You’ve probably heard the same exact narrative from gun control proponents a million times by now. They say that if only we’d give up our right to own firearms, we’d be almost completely free from gun related crimes. The murder rate would drop, and more importantly, mass shootings would become a thing of the past.
To some extent they are correct. If you live in a developed country with strict gun laws, you won’t see very many crimes committed with guns. Although it’s important to remember that in contrast, developing countries with strict gun laws usually see the opposite effect. Countries like Mexico, where buying a gun legally is difficult, often have an abundance of gun related crimes (as well as ordinary crimes).
But in theory it should work right? If you live in a stable, wealthy nation with a functional police force, gun control should be effective (though whether or not it would prevent violent crimes that aren’t gun related, is debatable).
Gun owners of course, know better. We know that if you outlaw guns, they will still be smuggled into the country and sold to criminals. And failing that, we know that would-be mass murderers will simply find alternative ways to kill lots of people. We just saw that exact scenario play out in Japan, a developed country with functional governing institutions and insanely strict gun laws.
SAGAMIHARA, Japan (AP) — At least 19 people were killed and about 20 wounded in a knife attack Tuesday at a facility for the handicapped in a city just outside Tokyo in the worst mass killing in generations in Japan.
Police said they responded to a call at about 2:30 a.m. from an employee saying something horrible was happening at the facility in the city of Sagamihara, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Tokyo.
A man turned himself in at a police station about two hours later, police in Sagamihara said. He left the knife in his car when he entered the station. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and trespassing.
Officials in Kanagawa prefecture, which borders Tokyo, identified the suspect as Satoshi Uematsu, and said he had worked at the facility until February. Japanese media reports said he was 26 years old.
And I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that Japan has strict gun laws. Japan makes Germany look like America. There are so few guns in that country, that the number of people killed by firearms per month can be counted on one hand (you can’t even own a sword in Japan unless it’s registered with the government). And yet mass murders still happen there. It’s just that, instead of guns, they are committed with knives and cars.
Mass killings are relatively rare in Japan, which has extremely strict gun-control laws. In 2008, seven people were killed by a man who slammed a truck into a crowd of people in central Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district and then stabbed passers-by.
In 2001, a man killed eight children and injured 13 others in a knife attack at an elementary school in the city of Osaka. The incident shocked Japan and led to increased security at schools.
More recently, 14 were injured in 2010 by an unemployed man who stabbed and beat up passengers on two public buses outside a Japanese train station in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
Now here’s where your typical gun grabber will chime in, and admit that yes, mass murder is still possible in a country with virtually no firearms. However, Japan is still far better than America, because they have a much lower crime rate. Surely, their gun laws have prevented countless homicides and rapes from taking place.
Except that when you look at the statistics, there is no correlation between homicide rates and gun ownership rates. Japan has all kinds of reasons for having low crime rates that probably have nothing to do with how hard it is to get a gun.
Despite that, somehow I doubt that the gun grabbers will have some kind revelation after reading about this murder spree in Japan. To them it will just be some random tragedy. But to those of us who care about our right to bear arms, it’s just additional proof that strict gun laws don’t stop evil people.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.