Larry Pratt clashed with CNN’s Piers Morgan in Round Two on Wednesday night. Morgan refuses to discuss the role of Fast & Furious in arming criminals
Morgan refuses to discuss the role of Fast & Furious in arming criminals
Morgan was slightly more subdued this time, indicating that maybe he’d been taken to the woodshed for his insulting demeanor towards Pratt during Round One in December. But Morgan was every bit as pompous and always tried to cut off Pratt to keep him from developing his points.
Nevertheless, Pratt did explain that mass murders in this country invariably occur in gun-free zones … that good guys with guns have prevented massacres from occurring … that guns are the ultimate defense against tyranny ... and that President Obama should learn from the mistakes of King George III and stop acting in an unconstitutional manner.
Pratt also brought up Operation Fast & Furious and tagged Morgan for refusing to discuss the Obama Administration’s “culpability to commit mass murder” while supervising an operation that flooded our southern border with illegal firearms.
Perhaps the biggest fireworks of the evening occurred over the comparison between citizens’ safety in the United States versus the United Kingdom. So what follows are the highlights regarding the differences between the two nations (with footnote documentation).
Gun control has NOT made British citizens safer
In 1996, the United Kingdom witnessed a tragic school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland. Despite the fact that the Scots were already living under stringent gun owner registration restrictions, Great Britain responded by imposing an even more draconian handgun ban the following year.
Gun control proponents have argued that this ban has made the island safer, but the truth is quite to the contrary. As reported in the UK’s Telegraph, gun crimes doubled in the decade after the gun ban went into effect.(1) Not only that, the United Kingdom became the European leader in violent crime, with a higher rate than America’s.(2)
While gun control proponents typically only want to focus on one type of murder (by gun), The Telegraph reports that, in a single year, there were 927 total murders in the UK.(3) [You will note that in the interview with Piers Morgan, GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt slightly inverted the number -- having said “970” total murders rather than “927.” Cllick here to read The Telegraph article, which gives this information and documents the United Kingdom’s role as the European leader in violent crime.]
Having said this, there are several difficulties in making such sweeping comparisons between the US and the UK. For starters, it’s somewhat disingenuous to simply compare total murders throughout each nation, given that America has a much bigger population. In fact, the U.S. has nearly three times as many large population centers (of 250,000 or more people) than the United Kingdom does. That’s why it’s helpful to examine murder rates.
Even just comparing the murder rate for England/Wales (1.2 in 2009), one sees that some U.S. states have lower murder rates -- like New Hampshire (.8) and Vermont (1.1). Interestingly, while both of these states allow for concealed carry, Vermont allows its citizens to carry firearms without even getting permission from the state -- thus, underscoring the fact that free access to guns does not equate to a Wild West mentality.
By contrast, the most dangerous jurisdictions in our country are located in places where, similar to England, guns are effectively banned. To wit, Chicago surpassed 500 murders in 2012, and New York City recorded more than 400.
British officials call US-UK murder comparisons “A Sham”
Another difficulty in making transnational comparisons is that we can’t really be sure what the actual crime figures in England are. The British media and police have chided the British government for years for underreporting crime data and murder statistics. Consider some of the headlines in their papers:
* “Serious violent crime under-reported for a decade: Police forces have been failing to properly record serious violent crime for more than a decade, the Home Office has said,” (The Telegraph, October 23, 2008).
* “Gun crime 60pc higher than official figures: The true level of gun crime is far higher than the Government admits in officials statistics, it can be revealed,” (The Telegraph, October 18, 2008).
* “Unreported rapes: the silent shame,” The Independent (March 12, 2012).
* “Crime statistics ‘need overhaul:’ The way crime statistics are produced needs a ‘radical overhaul,’ a Home Office review has concluded,” BBC News (November 17, 2006).
* “Police figures under-record offences by 20 percent.” (The Electronic Telegraph, July 13, 2000).
* “Police are accused of fiddling crime data,” (The Electronic Telegraph, May 4, 1997).
* “Crime figures a sham, say police,” (The Electronic Telegraph, April 1, 1996).
As noted by researchers Dave Kopel, Dr. Paul Gallant and Dr. Joanne Eisen, British crime reporting tactics keep crime and murder rates artificially low: “Suppose that three men kill a woman during an argument outside a bar. They are arrested for murder, but because of problems with identification (the main witness is dead), charges are eventually dropped. In American crime statistics, the event counts as a three-person homicide, but in British statistics it counts as nothing at all. ‘With such differences in reporting criteria, comparisons of U.S. homicide rates with British homicide rates is a sham,’ [a 2000 report from the Inspectorate of Constabulary] concludes.”(4)
For all these reasons, it appears disingenuous to claim that Great Britain’s crime statistics prove gun control works to make its citizens safer. And for those who think that more guns equal more crime, it becomes difficult to explain the record here in the United States. During the first decade of this century, 40 million new guns were manufactured for sale inside the U.S., even while the murder rate has dropped 14%.(5)
It seems that more guns have, indeed, resulted in less crime here in the U.S. But if Piers Morgan still feels safer in England, then perhaps he should return there.
(1) “Gun crime doubles in a decade: Gun crime has almost doubled in the last decade despite high profile Government campaigns to tackle the problem,” The Telegraph, October 27, 2009.
(2) Richard Edwards, “UK is violent crime capital of Europe: The United Kingdom is the violent crime capital of Europe and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world, worse even than America, according to new research,” The Telegraph, July 2, 2009.
(4) “Britain: From Bad to Worse,” NewsMax.com, March 22, 2001.
(5) For the number of guns manufactured in the United States from 2001 to 2010, see the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “Firearms Commerce in the United States Annual Statistical Update,” 2012 (Exhibit 1). For the drop in the murder rate, see the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2010 (Table 1).