Over 9,000 Murders by Gun in US; 39 in UK

Number of Murders, United States, 2009: 15,241

Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2009: 9,146

Number of Murders, Britain, 2008*: 648
(Since Britain’s population is 1/5 that of US, this is equivalent to 3,240 US murders)

Number of Murders by[pdf] firearms, Britain, 2008* 39
(equivalent to 195 US murders)

*The Home office reported murder statistics in the UK for the 12 months to March 2009, but these are 12-month figures).

For more on murder by firearms in Britain, see the BBC.

The international comparisons show conclusively that fewer gun owners per capita produce not only fewer murders by firearm, but fewer murders per capita over all. In the case of Britain, firearms murders are 48 times fewer than in the US.

Do hunters really need semi-automatic Glock hand guns? Is that how they roll in deer season? The US public doesn’t think so.

——

Note: There were many requests for hyperlinks in this posting, so I put them in. Statistics always exhibit some discrepancies from source to source, so I’ve adjusted the figures to fit the most authoritative Web sources I could quickly find, instead of trying to discover again the original sources. The discrepancies pale in significance before the magnitude of the difference between over 9000 gun murders in the US annually and less than a hundred in the UK, which was my point. By the way, someone should tell Google that statistics are unreasonably difficult to find on the Web and someone could get rich with a better algorithm for Almanac-like knowledge.

53 Responses

  1. So now the nation’s attention is briefly returned to gun control. Lots of arguments are put forward as to why there should be no control. I think an, at least implied reason is that there is no effective way to accomplish that and that we should not spend any time and money trying to do so. There’s also a lot of bluster and claims that gun possession is favored by most, but if they want to use that as an argument why not apply the same to the question of legalizing use of marijuana? We all know that there is no effective way to control this so why not just say, okay, let’s spend the time and money of law enforcement on dealing with fraudulent bankers.

  2. …but fewer murders per capita over all.

    The ready availability of guns lends itself to higher bodycounts when someone decides to go on a rampage, but I’m unsure how the number of attacks with lethal intent (including failed murders) per capita compare.

    I haven’t seen any studies or statistics that asked that question which seems an important one for the dispute. Still, I suspect that the guns are more of an amplifier for a deeper problem than as a cause of the problem.

    Reducing the number of guns in easy circulation is a crucial step in reducing violence, but even if it’s done there’ll still be some hard work to get to the root of the problem.

    • “Reducing the number of guns in easy circulation is a crucial step in reducing violence ..”

      Perhaps.

      To get some feeling for why many people carry guns, I think if you go out into the BLM back country unarmed and take your chances that no no-legged, two-legged or four-legged critter will take you down even though you haven’t intended them any harm.

      This isn’t to say that there aren’t a lot of people who love guns as “family fun,” which may not be appropriate if they keep the family in enclosed/fenced spaces, but we need to realize there are situations where they are appropriate.

      Thus there’s no single rule that fits all, which just may be the root of the problem.

  3. As for the “number of murders,” I can’t remember where I read it some time ago, but it was reporting that the difference between “murder” and “natural death” in the U.K. was conflicted as the person who made that decision wasn’t trained but simply an ordinary person elected to the position. The conclusion was that many “natural deaths” were in fact murder by poison.

    Having spent some months in the U.K. (and Europe) and even longer in Japan, in general people in rural areas cluster together in villages whereas in the U.S. farm houses are set in the middle of the property. This was noted by De Tocqueville in “Democracy in America” and obviously part of the reason the stand-alone farmer and his family were killed as reported in “In Cold Blood.” Thus part of the equation leading to the differences is because security is left to the individual in the U.S.

    Where I live, the general rule for many people is if somebody knocks on the door after dark, you ask who’s there from behind the closed and locked door with your gun at the ready. If you decide it’s not safe, you can call the county sheriff who will send somebody to help you, in about an hour. Then there are the javelinas, and if you’re near edge of the flat desert, the mountain lions.

