Friday, September 07, 2007

The UK is a perfect example that banning firearms does not = less crime...

We've been talking about this haven't we--that banning firearms does not reduce crime. In fact, haven't many of us said that once the government bans the firearms the criminals will find another way to perpetrate their crimes. Well in the UK it's happened, we knew it would. It was just a matter of time. And didn't we all ask "how long till they ban knives?"

Well....we predicted that one right on too.

According to the Medical Matrix which is associated with the Association of British Medical Blogs and authored by a long list of notable British physicians and surgeons, knife stabbings have increased in the UK:

"Every day, between 1997 and 2005, 13 people required hospital admission for treatment following stab injuries 1. Knife-related injuries are a major public health issue and treating victims of knife crime places a massive strain on our already overstretched NHS."

According to Home Office figures, between 1995-200, 37.9% of homicide victims were the victims of stabbings-the commonest cause of death. A similar study in Scotland revealed an even more alarming picture, with the homicide rate for stabbing-related assaults increasing 164% between 1981 and 2003. An audit of forensic knife injuries at one East London hospital revealed 309 injuries over a 2 year period, of which 259 victims required admission, 184 required surgery and 8 died of their injuries 3. This audit suggested that the injuries were becoming more serious.

In an editorial in the BMJ in 2005, a team of emergency physicians called for a ban on pointed-tip kitchen knives of the dagger variety, which anecdotally are thought to be used in a significant proportion of forensic knife injuries.

The rise in knife crime apparently requires government action:

Tackling the rise in knife crime will require an integrated approach, involving a number of government departments and other agencies. This must include action to address the root causes of violent crime as well as robust measures to deter young people from carrying knives. Further research will be required to evaluate various interventions to reduce knife-inflicted injuries.

Steps need to be taken to reduce poverty, unemployment and social deprivation-all factors known to predispose young people to commit violent acts. Young people need positive role models, together with training opportunities if they are to turn their backs on the sub-culture of violence and knife carrying.

Educational strategies will be required to provide young people with information about the consequences of knife injuries. High profile knife amnesties, such as the 2006 amnesty which saw 90,000 knives surrendered, are only part of the solution.The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 gave teachers tough powers to search pupils, suspected of carrying weapons. The Act also raises the age at which young people are allowed to purchase knives from 16 to 18. Currently, those prosecuted for carrying knives illegally may be imprisoned for up to 2 years, yet custodial sentences are rarely handed down.

It's just common sense that banning a weapon doesn't cut down on crime overall, perhaps maybe crimes committed with said weapon might be reduced but those individuals who want to participate in criminal behavior will find a way to do it. Second, the words"require government action" automatically means less freedom and liberty and more government spending and intervention in the private lives of individuals.

We should be watching the UK very carefully and learn something from it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9/08/2007

    Let me site another example to prove your point. At the prison where my dear husband works an inmate stabbed another inmate in the neck with a pork chop bone. The victim had to be flown out to the hospital.

    Inamtes will also sharpen toothbrushes to a point or anything else they can get a hold of. A lock in a sock makes a brutal weapon.... The list goes on and on.

    Those who want to commit violent crimes will find a way!--ST