from the United Kingdom on Firearms Bans, Homicide, and Access

I was thinking of writing about the question of whether the nearly complete ban on handguns in the UK reduced the homicide rate. Gun Control 2.0 did a better job answering this than I could have.

Gun Culture 2.0

Although the British government imposed various gun control measures throughout the 20th century, the most dramatic moves followed two mass shootings. In1987, 27 year-old Michael Ryan dressed up as “Rambo” and carrying (among other weapons) an M1 Carbine and a Chinese version of the AK-47, shot to death 16 people (and himself) in and around Hungerford.

In response to this, the British Parliament passed the 1988 Firearms Act, which imposed a great number of restrictions, the most notable of which was a complete ban on self-loading center fire and pump action rifles.

In the U.K., handguns are illegal and a person needs to get a certificate — and prove they have a good reason — to own a rifle or shotgun. Anyone convicted of a crime cannot touch a gun for 5 years. There are 0.07 gun homicides per every 100,000 people. Photo from http://www.businessinsider.com/americas-gun-problem-explained-2013-4?op=1

(In the entry on “United Kingdom-History of Gun Laws since 1900” in the encyclopedia Guns in American Society, David Kopel notes that “Home Secretary Douglas Hurd later admitted that the government prepared the provisions of the 1988 Firearms Act long before Hungerford and had been waiting for the right moment to introduce…

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