Gun ownership and homicide rates: comparing the worldwide data

Civil liberties and peace advocate Moorfield Storey
An analysis from the Moorfield Storey Institute compares gun ownership rates to homicide rates in 169 countries and concludes that higher rates of gun ownership correlate to lower rates of homicide.

Canada, for instance, has a relatively high rate of gun ownership (30.8 privately-owned firearms per 100 people) and a relatively low rate of firearm homicide (0.51 per 100,000 people). By contrast, Colombia has a firearm murder rate of 27.09 per 100,000 people but a private gun-ownership rate of just 5.9 per 100 people.

The corresponding rates for the United States are about 89 guns for every 100 people, and a firearm homicide rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people.

Using additional figures for non-firearms-caused homicides, the analysis concludes:

The trend seems to be that nations with lower homicide rates have a higher proliferation of guns—the reverse of what is often claimed in the media.

We can also come at this by viewing homicide rates first. The 10 nations with the highest homicide rates in the world, averaging 50.67 per 100,000, have 6.84 guns per 100 people. The ten nations with the lowest homicide rates—just 0.5 per 100,000—have gun rates of 20.39 per 100 people. While the “armed” nations have more than triple the number of privately-held firearms, their homicides rates are just 1/100th those found in the 10 least-armed nations.

The 25 most deadly nations—with an average of 39.88 homicides per 100,000—have a gun proliferation rate 4.89 per 100. The 25 least deadly nations —0.77 per 100,000—have guns rates of 17.43 per 100.

It’s worthwhile to read the whole piece.

@rick_sincere | | Rick Sincere’s posts

  • David Obermark

    Thanks Rick, very illuminating and furthers my resolve to oppose expanded gun control.

    Trying to keep it brief, my position is:

    1. Even the shooter’s mother did not think the shooter was capable of the evil he did. If she had thought so, the guns would have been placed somewhere safely where he could not get at them – I mean locked up in a safe or even at a another address. It turned out she was wrong and in her error she was the first to pay the price.

    2. Even if assault weapons were banned, equal damage could have been done with other weapons. If assault weapons are banned and the next time the perpetrator is “only” armed with a deer rifle, shotgun, or semiautomatic pistol and does equal or worse damage, will we then also outlaw them? The shooter had a shotgun he left in his automobile probably only because it would have been too much for him to carry.

    3. You can not stop a determined lunatic intent on evil from accomplishing his goal with an assault weapons ban. A grown man armed only with a butcher knife and an absence of conscience could have achieved the same results (he might have also needed a flower pot to break the window to get in) in a classroom filled with first graders.

    4. We should not allow what evil lunatics accomplish to determine the borders of the rights that good, law abiding citizens should have.

    5. It is my hope that our society does not overreact to the tragedy controlled by the great emotions evoked. Please allow your emotions to cool and listen to opposing voices before you agree to increased gun control.

  • A “gun free” zone is a mass murder empowerment zone.

    • MD Russ


      I would agree with you on one condition: that “gun free zones” that don’t physically prevent the introduction of firearms are wrong. Airports are gun free zones and I feel safer getting onto an airliner because of it. Malls and schools are only gun free zones for those of us who respect the law–and we are not the ones who commit mayhem.

  • If banning things worked, we could just ban murder and be done with it.

    How’s that banning drugs things going?

  • I have been reading over the details of the Newtown case comparing them with the gun laws of 2 countries. The USA and my own(Canada). I cannot see a single Canadian gun law that would have prevented this tragedy if Nancy Lanza lived in Canada.

    All of the guns used are legal in Canada for licensed gun owners. It is true that getting the license is a little time consuming but I see no reason Nancy Lanza would not have qualified. Most of what separates Canadian from American gun law is what happens after we acquire our guns. Storage laws. ridiculous permit requirements for travelling from A to B with gun, virtually no concealed carry allowed ever.

    I can understand some rules about who can buy a gun. but once we have the gun in our possession the law is useless. Storage: I can keep a loaded gun in my night stand, who is going to know. Concealed Carry/travel permits: why in the world would I care if I had the proper permit if I was going to go shoot up a mall?

  • James Peron
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