Monday, April 25, 2005

My first Gun Control Post

Anti-Gun advocates have long claimed the United States has higher homicide rates than Canada because there’s more gun ownership in America. They’ve long pointed to the lower National homicide rates in Canada as proof that gun control works. National rates by definition include statistics from all parts of two very large nations that have an incredible diversity of geographic and societal parts that span an entire continent.

But what if you compared crime statistics from similar regions in the United States and Canada? Close in geography and culture, the northern states of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota border three Canadian Prairie Provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. While they may be culturally similar, their gun laws are not. Canada now requires all firearms to be registered, and has restricted ownership of handguns since the 1930s. In comparison, the four northern states allow citizens to carry concealed handguns.

That would be an interesting study. Anti-gun activists would tell you that the Canadian homicide rates would be lower than the American rates, because gun availability increases crime. And they’d be wrong.

A study has been done. Not by the NRA, the Brady campaign, the GOP, or Charlton Heston. The March 2005 study by economists in Canada’s Library of Parliament was requested by Conservative Member of Parliament Garry Breitkruz. The study compared homicide statistics in the four northern States that are closest to the three Canadian Prairie provinces, and guess what? Homicide rates in these culturally similar regions are amazingly congruent.

Breaking out the regional data showed homicide rates in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota were lower than in the three Canadian prairie provinces. I found out about the study in the May 2nd issue of the magazine, Western Standard. (Articles from their current issue aren’t available online, but their back-issues are online and registration is free.)

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