The subtext (or main text) of the more guns equals fewer burglaries argument, of course, is that if the government restricts guns (the U.K. has strict gun control laws) then burglars become fearless and break into our home, steal our property, and rape our children.
In the US, thanks to God and guns, we shoot our burglars. Ergo there are fewer burglaries. Hence our properties (and children) are safe.
Could be true... but I've always been skeptical of this line of thought. Mostly because I simply do not believe that any crime (except public drunkenness, hare coursing, and being pale and chinless) is more common in Britain than the U.S.
Well best I can figure (looking at those pesky figures we call "facts") burglary in the U.S. is much more common than burglary in the U.K.
So why the confusion? Over here in England and Wales (that's a statistical unit in the U.K., which is really what I'm refering to when I say the U.K.), if you're trying to get into a property with intent to "cause damage," that's burglary. "Attempted burglaries" are counted as burglaries in the U.K. Not in the U.S. In the U.K., you don't have to steal something to be a burglar. You don't even have to break in!
Now I'm not here to tell you which is a better definition of burglary. Frankly, I don't give a damn. But I do want to point out that the official stats for burglary in the U.K. are going to be much higher than the official stats for burglary in the U.S. because burglary in the U.K. is defined much more broadly.
In the U.S., a UCR-defined burglary means you broke into a place to commit theft. In the U.S., criminal trespassing as a seperate charge. In the U.K. it's burglary. In the U.K., even attempted criminal trespassing is burglary. That makes a big difference in the stats.
So what are the stats?
Each year, according the UCR, there are roughly 2.2 million reported burglaries in the U.S. With 311 million people, that's a U.S. burglary rate of about 700 (per 100,000).
According to NCVS (survey) data, there are 3 million burglaries in the US, or a rate of 960.
In England and Wales, the BCS is the equivalent of the NCVS (in that it's based on random survey). According to the BCS estimate, there were 745,000 domestic burglaries in the last fiscal year. But get this... and this matters:
[Just] three in five domestic burglaries involved entry (452,000, the remainder were attempted burglaries) and about two in five involved loss (298,000, the rest being accounted for by burglaries with no loss, including attempts).So by U.S. definitions there would be 298,000 burglaries in England and Wales. Given 53-million people, this is a burglary rate of 560 per 100,000, lower than the equivalent U.S. rate of 960.
Now let's look at reported crime (the UCR equivalent): "The police [in England and Wales] recorded 258,148 domestic burglaries in 2010/11." Assuming that same ratio of "2-in-5 involved entry" holds true (and it may not), then by the UCR definition there would be about 100,000 police-recorded burglaries in England and Wales. This is a rate of 200, much lower than the equivalent U.S. rate of 700 per 100,000.
No matter how you slice it, there is more burglary in the U.S. than England and Wales. And we have more guns. Many more guns. Seems like this matters, especially if you believe that more guns equal fewer burglaries. You're not going to find supporting evidence in the U.K.
So what do gun lovers have to say? I don't know. But usually they comment pretty freely.