    This is not to say that these factors “cause” the difference, just that they are part of the reasons.

    IMO, one of those other reasons is that guns or all sorts are a fetish in the U.S., especially among, but not limited to, to the definition of the male gender. While it’s difficult to quantify how much influence this has on the general situation, I think it’s also part of the equation.

    • “As for the “number of murders,” I can’t remember where I read it some time ago, but it was reporting that the difference between “murder” and “natural death” in the U.K. was conflicted as the person who made that decision wasn’t trained but simply an ordinary person elected to the position. The conclusion was that many “natural deaths” were in fact murder by poison.”

      I’m sorry, I find that very hard to believe. Even if the British are using poison instead of guns, their homicide rate is far below the US rate, 1.28 per 100,000 to 5.0 per 100,000, so poison seems not to be a very efficient way to kill people. Certainly Loughner wouldn’t have been able to kill many at the Safeway using poison.

  4. Good pitch, Prof. Cole. Too bad it’s way high and outside of any possible effective strike zone.

    Got any idea how many Americans just KNOW that if they were standing around in that meet-the-Congressperson session, handguns conveniently to hand, they would have been able to whip out their own Glocks or Tec-9s or S&Ws or any of various flavors of 1911-type .45ACPs and “taken down” or “capped” or otherwise terminated Loughner before he could have got a shot off? Without harming a even hair on the head of anyone else in the neighborhood?

    There’s upwards of 250 MILLION firearms in private hands in America, and an entire significant fraction of the culture that is intoxicated and titillated and engorged by the very thought of, touch of, lubricious in-and-out action of, seeming power of, guns (and other even uglier weapons) of all types. Nothing anyone can say has a prayer of tricking the (concealed-carry, hidden) Jinn back into the bottle.

    Take a field trip to a gun range in your neighborhood. It ought to scare you, if you aren’t already hardened to this king of Family Fun. And here’s this little sweet snippet, a taste of what’s out there in Youtube-land.

    link to youtube.com

    And here’s what you too can do with a Glock!
    link to youtube.com

    And then there’s this young lady, getting an early start…
    link to youtube.com

    The Kalashnikov Culture is well on its way to establishment in America too…
    link to youtube.com

  5. I would feel more comfortable about your statistics if you would also publish your source(s) for the data. I see another online post with the exact same deaths for the US, but they quote a UN study from 1998-2000. Has the murder rate in the US not changed +/- since 2000? Without the research, no one should trust what you’ve published as fact or give it any weight in making critical judgements.

    • Oh, for heaven’s sakes, google it yourself. The statistics aren’t controversial.

      The US annual murder rate has been around 16,000 for years, though since we add 8-10 million per decade in population, the per capita rate may have fallen a bit. Roughly two-thirds of those murders are by firearms, every year, year in and year out. Mostly by handheld firearms, which are not used in hunting nor very useful for a well-ordered militia. About 4 major companies make all those hand guns, and most of the ones used in murders are bought legally. In the UK, where guns are not ubiquitous, the murder rate is proportionally about 1/3 that of the US, i.e. the missing two thirds that would have been caused by gunplay are, well, missing. Americans are so brutalized by this gun violence that they don’t even know what it is like to live in a low-murder society. They are in with South Africans, Colombians and Mexicans, and you can’t stay a great power at that level of social violence.

      • If the United States doesn’t stay a superpower, I think it will be the over 14 trillion dollars in debt that does it, not the approximately 16,000 murders per year.

      • Fortunately, as shown by our unemployment statistics, we have an excess of population.

    • Not that complicated for the USA.
      Search–>FBI–>Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)

      Murder victims by weapon:
      Number of murder victims 2009: 13,636
      Total firearms: 9,146

      In comparison Germany 2009:
      Search–>BKA–>Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2009
      (German Federal Crime Statistics)
      It´s only in German though.
      Number of murder and murder attempts: 703
      Percentage of attempts: 57,5%
      Use of firearms in all cases: 11.8%
      Number of completed murders (victims): 299 (703*0.425)
      If I assume that every use of a
      firearm resulted in a completed murder: 83 (703*0.118)

      Which probably is a bit too high. It´s unlikely that every use of a firearm results in a dead victim. But since the statistic doesn´t give a more detailed number, I´m using the worst case scenario here.

