Guns and Violence: The English Experience

Overview

Behind the passionate debate over gun control and armed crime lurk assumptions about the link between guns and violence. Indeed, the belief that more guns in private hands means higher rates of armed crime underlies most modern gun control legislation. But are these assumptions valid?

Investigating the complex and controversial issue of the real relationship between guns and violence, Joyce Lee Malcolm presents an incisive, thoroughly researched historical study of England, ...

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Overview

Behind the passionate debate over gun control and armed crime lurk assumptions about the link between guns and violence. Indeed, the belief that more guns in private hands means higher rates of armed crime underlies most modern gun control legislation. But are these assumptions valid?

Investigating the complex and controversial issue of the real relationship between guns and violence, Joyce Lee Malcolm presents an incisive, thoroughly researched historical study of England, whose strict gun laws and low rates of violent crime are often cited as proof that gun control works. To place the private ownership of guns in context, Malcolm offers a wide-ranging examination of English society from the Middle Ages to the late twentieth century, analyzing changing attitudes toward crime and punishment, the impact of war, economic shifts, and contrasting legal codes on violence. She looks at the level of armed crime in England before its modern restrictive gun legislation, the limitations that gun laws have imposed, and whether those measures have succeeded in reducing the rate of armed crime.

Malcolm also offers a revealing comparison of the experience in England experience with that in the modern United States. Today Americans own some 200 million guns and have seen eight consecutive years of declining violence, while the English—prohibited from carrying weapons and limited in their right to self-defense have suffered a dramatic increase in rates of violent crime.

This timely and thought-provoking book takes a crucial step in illuminating the actual relationship between guns and violence in modern society.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This historical study is a companion to Malcolm's earlier book, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right. While the first book focused on the constitutional and legal aspects of gun control, this new work takes a much closer look at the role of the gun in British society, from the Middle Ages to the present. Despite Britain's long history of strict gun laws, Malcolm cites statistical evidence of increased violence in England and assesses the "deterrent impact" of an armed public. She makes useful comparisons with the United States (where, despite millions of privately owned firearms, violent crime continues to decline) and feels that the British people are just embarking upon the kind of gun control debate that we have had in this country for the past 30 years. This book will stimulate renewed discussion and examination of guns in society and will be more accessible for general readers than Peter Squires's recent Gun Culture or Gun Control?: Firearms, Violence and Society. Malcolm's book is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries. Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674007536
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Lee Malcolm is Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law.

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Table of Contents

1 The middle ages : laws, outlaws, and crimes of violence 14
2 The Tudor-Stuart centuries : revolution in church, state, and armaments 34
3 The eighteenth century : "fruitful in the inventions of wickedness" 64
4 The nineteenth century : "an era of rare success" 90
5 1900-1953 : the government takes control 133
6 1953-2000 : only the criminals have the guns 164
7 More guns more crime or more guns less crime? : the American case 217
8 The right equation 251
App Firearm licences in England and Wales 257
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    Great reading

    Excellent book, well researched. Any one interested in the relationship between gun ownership and violent crime should read this book, no matter what your view.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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