Some Facts: Gun Laws, Murder, Crime and Poverty

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 23rd Jan 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

Since the shootings in the High School in Newtown there has been much discussion by pro and anti gun supporters. Emotions run high, but very few facts and figures enter the discussion, here are a few to ponder.

State Weapon Laws

he carrying of concealed weapons is easiest in the following states:

    Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

These states have the least amount of restrictions posed to apply for gun permits at the lowest cost and they issue concealed carry permits with minimal delay.

Many states have obstacles regarding how and where firearms are stored and identified within any vehicle, but it is important to note specifically that Mississippi allows, whether open, or concealed, the carrying of a weapon in any motor vehicle. South Carolina, North Dakota and Texas recognise what is known as the common law "castle" doctrine in that a person’s home is his castle, and that the castle extends to motor vehicles you own. So specifically it is these four states that are the most liberal in allowing residents to own and carry guns.

At the other end of the scale the following states are considered to have the most gun control laws:

    Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Navada, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah

These states are considered by the majority of the pro-gun lobbyists to be in breach of the second amendment. Arkansas and Oregon designate the carrying of a weapon in public, whether visible or concealed a class "A" misdemeanor, for Arkansas the definition of a weapon includes both clubs or knives, and furthermore Oregon does not recognize any other state’s laws regarding the carrying of concealed weapons, so you had better not be carrying when you cross the border.

US National Murder Rate

The overall murder rate for the whole of the United States of America is 4.2 per 100,000 of population, yet that statistic is dramatically different to the murder rates on a city by city basis.

Murder Statistics for Cities in USA

Based on 2010 FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics the table shown here are the murder rates for a selection of large cities having a population of 250,000 or greater across the United States.

From these statistics it is clear that murder rates are as high in states having liberal gun ownership and use policies as well as those having strict carry laws. Can it be said that the right to carry reduces crime? Certainly not in relation to the worst of crimes, the killing of another human being.

American statistics, do however need to be put into context with other parts of the globe, comparing to Europe is logical as it has a similar population and equivalent economic power.

Murder Statistics Europe

Murder rates as a percentage of population for European Union states are currently at 2.1 per 100,000 population, half that of the USA. The reason for selecting Europe in this study is to cross compare two equally developed parts of the word, having a similar population (USA being 350 million and the European Union being around 500 million).

Shown here are the country by country murder rates for Europe.

With the exception of Russia and Ukraine, both part of the former Soviet Union and neither is part of the European Union, the murder rates in the majority of European nations are significantly lower than in the United States average of 4.1 per 100,000 people.

European Cities

Here it is also important to look at the statistics for the largest cities in Europe, as homicide rates are much higher in the largest urban conurbations. Across a basket of European cities the murder rate per 100,000 population is shown in the above table. Sadly it was not possible to gain statistics for all large cities in Europe, including Hamburg, Cologne, Athens, and Stockholm as statistics were not accessible for these cities.

London, the United Kingdom's major city, having a population in excess of 10 million, and is of an equivalent size to New York and its five boroughs. These statistics are the number of murders in the city over a 7 year period.

  • 2003 - 222
  • 2004 - 182
  • 2005 - 168
  • 2006 - 162
  • 2007 - 156
  • 2008 - 148
  • 2009 - 136
  • 2010 - 101

Having lived for a long period of time in London and knowing how people feel it is considered that the murder rate in this city is far too high, but these figures are significantly lower than its US counterparts and the trend is a declining rate of murders, since the turn of the millennium.

About Murder

It is important to remember that not all murders are committed by guns, knives and other dangerous weapons. According to the US National Institute of Justice "In 2006, firearms were used in 68 percent of murders, 42 percent of robbery offenses and 22 percent of aggravated assaults nationwide" and "Homicides committed with firearms peaked in 1993", "leveling off in 1999", but have been rising again since 2002.