      I noticed that the UCR also included “nonnegligent manslaughter” in their murder victims number.
      So to be fair – since I don´t know if and how Germany classifies manslaughter victims differently – I also looked at the German manslaughter numbers.
      (Note: The same might be true for the UK. So the number “39″ might be a bit higher if some manslaughter victims are added.)

      Manslaughter cases in Germany 2009: 1,574
      Percentage of attempts: 79.1%
      Use of firearms: 5.8%
      Number of completed manslaughters: 329 (1,574*0.209)
      If I assume that every use of a firearm
      resulted in a completed manslaughter: 92 (1,574*0.058)

      In a worst case scenario that would lead to 92 additional victims due to use of a firearm. 329 manslaughter victims overall. If I assume that any use of a firearm results in a dead victim AND if I assume that every one of these cases would be classified as “nonnegligent manslaughter” in the USA. Both of which seems unlikely.

      So in a worst case scenario Germany would have:
      299 murder victims + 329 manslaughter victims = 628 victims
      with
      83 murder victims + 92 manslaughter victims = 175 victims
      due to firearms.

      Looking at the CIA Factbook the USA has roughly 4 times the population of Germany. In reality it´s a bit less though.
      Population of Germany around 82 million (stagnant). Population of the USA around 311 million now. Probably around 307 million in 2009.

      Which would mean less than 2,520 murder victims. And less than 700 of them dead by firearms.

  6. Oh, I had m dates wrong. It was from 2002; “SOURCE: The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2002) (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention) ”
    link to nationmaster.com

  7. Unfortunately, there is no realistic remedy for the gun violence in the US. Meaningful gun control will never be enacted nationwide. Banning handguns will never happen. Imagine the civil war that would erupt if handguns were outlawed across the nation? They tried it in DC and the Supreme Court said ‘no’. I agree that there is no need for average people to own automatic handguns, but it is a constitutional right apparently. I guess we all have to ‘lock and load’

  8. Our murder rate is high, but most of those murders are either “business” related (criminal business) or friends and family (hate, anger, rage, envy, jealousy–these emotions relate to familiar people–not strangers). The occasional botched robbery and serial murderers (which are just as likely to use a non-gun weapon) are the only stranger shootings that are common.

    My concern is more the fact that Americans are more likely to die in mass shootings. This just doesn’t seem to happen nearly as frequently anywhere else in the world.

    • Just to mention it.

      The “most of those murders are either “business” related or friends and family” seems also true in Europe.

      In Germany 2009:
      (See my comment above about the German Federal Crime Statistics.)
      Percentage of suspects in completed murder and manslaughter cases:
      43.9% a family member
      22.7% a family / business friend
      9.2% an acquaintance

      Don´t know about the exact percentages in the USA but roughly 75% seems to be a majority / “most” of the suspects in Germany too. :)

      My own personal guess is that murder in Germany – especially when using a firearm – is still pretty rare compared to the USA. So any such case gets a lot of attention by the German police. Which results in a clearance rate of 94-98% depending on the year.
      Which means that if you are a criminal you
      a) want to avoid using a firearm and
      b) want to murdering anyone.
      Simply because you know that doing a) or b) or both will result in a lot of attention by German law enforcement agencies and your chances – if you stay in Germany – aren´t that great.

    • But shouldn’t the shootings by friends and family be of the most concern, since they are carried out with weapons bought based on the NRA dogma that the country is infested with dangerous un-white Others who think of nothing but criminal acts around the clock? This dogma is meant to divide the country into a law-abiding (read white and submissive minority) half that buys guns and respects capitalism and is meant to be represented by the 2nd Amendment, and a violent untermenschen who breed like rats and threaten to thus steal democracy just like they stole their guns. Yet what the stats tell us is that we have met the enemy; he is us, our entitled, aggressive, take-what-we-want selves in the form of our neighbors, spouses and disgruntled employees. We are in an undeclared war with ourselves.

