Could Firearms Statistics Support Gun Control after Newtown?

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Comparing Gun Violence Across Nine Countries

Nine Countries Firearms Homicide and Suicide Rates in 2006 : image by Mike DeHaan

Nine Countries Firearms Homicide and Suicide Rates in 2006 : Image by Mike DeHaan

One simple report compares the rate of gun violence in different jurisdictions. The first chart shows firearms homicide and suicide rates from nine nations, using 2006 data.

One important factor for this type of study is that the groups being compared should have some common characteristics. These nine countries have stable governments and well-developed economies by comparison to many in the Third World. Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Scotland and the USA are heavily influenced by a British cultural heritage. Finland, Italy and Switzerland are European. Japan may have the least in common with the others. Nonetheless, Japan and Scotland have extremely low homicide rates; but Japan has the lowest rate of suicide by far.

This spreadsheet sorts the countries by homicide rate. The graphs make it clear that suicide rates do not rise uniformly with homicide rates.

This type of statistical comparison might be used to make a case that one country should adopt another’s approach to gun control, or perhaps to other social values.

The above chart clearly shows that the USA has the highest rate of firearms murders among the reported nations. A complete report for all countries in the world might show a different result.

One could bring more data into this spreadsheet by including more countries or by adding other types of gun crime. Examples of firearms offenses range from wounding, through robbery or making threats, to technical violations such as improper storage of the firearms.

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