Unemployment and Poverty

One of the assertions frequently made about crime is that it is closely related, so it was important to check if there was such a correlation between the two, and not if there are any distinct differences between Europe and the USA in this area.

American Unemployment and Poverty

Until 2008 unemployment in the USA was at around 5%, with the crash in the economy in September 2008 the rate doubled to approximately 10%, and whilst it has declined from that peak it remains at approximately 8%. The US Average poverty rate is 12.6% nationally and there is often a correlation to unemployment with many coming off unemployment statistics to take on jobs that leave them and their families below the poverty line.

Looking at individual cities also paints a different picture across the country, which is shown in the associated picture.

Source of unemployment from Federal records and poverty statistics from City Data.

European Unemployment and Poverty

Again it is important to put these figures into context by cross comparing them to Europe, which are shown here.

City poverty rates in Europe proved complex to research and each country seems to use different standards to measure the poverty rates, yet it is clear from these statistics for both unemployment and poverty in the US and Europe are indeed very similar, if anything unemployment is worse in the larger cities in Europe, although the poverty rates may be slightly higher in the USA.

Why then the High Murder Rate?

It is easy to draw the conclusion that the murder rate is higher in the US than in Europe BECAUSE of the general ease of access to guns but that could be simply grasping for the easy answer. Truth is there are no easy conclusions to be made here, obtaining weapons in Europe is certainly more complex than it is in the USA, yet according to one journalist working for the British tabloids it is possible to find weapons on the black market at the right price.

Your views and insights will always add value.

Other related pages include:

About Peter Giblett

Peter has been a senior manager in the business world for over 20 years, then studied law at TVU - London to obtain his LLB(Hons) and subsequently in 2002 qualified as a barrister at the historic Inns of Court School of Law in London, today he remains a nonpracticing barrister and consults on business matters and lives in Canada. This page is provided for information only and does not constitute legal advice.

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Crime, Europe, Gun Law, Murder, Murder Rate, Murder Statistics, Poverty, State Weapon Laws, Statistics, Unemployment, Usa

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
23rd Jan 2013 (#)

Very informative Peter.
Bless you

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author avatar M G Singh
24th Jan 2013 (#)

You have done a lot of research for this very interesting post

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author avatar Retired
24th Jan 2013 (#)

Very informative....

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author avatar DuitByJames
24th Jan 2013 (#)

I see you have spent much time in study and have shown me a new perspective. I live in the Denver, CO area and have seen a wide range of random change in all the categories you mentioned. Good post Peter.

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author avatar Terry Trainor
24th Jan 2013 (#)

This is great and the amount of hard work you have put into this is admirable. Thanks for the share.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Jan 2013 (#)

Elaborate study, Peter, with incontrovertible facts and figures, and if I may say, conclusion! siva

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
24th Jan 2013 (#)

Thanks for an informative article with a lot of study behind it. I was under the impression one could go a gun shop and buy any weapon with least possible hassles. Otherwise, how could there be so many killings in schools. After reading your piece, I am much wiser.

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author avatar Retired
26th Jan 2013 (#)

Thanks for sharing these statistics. You have put in a great deal of work on this article.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
27th Jan 2013 (#)

great piece this Peter...thank you for researching and showing is interesting how the usa has become such a killing country...and please read Steve Kinsman's star article On Agricultural Gag Laws in the usa...and this was once the land of the good!!!!!!

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author avatar C.D. Moore
27th Jan 2013 (#)

Thankyou very well written, reasearched.

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author avatar Ptrikha
6th Feb 2013 (#)

Well analyzed, good statistics and well written!

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author avatar Judy Ellen
9th Feb 2013 (#)

I applaud you for all the hard work you put into this!! You set the bar pretty high for us to follow in your footsteps! I wonder if anyone ever researched poverty and crime? Thanks for sharing your research with us!!

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author avatar Rafael
17th Dec 2015 (#)

Bucharest. I love my city.
The crime rates are amazing for the EU's 6th largest city!

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