  9. I consider myself one of the ‘disenfranchised’ of the American political scene as there are generally no politicians who match my outlook: a left of center on domestic issues, right of center on foreign issues, and a gun owner. I voted for President Obama and democratic candidates in 2004. I have a Concealed Weapons Permit here in Colorado. I’ve lived in the Northeast (New Jersey), Southeast (Florida), and currently the Midwest (Colorado). Both my parents were shooters and I learned the responsibility inherent in gun ownership at an early age.

    The banning of firearms is an attempt to treat a symptom, not a cause. It’s equivalent to banning cars because of vehicle deaths. Guns can amplify the effects of homicidal intent, but in much the same way an automobile has the capacity to inflict more damage than a horse and cart.

    I invite interested parties to examine the following link:

    link to justfacts.com
    (Note: Just Facts is not gun centric; they state their mission as “to research, document, and publish verifiable facts on the critical issues of our time”)

    In particular the section titled ‘Crime and Self-Defense’. It is heavily footnoted with data drawn from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey. Based on this data the following statement is made:

    “Based on survey data from the U.S. Department of Justice, roughly 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in the United States during 2008. These include simple/aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, rapes, and murders.[13] [14] [15] Of these, about 436,000 or 8% were committed by offenders visibly armed with a gun.[16]”

    There is also a section entitled ‘Britain’ which makes for interesting reading:

    “Not counting the above-listed anomalies, the British homicide rate has averaged 52% higher since the outset of the 1968 gun control law and 15% higher since the outset of the 1997 handgun ban.[42]”

    (Note: the anomalies mentioned:
    2000: 58 Chinese people suffocated to death in a shipping container en route to the UK
    2002: 172 homicides reported when Dr. Harold Shipman was exposed for killing his patients
    2003: 20 cockle pickers drowned resulting in manslaughter charges
    2005: 52 people were killed in the July 7th London subway/bus bombings)

    Guns are not causal to the committing of crimes. It is my belief that the only way to reduce violent crime is to a) address the societal and economic factors which make individuals commit crimes and b) to fairly and consistently punish those individuals who do commit crime.

    In closing to a VERY long comment (my apologies); why is the 2nd amendment to the Constitution any less important or ‘valid’ than the other rights enshrined in the Constitution and it’s amendments?

    • Yeah, that is a lot of dancing around.

      Britain had 39 firearms murders in 2008.

      The US typically has 9,000-10,000.

      You can’t get around that.

      • And 880,000 “Violence against the person” crimes in England in 2008-2009. (link to homeoffice.gov.uk)

        It’s not my intention to ‘hijack’ your page or comments. I find your blog to be most informative. You are welcome to contact me if you wish to discuss the subject further.

        • Can’t understand the relevance. Lots of assaults in the US too. The point is that far fewer in the UK turn into murders.

          And only 39 firearms murders in 2008 in the whole of the UK, versus over 9,000 in the US. Everyone wants to find a way to take the focus off that stark, telling number.

        • Thing about Gun Men and Women is that they always have to get the last word in. I looked at the .pdf report that is part of the link above on “violent and sexual crimes,” which is I guess John E’s crimes against the person. Seems the Brits have a much more touchy and civil notion of what constitutes same, and on reporting to the nearest Bobbie that Cyril just gave Cedric an uncivil bit of a shove, like. A quick read through shows physical crime going down (like here in the US) even though the Brits don’t have much in the way of private handguns. The selective fact-picking of the pretensively dispassionate gun-fixated is irrefutable. In their minds.

