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The Difference In Gun Crime In The UK And The USA

Tom Wood

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The Difference In Gun Crime In The UK And The USA

America has a problem with school shootings. In 2018 there have been 12 school shootings already, the worst of which happened on February 14th in Parkland, Florida

Since then there has been a massive increase in the number of people calling for gun laws to be changed. They have been met with opposition from those who believe that it is an American's constitutional right to carry weapons.

This is because the Second Amendment to the US Constitution states that citizens have the right to own and keep arms for self-defence and to resist oppression.


In the UK there have been three significant shootings in recent history. The Hungerford massacre of 1987, where Michael Ryan killed 16 people, the Dunblane shooting of 1996 during which Thomas Hamilton shot 17 people including 16 children in a school, and Derrick Bird's rampage in Cumbria during which he killed 12 people in 2010.

After the first massacre the British government passed the Firearms (Amendment) Act which outlawed semi-automatic rifles and heavily restricted access to shotguns that carried more than three cartridges.

After Dunblane the government outlawed handguns in 1997, and then tightened the laws further the following year to include even sporting pistols.

This means that the only guns you can get in Britain today are hunting rifles and shotguns, and even then they are heavily monitored and restricted. This includes a certificate from the police and a license - which means telling the police why you want to own a gun. Self-defence is not an acceptable reason.

The aftermath of the shooting. Credit: NBC News
The aftermath of the shooting. Credit: NBC News

On top of this there are now heavy prison sentences for anyone illegally owning a gun.

After an amnesty was declared hundreds of thousands of firearms and tonnes of ammunition were handed in to the police.

New laws were passed to cover the ban; this included making people who have been in prison for longer than three years being unable to buy guns, and minimum sentences for illegal possession being set at five years.

This is not to say that the UK is perfect. Knife crime is at shocking levels and 2017 saw a massive rise in that - but despite the population of the USA being 6 times more than the UK, you are 160 times more likely to be killed by a gun.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, US News

Tom Wood
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