Handgun Laws

I’ve only researched the topic in the light of what happens here in my home of the United States, so all information unless otherwise noted should be thought of as being in relation to the U.S.

I noticed that in Democracy, less restrictions on handguns seems to increase violent crime, but statistics in the state do not at all show this to be the case. It appears to be more of an assumption than a researched position to say that violent crime increases with relaxed gun laws.

Rather than simply offering an opinion, I offer you these statistics with sources for your own usage.


Table 1 states that according to polls taken by various sources with various questions of a various time frame show the "estimated annual number of defensive uses of guns of all types against humans, excluding uses connected with military or police duties, after any necessary adjustments were made, for U.S., 1993. " falling between 760000 to 3.6 million.

Table 2 shows the number of persons using a hangun in an act of self defense at somewhere between 1.54 and 1.89 million.


  • In the United States during 1997, there were 15,289 murders. Of these, 10,369 were committed with firearms.

  • In the United States during 1997, there were approximately 7,927,000 violent crimes. Of these, 691,000 were committed with firearms.

Down the page, under the Right-to-Carry Laws section:

  • Florida adopted a right-to-carry law in 1987. Between 1987 and 1996, these changes occurred:
    Florida United States
    homicide rate -36% -0.4%
    firearm homicide rate -37% +15%
    handgun homicide rate -41% +24%

  • 221,443 concealed carry licenses were issued in Florida between October of 1987 and April of 1994. During that time, Florida recorded 18 crimes committed by licensees with firearms. (15)

  • As of 1998, nationwide, there has been 1 recorded incident in which a permit holder shot someone following a traffic accident. The permit holder was not charged, as the grand jury ruled the shooting was in self defense.

  • As of 1998, no permit holder has ever shot a police officer. There have been several cases in which a permit holder has protected an officer’s life.

Parents should be far more worried about children in cars than the effects of relaxing gun laws:

  • 1995 Fatal Accident Totals

    Motor Vehicles 43,900
    Falls 12,600
    Poisonings 10,600
    Drownings 4,500
    Fires 4,100
    Choking 2,800
    Firearm 1,400 (1.5% of fatal accidents)

  • For Children 14 and Under

    Motor Vehicles 3,059
    Drownings 1,024
    Fires 883
    Choking 213
    Firearm 181 (2.7% of fatal accidents)
    Falls 127
    Poisonings 80

I won’t debate the parents worries so much since there is a public PERCEPTION that handguns are such an evil, but as statistics show, far more evil in the form of rape and murder are prevented yearly than those children who die because of firarms as a whole, and those statistics directly above reflect all firearms deaths, not just handguns.

I will certainly debate the idea that crime in any form goes up with relaxed gun laws. While ex-convicts are not permitted to legally own guns, according the above site, the FBI’s statistics show only 7% of the population who intends to use a gun illegally buy their guns legally anyhow.

For the UK, I submit this:


From 2001: “A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned.”

This goes directly against the game dynamics and suggests that the affect in the game does not reflect the results in real life.

I encourage the game designers to look at this and other evidence and make sure that the game results accurately reflect real life results.

Thank you.

An excellent post, however, this really is one of those issues where statistics can point both ways, take this:

nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri … fir_percap

Which lists murders with firearms per capita. The US is #8 and the Uk is #32. What i think isnt being measured here is the number of firearms in circulation. The number in the UK would seem to be very low (apart from anything, we dont do much hunting here) whereas in the US its much higher. As a result, you may be right, clamping down on firearms wont stop the criminals who already have guns. However, in the UK, its the opposite story.
Thats one of the design problems faced when trying to model different countries using the same system.
Perhaps what is needed is the ability for each coutnry in the game to also be able to apply different effects for specific policies, or maybe the number of guns already in circulation needs to be modeled.
Of course, the game is easily modded, so you can flip the effect of the gun control policies if you prefer.

You’re not keeping the comparison even, let’s follow the model in the game:

If gun control is initiated, then violent crime should go down, but it does not. Florida has proven that (see previous post), Washington D.C. (for long time the most restrictive gun control policies) proves that it does not, and even the BBC has run items stating the same for the UK.

Also, in the game the dependent variable is ‘violent crime’, not murder, thus your UN statistics only measure a subsection and not the grand total. But be that as it may…


The US Department of Justice shows a decline in Violent crime since 1995 (almost cut in half), and at the same time states with more relaxed gun laws have lead the way in this reduction. Florida is still second in violent crime per capita, but it has gone down (as stated in previous post) since the introduction to more relaxed gun laws. Vermont, which has NO state laws re:guns is at the bottom at 48 out of 50 for violent crime per capita.
Maryland, where I live and has horrible gun laws is 4th over all in high violent crime, but right next door is Virginia - much more relaxed gun laws - at 36. They both surround D.C. (#1 in violent crime and most restrictive gun laws), but it seems criminals would rather come to Maryland to do business than Virginia. Why? They know they’re less liekly to be shot by someone defending themselves… might have something to do with it.

The US has states, and so unlike in the UK, each state may have a different policy on many issues and one of them is gun control. The fact is almost without fail those states with more gun rights have lower rates of violent crime. And we know the cause and effect are not reversed as places like Florida can obviously point out.

ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/fir … atalno.htm

This link shows how overall firearm crime has gone down since 1993 in the US.

Also, you did not comment on the fact that handgun crimes are up in the UK since the 1997 /98 ban as pointed out by the BCC. Fact remains that the UK had low handgun violence before the ban, and now it’s up 40%.
Israel and Switzerland are quite gun friendly, but I didn’t see them on your link either as being a per capital problem either.


