Last night, I was chatting with a dear friend who lives in Australia. He made a statement heard in many quarters. “You Americans and your love of hand guns are ruining your country and making you the laughing stock of the civilized world.” All we had to do was “look at the numbers to see the truth.” Well, I did look at the numbers. If you compare the total number of murders in the U.S. to that of a small country like, say, Costa Rica, you’d be right. But to get a fair and balanced apples-to-apples comparison, you need to look at the number of crimes per 1,000 residents. Now it get’s really interesting . . .

For the sake of argument, we turn to tables provided by nationmaster.com. They were created using data from the Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 – 2000. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention) prepared an eighth survey, but the variances are small.

The headline: the U.S. murder rate per 1,000 Americans (relative easy access to handguns) was significantly lower than that of Costa Ricans (who aren’t legally allowed to own handguns). In fact, of the top 25 countries with the worst murder rate, handguns are outlawed in the top nine.

South Africa (handguns allowed) came in at number 10. The mild-mannered gun-crazed cowboys in the U.S. ranked twenty-fourth. In fact, the U.S. and South Africa were the only two countries where civilians have legal access to handguns to have made the top 25.

Just for S&Gs, let’s take handgun access as the fixed variable, and examine relative rates for other types of crime. Surely gun-crazed America leads the league table in other categories.

BURGLARY: Of the top 29 countries rated, most ban legal handgun ownership. The US ranks 17th, followed by France. Are handguns a deterrent? Maybe so.

RAPE: The US doesn’t even crack the top 50 in this category. The gun-banning Ozzies have the third highest rate of reported rapes. Their Kiwi cousins aren’t far behind.

KIDNAPPING: Again, America didn’t make the top 50, I can’t seem to find the US on the list at all. Oddly enough, our gun-loathing Canadian brothers and our stout U.K. allies across the pond both rank in the top three. Switzerland, Japan, and Belgium all rank in the Top 15. And there’s New Zealand again.

DRUG OFFENSES: The U.S. sneaks in at number 41. The Germans are number one without a bullet (in theory). They must be trying to forget the war along with number two, the U.K.  New Zealand clocks-in at number 11. We have found the modern day “Sodom and Gomorrah” – and they have beaches!

So in summation, there doesn’t seem to be much truth to the fact that “civilized countries” are safer for the general citizenry than the Land of the Free And Gun Zealots.  That would be the easy lesson to take away here. The more interesting question: “What’s up with New Zealand?” They island nation makes the top 10 in just about every crime stat category. Maybe we should send them all handguns to help make them safer.

36 Responses to Handguns = Rampant Murder? Nope.

  1. I always love this civilized comment, a civilized world does not need guns. If the world was civilized I could keep machine guns, cannons, bombs and not worry as we would be civilized and no crimes with any weapon would occur so my guns would be sporting and curiosities of a time when the world was uncivilized, ah! like now maybe, when criminals have more rights than victims.

  2. re-Burglary. I’d like to see a comparison of criminals entering dwellings while the residents are home in the US vs. the rest of the world.

    • “re-Burglary. I’d like to see a comparison of criminals entering dwellings”

      The more relevant statistic is the number who manage to leave.

  3. More typical blabber from the left. England is a much better example of what happens when you strictly rely on law Enforcement to protect you. The US violent crime rate is 466 per 100,000. England, 1/6th our size is 2,000 per 100,000.

    Let your Aussie friends keep chiding you, secretly he wishes he too could own a gun to protect himself and his family. One more thing, since the Aussies gave up their guns, their violent crime rate has risen as well!

    • I had an Aussie buddy say, “Man, I’m going to have to try out some of those cool guns you guys in the states have the next time I’m there. They’re banned here, so only criminals have them.”

  4. I always point out when this topic comes up; Even if the murder rate stayed the same if guns are banned (it doesn’t, it always goes up) I would rather be shot in the head and leave quickly than endure being hit with a bat in the head until I die from the pain.

    Gun control nuts have a hard time wrapping their mind around that, they have this irrational notion that if Joe really wants to kill Bill but he can’t find a gun he is just going to decide not to kill Bill. Never mind the clever, butchers knife, baseball bat, or nine iron he owns; they just won’t cut it (pardon the pun) and so he is going to instead go make up with Bill and they are going to ride off into the sunset together. Gun control advocates truly do work on a different plane of logic, one of those non-existing planes.