          The Gun People will never be overcome or “reformed” by logic or arguments from facts or ANYTHING. The instrumentalities of sex and death are too much part of their identity. (Why do reporters routinely describe people who kill with guns as “gunmen?” Why that “lone gunman” phrase? Is there a sociological or biological species identification there?) Guns (as in killing somebody to death with bullets) are so nicely and intimately tied to sex in every kind of medium, from Ian Fleming to the comics pages to the videos of which I link a tiny sample in this thread to the rapes in Africa and the ones by Our Own Troops committed against their own presumably armed and combat-trained female soldiers (and Wog Women) in Notagainistan.

          The People of the Gun have won the battles and the war, but they still have some mopping up to do apparently. You waste your breath talking at them. (By the way, I acknowledge the visceral and gonadic thrill that comes from the barrel of a gun, and am not shy about shooting mine. Doesn’t mean that my higher brain functions don’t identify that as a non-survival – speaking of the species, not “High Noon” mythology – feature.)

          Welcome to the end game of humanity.

      • Yes, but you are implying a direct causality.
        For example, the United States has the world’s highest rape rate of the countries that publish such statistics. It’s 4 times higher than Germany, 13 times higher than England, and 20 times higher than Japan. This is also a “stark, telling number” but there is no simple causality to explain it away.

        So the discrepancy in the gun-murder rate might also be cultural, instead of merely being an issue of gun control.

        • Yeah, but there were only 39 firearms murders in Britain in 2008, and there were over 9000 in the United States.

          It isn’t cultural.

        • But if it is cultural, then the mostly right-wing gun lobby is faced with two horrible explanations:

          1. America as a whole has an inferior, defective culture that has no business dominating the world

          2. America has a particular minority group that is inferior and defective that’s to blame for all our troubles

          Oh, the troubles that either line of argument will lead to.

    • You have to be joking!? Guns vrs cars …that you can’t see the absolute difference in design/use/function is frightening ( and to ‘outsiders’ quite “American”)
      But for you I will explain the fundamental problem with your analogy …

      Cars are for transporting people and goods from a to b. Cars are sometimes involved in people deaths – almost always the result of accident – I have never heard of a case where a would be murderer went out and purchased a car in order to kill someone with it. Cars replaced the horse and cart as a more efficient means of transport.

      Guns are designed for killing people. They are also used for hunting and target practice but they were developed and are primarily used to kill people.There is an argument that goes “guns don’t kill people , people kill people” …this is true but fails to add the obvious point that people with guns kill people- more efficiently (after all that’s what they were designed for). Guns replaced the bow and arrow as a more efficient means of killing people in war.

      “Guns are not causal to the committing of crimes.” No, not to ‘committing crimes” but there certainly has to be a direct correlation between the use of a gun in a crime and the likelihood of someone being injured/killed by that gun. And that increases in a mass killing/shooting – minus the gun = less death/injury.

  10. I find it difficult to believe that the majority of women in this country don’t favor a meaningful controls on sales of handguns, but if the senseless killing of Christina Taylor Green doesn’t suffice to motivate them to campaign for such controls, I’m not sure we can hope for any improvement in the situation.

    • I say, or link, again:

      link to youtube.com

      and

      link to youtube.com

      The seductive power and attraction of firearms works pretty well, apparently, on both the right and left halves of the brain… and X and Y. If you bother to jump to the videos, you will see that they are just little tiny entrance wounds into the enormous wound cavities that are blown into the body politic by guns, of which I have several myself.

  11. Something which has always seemed interesting to me since the US is so very fond of guns is the way they are apparently viewed by the US military as they deliver democracy and freedom to families in the ME as evidence that those with them are in fact ‘terrorists/insurgents/anti government fighters’.

    The ‘logic’ seems to be something like – ‘Gun + US American = Good , Gun + anyone else = Bad, Gun + brown skin = kill on sight”

  12. This is ridiculous.

    You can’t control a multi-billion dollar illegal drug industry, now you want to create ANOTHER huge black market in guns?

