@ EZ; whats a "state-ist"?
Im just a guy from the Netherlands, a country that has had 1 shooting-massacre in its exsistance.
Oh, and guns in our country are forbidden.
@the Noob; calling peeps who dont agree liberal idiots, only stresses this only is getting insulting, and better should be locked- in the name of respect and -gaming- love.
btw im not a liberal in american consensus.
Guns and crime in the Netherlands
Yesterday saw the publication of a report (PDF) by the Dutch Justice Department on guns and gun crime. (There's an English summary on page 173). It has been summarized in the newsmedia, with the key headlines being that it's easy for criminals to buy guns. For 250 euros you can get a basic gun. The most popular is the Browning Highpower while Glocks and Berettas are popular too. The more refined criminals pay 1500 euros for an honest-to-goodness Smith and Wesson. Machine guns start at 1900 euros, and hand grenades can be had for 7 euros a piece.
The total number of illegal firearms is estimated to be between 85,000 and 120,000 depending on various assumptions on circulation speed and extrapolations from the numbers of confiscated arms. It's also estimated that up to 20,000 firearms trade hands each year. Most weapons are single-use. The criminals get rid of the weapon once's it been fired. In some cases, they sell it on to clueless newbie criminals.
By European standards, it's easy to get a gun legally in the Netherlands. The requirements are that you have to have been a member of a shooting club for a year, be 18 years or older, prove that you can handle firearms safely, have enough shots to your name and you obviously can't have a criminal record. The actual procedure for buying a gun is arcane and requires approval from the shooting club and the police. You must keep the gun in a safe in your home (so it's no use for self-defense), you're only allowed to transport it to and from the shooting club, and the police will come inspect your home at least once a year to check on how you're storing the gun. There are about 80,000 people with a gun license in the Netherlands.
This report focuses almost exclusively on illegal gun ownership. It makes no mention of how many legal guns were used in committing crimes. The report does point out that going the legal route of obtaining a gun makes little sense for criminals, since it's long and cumbersome while they can get guns easily anyway in the illegal circuit. If there had been many legal guns used, I suspect it would have been mentioned.
The number of gun crimes has been relatively constant in the three years that the report covers (1998-2000). There have been 30 crimes with firearms committed per 100,000 inhabitants. There are huge regional variations. In Amsterdam the rate was 72 per 100,000 people, while in the rural provinces of Drenthe and Zeeland the rates were 14 and 13 respectively. The big cities have much higher crime rates than rural areas, so the higher incidence of gun crimes is no surprise.
How does this compare to America? The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports provide the answer. The UCR keeps track of gun use in three kinds of crime: murder, robbery and aggravated assault. There are 5.6 murders per 100,000 people in the US (page 19 of the linked PDF) with 63.4% involving firearms (table 2.9, page 23). Robberies run at 148.5 per 100,000 (p.32) with 42.0% involving guns (table 2.22, p.35). Aggravated assault occurs at a rate of 318.5 (p.36) with 18.3% gun use (table 2.24, p.38). This means that gun-related crime in the US runs at 124 per 100,000 people.
This is substantially higher than the 30 reported for the Netherlands, although the 72 rate in Amsterdam comes rather closer. But this is not the whole story. Does lower criminal gun ownership translate to lower crime rates overall? Looking at the FBI data in table 1 on page 64, the violent crime rate in the US was 504.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, while property crime ran at 3656.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics has crime numbers online, but not the crime rate. The table shows 101,143 violent crimes and 919,262 property crimes in 2001. With a population of 16,171,520 (September 2002), this works out as 625.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people and 5684.4 proprety crimes. Or, to put it differently, the violent crime rate in the Netherlands in 24% higher than in the US, and the property crime rate is 55% higher.
More guns, less crime. What a surprise.