  5. Your friend in Australia said the “civilized world.” Why would you consult a list which contains countries that are anything but civilized? All those ex-soviet countries and shitholes like Colombia and Mexico and Jamaica are what you want to compare the greatest country the world has ever known to? That’s not right. That’s a spin job, man.

    I suppose you’ve seen some of those other lists which contain “civilized” countries. The US of A comes out on top. That’s what the Australians (and the Europeans) are laughing at, that and the way you twist it around to make it seem less disgraceful than it is.

      • Dont’ worry, I’m sure he can produce a hand-selected list of other countries’ crime statistics (which conveniently omits most other English-speaking countries) in which America ranks very poorly.

        • The really funny thing is gun control nuts typically argue the US is not civilized and can’t be until we outlaw guns. I guess we are only civilized when it is convenient.

      • You’re pretending to not know what I mean. When the US is compared to other developed countries, you have much different results.

        You want proof, you look it up.

    • New Zealand is not a civilized country? France is an uncivilized country?

      You’ll pardon my ignorance, but I missed the memo that Poland and Costa Rica had slipped into a third world status.

    • So…. France, Germany, and England – all “gun free” are NOT civilized? They all make the list and many in quite prominant places. I gloss over the fact that the krazed Komrad countries are all on the list… I don’t bother spouting facts about them, so in essence, I don’t really compare us to them… although the list would allow you to do that, certainly. But the point remains… gun-free zones in cultured quarters including Paris, Munich, and London are not murder free zones either – by a long shot (couldn’t resist the pun!).

  6. Here in Idaho, where we’re literally using snow shovels to move guns out of our way when we walk, so statistics should show were primarily using them to assault and kill each other right?

    (2009 stats)
    Aggravated Assault
    162 – handgun
    54 – rifle
    49 – “other” firearm
    53 – firearm “unknown type”
    396 – knife
    303 – blunt object
    166 – vehicle
    817 – personal (fist, feet, hands, etc…)
    13 – fire/explosive
    6 – drug
    93 – asphyxiation
    384 – other

    Murder
    3 – handgun
    2 – “other firearm”
    3 – knife
    1 – blunt object
    5 – “personal” (fists, feet, hands, etc)
    2 – asphyxiation
    5 – “other”

    • Don’t bother, Jeff. The only response you are going to get from the sissies/grabbers is that you should move to a safer place. I’ve been there. I’ve posted the hard police stats for my area and that was the response.

      Stats and facts from the government are voodoo man! Down with the numbers! No guns! Everyone will love all the time man!

      Oh! Last lines were sarcasm.

  7. So, the US is “the laughing stock of the civilized world.” That’s the best news I’ve heard all day. Now maybe they’ll stay the f^ck away. Hey, foreign gerbils: please consider the “Golden Door” closed.

    • Be nice: Every year I have to spend five weeks & lots of $ in the US in order to shoot the firearms my own government wont allow me any more:-(

      Just because some foreigners denigrate firearms ownership in the US doesn’t mean we all do. In fact; most never give it a thought, even when vacationing on your side of the Pond.

  8. If we cut everyone’s hands and feet off, they wouldn’t be able to beat each other to death or shoot anyone, then Mikeb would be happy.

  9. Civilian gun ownership is NOT banned in Switzerland. Gun dealers are not even required to record sales of small bore and hunting long guns, which is not the case in the United States. Ammunition sales are subsidized by the government. There are some restrictions on handguns, and since I don’t speak German, I’m not positive what they are, but it appears that in most US states, you can buy a wider variety of handguns.

    This does not take into account the fact that members of the Swiss militia keep their select fire service rifles at home.

    Where did you get your information from?

  10. Aussie friend also forgets to note that civilian gun ownership protects democracy. You know why Haiti is the poorest country on the planet? Only the mega rich who’ve been ruling there for ages have guns. I also think that the US has additional problems with gun violence based on the way that drug culture has developed here. Correct me please if I’m mistaken, but aren’t most shooting deaths in the US related to drug gang violence? Lets legalize some drugs (not meth) and I’m quite sure that gun violence would decline.
    Finally, Australians can’t have guns (and even knives in some Territories) because they’re such ridiculous alcoholics, most of them aren’t safe with a firearm–they were probably too drunk to notice their liberty slipping away.