    Read my lips: “Gun control” in the US is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE! There are an estimated 70-170 MILLION firearms in the US – probably not counting law enforcement and the military. Even if you implemented Ross Perot’s notion of sending the military door to door to confiscate weapons, you’d still miss probably half of them.

    In addition to which, studies have indicated that the presence of civilian handguns for self-defense deter crime nearly as much having a million law enforcement officers on the payroll.

    Go head – ban guns. Do it. That will guarantee that I can buy a cheap gun on the black market on any street corner in the US forever.

    Stick to foreign affairs, Juan.

    • The British have problems with illegal drugs, too. But they had 39 firearms murders in 2008.

      Actually that problem is exacerbated by having a lot of easily available assault weapons around, since drug gangs like fire power and can overwhelm police with it.

      Don’t tell me what I can talk about.

      • Then you can expect to be considered less than credible on this topic. I respect your opinion on areas involving the Middle East, but you are absolutely incorrect on this issue. Merely repeating the stats is not even relevant to the discussion.

        I will repeat again: “Gun control” in the US is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. And if attempted, it will fail big time. Like most social issues, violence in America must be addressed on a higher level than “band-aid” prescriptions. Trying to control guns is a complete and total waste of time and money, just like the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” are complete and total wastes of time and money.

        • Oh, don’t be silly. The issue isn’t banning guns, it is banning murder weapons. The assault weapons ban was implemented by Clinton and in place for years and could easily be put back in.

          Over 9000 Americans were murdered with firearms in 2008, whereas only 39 Britons were.

    • Hey, RSH, been to any of the weekly or continuous “gun shows” lately?

      There’s one or more in every large, and many small, metropolitan (and redneck-backwoods) area. You are the one who has to be kidding. There is a HUGE “black” (well, maybe camouflage sand-and-spinach) market in guns, guns that if you hang around with the people at these shows you know damn well are simply about being able to kill other humans with. Silencers (excuse me, “supressors”,) drum magazines like the one that fits my little .223 rifle that hold 90 rounds and there’s a simple conversion kit for just about every semi-auto that lets you shoot it as a full automatic weapon — a “machine gun.” And scopes and sights specifically designed for “urban combat,” and laser pointers so you really don’t even have to be able to aim your weapon all that well.

      Here’s a Gunman-eye video view of a “gun show,”

      link to youtube.com Note the Highest Rated Comment: “If I were the president, there will NO gun control laws. it is called FREEDOM, and LIBERTY!” (All errors of thought, syntax, grammar, punctuation and patent idiocy in the original.)

      And here’s an investigator’s view:

      link to gunshowundercover.org

      Juan, do you get it? It is indeed cultural, and biological, and just exactly “human,” and it’s a large and growing carbuncle that is shooting some pretty noxious emotional and “intellectual” bacteria and toxins, including lots of steel-jacketed lead, into the old body politic.

      We do not have even the useful bits of Pashtunwali and similar traditions to keep us from going absolutely batshit crazy, given some likely stimulations that to me don’t seem so far down the road.

      See how much traffic, or should I say FIRE, this little post has drawn? You ought to see what happens in “progressivespace” sites like dKos when guns start getting attention. This is magpies or crows swarming a cat or owl:

      link to youtube.com

      The “human” analogue happens in geopolitics and bar fights every stinking day.

  13. I read your blog and often find myself disagreeing, but I suspect on the Tea Party and the gun lobby we would agree. Just pointed out on my blog that the tea party, Glenn Beck and Palin aren’t actually conservatives but reactionaries:

    link to dustin-dehez.blogspot.com

  14. “Yeah, but there were only 39 firearms murders in Britain in 2008, and there were over 9000 in the United States.
    It isn’t cultural.”

    Yeah, sure, but is that purely the result of gun laws?

    If I had said that Israel or Switzerland have much lower gun-murder rates than Brazil or Mexico (despite that the latter two countries currently have stricter gun control laws) – I’m sure you would not hesitate to argue that there are cultural, socioeconomic, political, and historical factors that could explain the discrepancy for those countries far better than by *only* looking at gun ownership laws.

