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.

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