    • Most shooting deaths are probably criminal on criminal, but over 90% of murders are felons, documented spouse abusers, documented drug users, or documented gang members.

      Around half of murder victims are also intoxicated on alcohol or drugs.

  11. Isn’t it funny how there’s very little positive rhetoric out there? When you’re buying a car, do you search for the least awful car or the car that appeals to you most? I think that decisions should be based primarily on the positive aspects of any argument, not why the other side is wrong.

    I enjoy reading many of the articles on this site, but why is it that we (mostly commenters, mind) seem to feel the need to break someone else down? Our beliefs and rights can stand on their own. We have the strength of the truth behind us, so why should we make disparaging comments about someone else’s deluded views?

    Calling foreigners gerbils and saying that all Australians are too drunk to be responsible human beings lowers us to the level of the gun grabbers who generalize the bad apples among our ranks.

  12. Singer of “Sea Chanties” hey KM?! Trust me, they’re sea shanties. (I know, I was once a chantie, LOL!)

    Nice piece brother, I see you have mostly nice readers too, based on the comments.

    I found it slightly problematic that we (In South Africa), seem to have slipped from our ‘Rape capital of the World’ position though, (just when I was beginning to think we were still right up there -so to speak).

    Actually we’ve (or at least the media have) recently noticed a rather disturbing trend within the police’s (read: governments) attitude to their international image in these various published stats.

    I think its a given that the most accurate reflection of a country’s violent crime rate is the murder stat, with or without firearms. In that vein, it was reported recently in a mainstream Sunday blurb that the cops here are actually disguising the murder rate, on a massive scale. In the case of homicides, police are apparently making (or being made) to reflect more and more murder dockets as Inquests. That way, even if the event is later proven to be an actual murder, its much much later, (perhaps years with our countries forensics backlog).

    By doing this, the authorities are effectively falsifying the ever-increasing murder rate (supposedly only sixteen thousand last year, not bad in a pop of about 50 million), -merely in order to try to disprove the accepted truism that increased gun restrictions invariably result in increased murders, usually of innocents.

    Warm greeting from your Brothers-in-Arms in South Africa, the Black Gun Owners Association of SA.

    (No, its not the owners that must be black, its the gun. (Allowances made for Chrome, Stainless and Camo’d weapons however).

    In Common Cause,

    Martin Hedington.
    Administrative Officer: BGOASA

    • “In that vein, it was reported recently in a mainstream Sunday blurb that the cops here are actually disguising the murder rate, on a massive scale. In the case of homicides, police are apparently making (or being made) to reflect more and more murder dockets as Inquests. That way, even if the event is later proven to be an actual murder, its much much later, (perhaps years with our countries forensics backlog).

      By doing this, the authorities are effectively falsifying the ever-increasing murder rate (supposedly only sixteen thousand last year, not bad in a pop of about 50 million)”

      The 1,801 inquests over the last three years you refer to (600 yearly) is hardly on a “massive” scale in a country with 15,000 to 20,000 murders per annum – this would add a paltry 1 per 100,000 on the official 2009 figure of 34 per 100,000 if every one is proven to be a murder. This is a country that even puts fatal car accidents in with murders at times. South Africa’s murder rate has been going down for years.

      The Colombian police excluded 2,000 to 3,000 murders from their 2009 statistics (about 5 per 100,000), the corruption’s on another level.

  13. How does comparing the murder per capita with that of Costa Rica, make it okay that the USA is just about the only modern democratic economy in the top 40?

    • You´re not right – there are some modern democratic economies in the top 40 above the US: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (this 3 have eo. growth rates in the european community!) and Poland.

  14. Nice article, or I should say “Amen!, brother.” After the last school shooting here in Germany 2009, we have lots of work to do handling these antigun-bigots. Yesterday there was a TV-interview with some of both sides. Incredible! The anti used the argument against liberal gun laws not to have “American Crime Stats”…
    I think, the only fault your grandpas´ made after landing in normandie ´44 and kicking some Nazi-asses was leaving germany without an 2nd Amd. in our federal law “Grundgesetz”. So we have to fight not to loose our last guns (like the Tommys on the other side of the channel). Greetings from Germany to “GoC” 😉

  15. The link above is from 2006… I checked it this evening, and South Africa is not even on the list – nor is the US….. yet France, Germany, and other “civilised” countries all make the top 37.

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