Honestly speaking, after twenty years of research the academics are divided into two camps:
1> Those who hate guns and refuse to accept the research of their peers
2> Those who accept (often begrudgingly) that increased gun control laws lead to increases in crime, not reductions.
As for myself, I have been active in this debate for over five years now (Culture and Crime, April 18, 2007) and I am seriously sick to death of the inanity of gun control advocates, their constant name-calling, their shrill siren songs, and their remarkable ability to completely ignore every single fact and figure brought before them. Whatever is driving the gun control crowd, it most certainly is not a genuine and sincere desire to minimize the violence in modern society.
Yes, we can reduce the level of violence in modern society. It will not be easy, but it can be done. However, restricting in any way civilian access to firearms will have the opposite effect. I was just on an anti-gun website that I will not link to here, at least not until they recognize what is staring them in the face. On their site they had two lovely multi-color maps of the world. The first showed gun ownership and the second showed violent crime. Naturally the United States was the darkest, deepest red for gun ownership, almost a blood red. Oddly enough, Brazil, Ecuador, and Columbia were very light pink, almost white, indicating very low firearm ownership rates. And yet, on the violent crime rate map the United States was the light pink shade while those same three South American countries were almost blood red. Their conclusion, "Among civilized countries the United States has the 26th highest violent crime rate due to their corresponding high rates of gun ownership."
Not even the tiniest whisper of Brazil, Ecuador, and Columbia. I guess we must assume those open-minded, deeply compassionate gun control aficionados lumped the three most prosperous nations in South America in with the "uncivilized" countries? Nor was there any mention of the 25 countries with higher violent crime rates! Naturally three out of the twenty-five are Brazil, Ecuador, and Columbia, but South Africa, France, Germany, and Great Britain (all with strict firearm controls and low levels of firearm ownership) were also part of the twenty-five. For Europe, the reality everyone in the anti-gun movement tries to pretend does not exist is the simple fact that every single European country with widespread Islamic immigration since 9/11 has also seen a dramatic increase in violent crimes, especially rape, murder, and assault. The main source of violent crime in Europe since 9/11 is radicalized segments of their rapidly growing Muslim population.
The main source of violent crime in the United States, on the other hand, is gang-related violence in cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., Cleveland, and Baltimore. Firearms are often used in gang-related violence in the United States, but the vast majority of those firearms are illegally obtained through theft and straw purchases. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City and Mayor Emanuel of Chicago wail endlessly about "gun traffickers" bringing illegal weapons into their cities while daily working to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens through any means at their disposal. Los Angeles is not far behind them and just yesterday Mayor Villaraigosa announced an "economic war on guns" by ordering the city worker's pension fund to divest itself of stocks and mutual funds that invest in firearms or ammunition manufacturers.
There are somewhere around 25 million AK-47 and AR-15 clones in civilian hands in the United States. In States where it is legal to own them, most owners will have multiple 30-round magazines for those rifles. A few owners will have crazy items like 75 or 100-round drum magazines. Out of those 25 million or so "assault weapons" with "high capacity magazines", three rifles were recently used in mass shootings, and of those three mass shootings, only two of them deserve the label: the Aurora theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Every violent crime is a terrible tragedy. Events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will haunt the national psyche for decades. The best way to insure we see even more of these crimes is to ban, limit, or restrict civilian ownership of "assault" weapons.
As I said in the beginning, something else is driving the anti-gun campaign. I don't know whether it is paranoia, politics, simple greed, or a vast globalist conspiracy, and I don't care! The one simple fact I as a gun owner can not ignore is that there does indeed exist a highly coordinated, well-funded effort to step by step deprive me of the best self-defense tools available in the civilian market. As a result, I must ask myself, "Why are these people working so hard to take away my guns?"
Since the research clearly shows a direct correlation between increased civilian firearm ownership and reduced violent crime, their stated goal of desiring a safer world must be an outright, overt lie. That leaves two types of people who would love to see me and people like me armed with nothing more than baseball bats and kitchen knives: criminals and tyrants! The research is very clear. There can be only one conclusion from where I sit. Those who are leading the anti-gun movement must have backing from organized crime, globalist wannabe tyrants, or old aristocratic families who fear armed peasants. Perhaps the rank and file are simply deluded sheep who think with their hearts rather than their brains, but I cannot ascribe simple naivete to the leaders. If they were that naive, they would not know how to lead.
Paolo Buonnano, et all: Crime in Europe and in the US (a .pdf file)
Gary Kleck: Guns and Crime, a summary
John Lott: More Guns, Less Crime (blog)
FactCheck.org: Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts
Washington Times: Gun ownership up, crime down
FBI: Uniform Crime Reports
CDC: NIOSH Publications and Databases