Harvard University has released a study on whether it’s possible to discern patterns of cause and effect between gun ownership and the incidence of violent crime.
Study authors Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser did find such a relationship: an inverse one.
The study, called “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide?” compares data on “intentional” deaths in European countries with American data, and finds that in locations where gun control proliferates, the murder rate goes up.
The murder rate in Russia, where handguns are banned, was 20.52 per 100,000 people in 2002. But in Finland, where gun ownership stands near 40 percent of the population, there were only 1.98 murders per 100,000 residents during the same period.
Russia’s present murder rate of 30.6 deaths per 100,000 also dwarfs the 7.8 per 100,000 murder rate in the U.S.
From the study:
[T]he burden of proof rests on the proponents of the more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death mantra, especially since they argue public policy ought to be based on that mantra. To bear that burden would at the very least require showing that a large number of nations with more guns have more death and that nations that have imposed stringent gun controls have achieved substantial reductions in criminal violence (or suicide). But those correlations are not observed when a large number of nations are compared across the world.