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I’m Glad That I Don’t Have Canadian Murder Rates Where I Live

Surprising results when comparing murder rates for specific Canadian provinces with their American neighbors.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

Bio

February 14, 2013 - 12:13 am
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What about Minnesota? It had 1.4 murders per 100,000 in 2011, lower than not only all those prairie provinces, but even lower than Canada as a whole.  Montana had 2.8 murders per 100,000, still better than for Canadian provinces and one Canadian territory.  When you get to North Dakota, another one of these American states with far less gun control than Canada, the murder rate is 3.5 per 100,000, still lower than Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.  And let me emphasize that Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota, like Idaho, are all shall-issue concealed-weapon permit states: nearly any adult without a felony conviction or a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction can obtain a concealed weapon permit with little or no effort.

At this point, you’re going to point out that there are many American states that have very high murder rates, especially in the South, and on the coasts. This is certainly true, but irrelevant to the question of whether gun-control laws reduce murder rates. If gun availability or a lack of restrictive gun-control laws was sufficient to explain any substantial part of murder rates, then these low restriction states should have higher murder rates than their Canadian neighbors, and yet if anything, the situation is the reverse: the Canadian provinces often have higher murder rate than their low gun-control American counterparts.

There are very real social problems that contribute to differences in murder rates. If gun availability is one of those contributors, it must be a very unimportant part of that contribution.  Perhaps those focused on gun control as a method of saving lives might be better off concentrating on the social problems that really matter.

Also read: State of the Second Amendment

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Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recent book is My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012). He is raising capital for a feature film about the Oberlin Rescue of 1858.
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