In the end modding may be easy, but the data doesn’t support the initial claim at all, and the reason the US is a good example is because of the various state laws that can give you an idea of what crime statistics look like in states with one set of laws and states with another. It also for this reason that looking at it at a national level does not at all reflect what is happening with firearms at all since California with it’s huge population has severe gun laws but high homicide rates and this skews statistics for the nation as well.

This permits you to see the US ‘x’, and all sorts of subsections and you can compare and contrast what is happening in one place or another. So while x is higher than many places, this is a sum of the whole, and may or may not reflect what is happening in the end. If all alws were uniform, like the UK it would be different. But then again, the handgun ban has not reduced violent crime either.

where are you getting this data? (aside from Florida, I mean, which is problematic due to the unrelated demographic shifts going on at the time)
I’d be interested to see your source, as I take this claim to be the one piece of potentially conclusive evidence on the matter.

I believe it’s a combination of the following:

The states has individual state laws. Hence, a criminal could buy a gun in a more relaxed state, “unregister” it, then use it in a place where he knows his victims will not have them.

If they’re universal, it gets harder to get the gun. Also depends upon society and it’s use of guns. There are many societies far better around guns, usually due to compulsory military service and difference in perception about guns.

It also takes time. Gun law changes should take a lot of time, because if they’re suddenly changed to a total ban, then violent crime will go up (as guns are sold into the black market before it’s too late to sell them), before it will go down (as guns are taken off the black market by the cops). It should also temporarily increase black market. I’d say more police = more efficiency in getting guns off the market. more border controls = less guns smuggled. So after a while, a long while, there’d be less guns to use.

This doesn’t work if you can just go to the nextdoor state, buy a gun there and go back.

Although I am curious why death penalty reduces crime. Statistics show that countries with death penalties usually end up increasing crime. (if somebody wishes to contest this, I will come up with links).

From 2001: “A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned.”

This is slightly misleading, as it becomes a crime in itself to possess such weapons. Laws, by their very essence, create crimes. You can not have a crime without a law to make it a crime.

Another idea to consider is that these issues aren’t independent of each other. I’ve mucked about with the demo and the effects of most of the issues could be contested, all depending on your ideological stand point. You might suggest the use of cold hard facts… however there’s lies, damn lies and statistics. Statistics are very easily manipulated to convey whatever you wish them to.

If there’s one (well two actually) issue you I have with Democracy is that it seems to very definitely promote Keynesian economics. I’m pretty Keynesian myself, but the only way to run the coutnry seems to be tax and spend. I tried Friedmanite economics, but the whole country collapsed in a matter of turns.

You can certainly get a good economy without high taxes in Democracy, you just have to cut back on the right areas of spending, and spend where required to stimulate economic growth. I always cut back on military, and foreign aid, and fund technology rants and small business grants. That saves enough money to cut corporation tax back.

Oh, I know how to get a good economy. I can get a technological advantage and High Productivity within the first term. I normally go for tech grants, uni grants, import tariffs, slash the military and cut the road bugdet. I’ve yet to see a problem for having no military and having the highest import tariffs available.

My issue with the <!> is that they seem to be discrete. Unlike the categories at the top which continous. Say you have 1 Asthma suffer over the limit and the parents will hate you for it. It doesn’t seem to matter how advanced you are technologically, just that you need to be above a certain point to get the <!>.

I like the idea of restricted power in the game, I think perhaps it could have been better done as continous variable as well. For example, slightly decreasing sales tax is not going to lose you much power, but a large decrease or abolishment of sales tax would use a a huge amount of your power for that turn.

Just remembered a bug in the game. None of the issues seem to adversely affect any voting group. I allow same sex marriage and the Religous people like me. I allow a blasphemeous book to be published and they like me even more. This seems to happen for all the issues, they either +tivly effect two groups or do nothing at all.

End rant.

The solution is mods. We’re all going to have our own opinions on how the game ought to work, and when we start getting into some serious political debates, there are definately going to be times cliffski and we are not going to see eye to eye.

The question I would ask is how available guns actually are in the UK. I don’t know how it works there, but making things illegal here in the States seems not to deny those things to everyone, but rather only to those who would not use it for negative purposes, anyway. For example, it’s as easy as it can be to buy marajuanna in this country, so long as you have the cash. And stoners always have a supply; financial limitations being the only limitations. However, marajuanna has many medical applications, and potential patients have great difficulty acquiring the drug, not being “stoners,” and thus often not knowing how to get the stuff. So the streets are safe from senior cancer patients who could use it for pain relief (in many cases, it is both more effective and safer than anything the FDA has approved), and stoners keep on smokin’. Go figure.

Same thing with guns, I think. I’m well aware that, if I really wanted an illegal gun, I could get one. And if I were the sort to commit crimes with a gun, I’d probably know where to get one. However, since I am not a criminal, I do not illegally procure weapons. I fail to see how the law deters criminals.

There is an anecdote in this country. The two earliest gun-control laws (as well as ALL of England’s earliest gun-control laws), were enacted not to protect the populace, but to disarm a certain politically weak semgent of the populace. For example, our earliest laws were in the south, denying gun ownership to blacks. New York’s laws were actually passed to prevent dock workers from resisting organized crime; thieves in the employ of powerful criminal organizations were being shot at. Gun control successfully protected the safety of criminals. :wink:

As I understand it, its pretty hard to get a gun in the UK, at least in the southeast. I wouldnt begin to know who to ask and where to go to get hold of one. Of course, some criminals do have guns, but its extremely rare. If you get robbed its more likely just a guy without a weapon, or possibly a knife.

I agree with Tarvok - this issue will probably never be resolved in ur lifetime so cliffski shouldn’t have to be recoding every few months to satisfy whichever side has the upper hand. In any case, I think poverty and unemployment in the game has more effect on crime than gun laws, as in real life, ie the guy that robs you is unlikely to be middle income and have a job. Although you could argue that bank fees are robbery