Since NBC sportscaster Bob Costas gave us an anti-gun lecture two weeks ago during Sunday Night Football, we've heard a lot from progressives like Juan Williams, Bob Beckel and anti-gun advocacy groups about how countries in Europe with strict gun control laws don't have problems with gun crime. We've also heard the reason the United States has a "gun crime problem" is because we allow citizens to own handguns however, the numbers on violent crime committed using a gun tell a different story.
New data out from the UK, where guns are banned, shows gun crime has soared by 35 percent.
The Government's latest crime figures were condemned as "truly terrible" by the Tories today as it emerged that gun crime in England and Wales soared by 35% last year.
Criminals used handguns in 46% more offences, Home Office statistics revealed.
Firearms were used in 9,974 recorded crimes in the 12 months to last April, up from 7,362.
It was the fourth consecutive year to see a rise and there were more than 2,200 more gun crimes last year than the previous peak in 1993.
Figures showed the number of crimes involving handguns had more than doubled since the post-Dunblane massacre ban on the weapons, from 2,636 in 1997-1998 to 5,871.
Unadjusted figures showed overall recorded crime in the 12 months to last September rose 9.3%, but the Home Office stressed that new procedures had skewed the figures.
Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin said: "These figures are truly terrible.
"Despite the street crime initiative, robbery is massively up. So are gun-related crimes, domestic burglary, retail burglary, and drug offenses.
"The only word for this is failure: the Government's response of knee-jerk reactions, gimmicks and initiatives is not working and confused signals on sentences for burglary will not help either.
"The figures will continue to be dreadful until the Government produces a coherent long term strategy to attack crime at its roots and get police visibly back on our streets."
Gun crime would not be cracked until gangs were broken up and the streets "reclaimed for the honest citizen by proper neighborhood policing", he added.
At least some in the UK are talking about "attacking crime at its roots" by focusing on criminals, after all, guns are already banned so they can't blame crime on guns shooting themselves. Meanwhile in the United States, as more and more people own guns, the rate of violent crime has gone down.
Violent crime in the United States fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2011 with murder, rape and robbery all going down, although crime remains a serious problem in many urban areas, the FBI said on Monday.
The report of all crimes reported to police nationwide showed slightly more than 1.2 million violent incidents nationwide, while property crimes hit a nine-year low.
Compared with 2010, the new figures show violent crime down 3.8 percent overall. Property crime was down 0.5 percent.
Among violent incidents reported to police, murders were down about 0.7 percent, robberies dropped 4 percent, aggravated assaults declined 3.9 percent, and forcible rapes were down 2.5 percent.
On top of these figures, the notoriously violent city of Washington D.C. just saw its murder rate fall below triple digits for the first time since 1963 and just four years after the Supreme Court overturned the city's handgun ban in District of Columbia v. Heller.
The District is poised to finish the year with fewer than 100 murders for the first time since 1963, and neighboring Prince George's County likely will post its lowest homicide total in 25 years.
The "murder capital" of the United States two decades ago, the District has had 79 murders so far this year, according to police records. The annual number has been declining steadily since 2008 and is a far cry from the five years during the late-1980s and early-1990s crack epidemic, when the number of homicides never dropped below 400.
For further reference, it is important to keep in mind that Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington are all located in Virginia, a state that allows concealed carry of handguns with a permit. The chart above shows these areas have always had the lowest crime rates compared to Washington D.C. and Maryland where concealed carry is either banned or extremely difficult to do lawfully.
More guns means less crime, period.
UPDATE Correction: The data on the UK is from 2003 and it is not new as prviously written however, newer data from 2009 shows gun violence in the UK has increased by 89 percent in the past decade, making the 35 percent figure insufficient.
Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold.
The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year - a rise of 89 per cent.
In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold.
In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled.
The statistic will fuel fears that the police are struggling to contain gang-related violence, in which the carrying of a firearm has become increasingly common place.
The only guys who have guns in this case are the bad guys, since guns are banned for the good guys in the UK.