Why UK gun laws are less than useless

(AP Photo/Leonore Schick)

On Tuesday, I wrote about some perceived problems going on in the UK with regard to their gun laws.

However, after wrapping that up, I got curious. After all, anti-Second Amendment types have long looked at the British Isles as something we should try to emulate here in the United States.


But the question is, does it even work?

For these proponents of such measures, it’s a no-brainer. They cite the UK’s lower violent crime rate as all the proof you need, but there’s another bit they’ll bring up that I’ll touch on in a moment.

I’m unconvinced.

First, let’s remember that the current set of laws kicked in around 1997 in the aftermath of the Dunblane massacre the previous year. In response to a mass shooting, they adopted some of the toughest gun control measures. This was the second time a mass shooting led to stricter gun control laws in the UK.

And anti-gun folks also cite the lower incidents of mass shootings there as yet another reason we should adopt similar measures.

Yet the UK has had exactly as many mass shootings since Dunblane as they had before all the new gun control laws were passed. Just two. In other words, there’s no evidence that the laws have done a whole lot to prevent mass shootings, nor were needed to address mass shootings.

But what about more pedestrian crimes, like homicide. Surely we’ll see evidence that the gun control laws have had an impact.

Well, they sure seemed to, just not in the way many expect.

Between 1990 and 2022, the homicide rate in the UK has never been particularly high, but the year after the new laws were enacted saw a six percent increase in the homicide rate. That was part of an overall trend culminating in a high in 2002 that was more than 14 percent higher than the previous year.


In fact, the homicide rate didn’t reach pre-1998 levels again until 2005.

Even now, over the last few years, the homicide rate has been creeping up. This despite as much gun control as any nation could possibly want.


Well, for starters, criminals just shifted to other weapons when they could no longer get their hands on firearms reliably, namely knives. This favors larger, stronger, or more aggressive criminals over law-abiding people who, even if equally armed, are less likely to be able to defend themselves.

Even with the gun control in place, though, a number of people are shot and killed each year despite all those laws.

See, much like you’ll see with New York, the homicide rate ebbs and flows over time without really any particular regard to gun control laws. The exception seems to be an increase we often see when the bad guys know that the good guys won’t be able to protect themselves. Then it’s open season and they don’t blink to use those guns.

“But that homicide rate is still much lower than ours!”

True, but it was even lower before the first set of extensive gun control laws were passed in 1987. I’d love to blame the upward trend on that batch of gun control, but the trend was already in motion well prior to those laws passing.


The gun laws didn’t do anything to benefit the UK, though.

Yet the fact that their homicide rate was so low prior to gun control laws passing tells us there’s more going on here that will raise our homicide rate, something the UK doesn’t contend with.

So, again, why should we follow their lead when clearly, they accomplished nothing? Even if the Second Amendment weren’t a thing–which it is, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument–there’s literally no reason to follow the UK’s lead on something that clearly failed to deliver anything as promised.

While I’ve had plenty of brits sniff in moral superiority because they live in a gun-controlled nation, but really, they’re oblivious to just how little good it’s brought to their country.

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