Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2023


Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Nathan Griffith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Especially in United States politics, gun control legislation is a controversial topic, with much debate dedicated to which gun control policies are implementable as a countermeasure to violent crime rates, if any. In American public discourse on the topic, U.S. gun control doctrine, which is characterized by an individualistic gun culture engrained in the Second Amendment of the Constitution, is one which is described as lax in comparison to gun control measures implemented by other nations. These gun control policies include a wide array of measures, such as automatic firearms regulation, a state-mandated national firearms registry, and background checks, among many others. However, which gun control policies actually correlate with lower violate crime rates? There have already been many studies focused on the effects of gun control on violent crime rates. One example is a study by Lott (2010), which observed scattered relationships between specific gun control measures and crime rates throughout the United States. Another study by Chapman and Alpers (2013) observed the effects of stricter gun control policies enacted by the Parliament of Australia in 1996 and found a statistically significant relationship between the Australian ban on automatic and semi-automatic firearms and lower firearms-related violent crime rates. Yet, there has not been enough research which compare national gun laws across different nations against violent crime rates in those nations, and how any possible relationship might be affected by economic and social development. This study will observe correlations between the implementation of specific gun control measures and violent crime rates across 43 cases, including 29 nations and territories and 14 U.S. states and territories. This study employs the Pearson correlation coefficient to measure relationships between gun control legislation and violent crime rates. The gun control measures observed in this study include types of firearm bans, safety training, background checks, concealed carry regulation, and rates of civilian firearm ownership, among others. This study also tests any possible relationships between gun control and violent crime rates against economic and social development. While there are some relationships between certain gun control policies and lower crime rates, this study does not find that gun control is a panacea for reducing violent crime, with development playing a major role in the overall success or failure of gun control policies. The research provided by this study will add to the conversation around gun control by bringing attention to the success of certain gun control policies in nations across the world, and how this success may be affected by development.