Upon comparing the homicide statistics of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, one might be tempted to believe that restrictions on firearm possession reduce crime. However, this is not the case, as statistics always require explanation in order to be meaningful. In the years before the United Kingdom instituted their heavy restrictions, there was a much lower crime rate across the board. However, since then, violent crime in the United Kingdom has increased drastically, although homicides haven’t quite caught up to the United States yet, with the exception of Northern Ireland, which also has proportionally more homicides committed with firearms than the United States.
Particularly alarming is the burglary rate of the United Kingdom. Over the past twenty years, burglary has skyrocketed in the UK, becoming one of the highest in the First World. Burglary is defined as forcibly entering another’s property for the purpose of theft contrasting with home invasion where the intention is violence. When compared to the United States, the burglar’s modus operandi is also much bolder. Convicted burglars in US prisons have been interviewed in studies where they explain why they don’t usually intentionally enter houses that they know are occupied by saying things along the lines of “I could get shot if I do that,” while in the United Kingdom, one out of every three burglaries is committed while somebody is present. This suggests that the mere possibility that somebody with a firearm is in a house is a strong deterrent for burglars.
The earlier mention of Northern Ireland also relates to another issue. One common argument in the United States is that lenient gun laws arm Mexican drug cartels. However, this is not the case. Mexican drug cartels, like the Irish Republican Army a few decades ago, primarily arm themselves through the international black market. It is cheaper and easier to purchase a crate of fully-automatic AK-47’s from a black market arms dealer and smuggle it in through Mexico’s vulnerable coastal or southern borders than it is to buy just as many semi-automatic AK-47 clones in the United States and attempt to smuggle them past one of the most secure borders in the world. This makes it obvious why the IRA decided to stop primarily arming themselves through connections in the Irish diaspora in the USA and start dealing with such unsavory characters as Gaddaffi, who would sell not only machine guns (which were and still are extremely hard to acquire in the USA), but also surface-to-air missiles for use against UK helicopters.