FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Home Invasions: US vs. UK

In which country is it more dangerous to be in your home, the US or Great Britain? If you said Great Britain, you're right... if you're talking about home-invasion robberies.

Violent home invasions have become a serious problem in the UK, fueled in part by laws against gun ownership and violence in self-defense. British law holds that a person who kills an intruder in their home can be charged with murder; a self-defense argument does exist, but the threshold is very high.

In the US, by contrast, burglars who commit home invasion statistically have just as great a chance of getting shot as they do going to jail -- a significant deterrent even when homeowners don't own guns. If you're a burglar intent on committing a home invasion, you don't know if the homeowner has a gun and an itchy trigger finger... and you probably don't want to find out the hard way.

As a result, a movement is afoot in Great Britain to strengthen homeowners' rights to self-defense. Efforts to loosen restrictions on gun ownership, however, may still be a ways off.

How Britain resolves this issue will be of interest to other parts of the world, especially where crime rates are high. It should also be watched in the US, where we agonize over the consequences of our Second Amendment rights. Certainly, if Britain makes changes and home invasions decline, gun-rights advocates in the US will be able to show that gun ownership has benefits, even for those who choose not to own a firearm.

Source: GlennReynolds.com