Guns and Crime

Do guns cause crime? Does restricting guns reduce crime? Honest analysis says very likely not.

Blaming the object
Next time you read a news report about an objectionable crime, pay attention to the details of the coverage. If the crime was not committed with a gun, the news focuses on the perpetrator and his motivations. We wonder whether they are evil, misunderstood, cynical, psychopathic, profit-seeking, or something else. The social problems are discussed and dissected. However, if a gun is used, all bets are off, the gun is front and center. Whole paragraphs are dedicated to the size of the gun or how scary it is, and how many more are out there, waiting to be used. The wielder that aimed and pulled the trigger is barely given an equal mention.

Why is that? Crime, including murder, existed before guns, and still exists without guns. Historically (source source), murder rates have been shockingly high by modern standards. Europe in medieval times is estimated to have had 35 per 100,000, declining to 20 in 1500 AD, and further still until present day. All the while firearms were improving and displacing bladed weapons, bows, and crossbows. There are several likely reasons that include economic improvements, cultural evolution, criminology and policing, as well lead pollution. What is clear is that as firearms were spreading and improving, the murder rate went down. The murder trend still appears to decline.
Without a correlation, we cannot pin the blame on firearms. If guns caused crime, murder would rise as guns spread and improved, but murder is declining.

Firearms and violent crime
Violent crime in Canada is declining (source). In 2016, overall violent crime is only 20% of all crime. Out of all violent crime, only 3% is committed with a firearm, making it 0.6% of all crime. Guns are obviously not necessary to commit violent crime. Nor is a gun necessary to commit murder, 64% of which is committed without one (source). It just takes a violent mind with violent intent to commit a violent crime, the weapon is irrelevant.

Does legislation to control firearms have an effect on violent crime, homicide in particular? A comprehensive study by Dr. Callin Langmann says no (link). No association between gun homicide and gun laws exist.

Gang crime
The chief crime trend in Canada is gang crime (source source). Take a look at the following chart:

Do you notice something? The non-gang homicide is on a down-trend. Shooting homicide is also on a down-trend, but see how closely it is tracked by gang homicide. Unlike the others, gang homicide is on an up-trend. Gangs also prefer firearms, using them in 79% of their homicides (source). Gangs are bucking the Canada-wide homicide trends. They scoff at gun control, having the money and connections to acquire smuggled guns. Early intervention and prevention are recognized as the preferred solutions (source example). Gang crime is the real rising threat, and must be recognized and brought under control.