Title

Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International Evidence

Abstract

The world abounds in instruments with which people can kill each other. Is the widespread availability of one of these instruments, firearms, a crucial determinant of the incidence of murder? Or do patterns of murder and/or violent crime reflect basic socio-economic and/or cultural factors to which the mere availability of one particular form of weaponry is irrelevant?

This article examines a broad range of international data that bear on two distinct but interrelated questions: first, whether widespread firearm access is an important contributing factor in murder and/or suicide, and second, whether the introduction of laws that restrict general access to firearms has been successful in reducing violent crime, homicide or suicide. Our conclusion from the available data is that suicide, murder and violent crime rates are determined by basic social, economic and/or cultural factors with the availability of any particular one of the world’s myriad deadly instrument being irrelevant.

Disciplines

Law and Society | Legislation | Politics

Date of this Version

August 2006