    Isn’t there a significant cultural difference between someone who owns a gun for hunting or self-defense, compared with someone who has gun fetish or idolizes “Dirty Harry”? Doesn’t an Afghan tribesman have a different reason for owning a gun than the average American gun collector? And isn’t worth examining that they are exposed to a culturally different narrative about the appropriate use of guns?

    My point was only about interpreting causality. Personally, I’m fairly ambivalent about gun control. My example was that the rape discrepancy is comparable to the gun-murder rate discrepancy, yet there is no easy way to explain the casual difference. You ignored this, and simply repeated the murder-rate statistic.

    Unfortunately, I had read the statistic the first time you wrote it and repeating it did not make your argument more persuasive.

    • The discrepancy between over 9000 and 39 is all the argument that is needed here.

      It isn’t cultural. The majority of gunshot victims die. Knifing victims have a much better chance of survival. Moreover, a lot of times arguments spin out of control among people who have guns to hand, and it ends badly and even with regrets, whereas a fist fight or even knife fight gives you time to reconsider how far you want to take this thing.

      The single thing that determines the massive US murder rate compared to other industrialized societies is the free availability of large numbers of hand guns (70% of firearms murders are by hand gun).

      I suspect that firearm availability is also implicated in higher rates of other violent crime, which is coercive. Coercion is easier with a gun in hand.

      • Juan, make up your mind. Up above you said:

        “The issue isn’t banning guns, it is banning murder weapons. The assault weapons ban was implemented by Clinton and in place for years and could easily be put back in.”

        Yet in this comment you’ve just correctly noted that the majority of firearm homicides are committed with handguns, not “assault weapons.” If your goal is to ban “murder weapons,” then you’d move to ban handguns. “Assault weapons” are hardly ever used in crimes (only about 3% of homicides are committed with rifles of any sort).

        Of course, no matter which you decide are “murder weapons,” banning an entire class of firearms is, in fact, “banning guns,” so I’m not sure why you’re saying you don’t want to an guns. It’s clear that you do.

        That being said, the Assault Weapons Ban you want reinstated did not remove a single “assault weapon” from private ownership, nor did it prevent XTRA DEADLY firearms from being manufactured. It prohibited a firearm from having two or more largely cosmetic features (bayonet lug, pistol grip, etc) which did not effect the speed or accuracy of the bullets that were fired from the gun. Gun makers merely removed those features or created new models that did not have them.

        A .223 rifle with a traditional wooden stock is not less dangerous than a .223 rifle with a synthetic pistol grip.

    • “Wikipedia, the majority of gun-related deaths are suicides.”

      I Googled the above and got a page that says this:

      “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000.[4] The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides,[5] with firearms used in 16,907 suicides in the United States during 2004.”

      Thus if we use Juan’s figure of 16,000 murders (violence against others), we can see that it’s less matched by suicides (violence against oneself).
      
Full text: link to en.wikipedia.org

      Two thoughts arise: 1) There’s no simple explanation for gun and other forms of violence and 2) Suicide surely brings culture and psychology into play.

  15. I’m not sure correlation between gun ownership and murder is enough .. does that hold up for all high ownership rate nations?

    .. remember, guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.

    • Maybe no ‘gun culture’ then but guns + culture …= America??

      Perhaps there might be more similarity in gun related deaths between America and Israel??

  16. Also…

    Number of people executed by the US government in 2010: 46
    Number of people executed by the UK government in 2010: 0

    I think that pretty much sets the tone for the citizens of the respective nations about what is acceptable.

  17. “Do hunters really need semi-automatic Glock hand guns?”

    Um, no. Who ever made that argument? And where did you get the idea that the 2nd Amendment has anything to do with hunting?

    I’m vegan and live in an urban area, why would I want a hunting rifle?

    • According to Wikipedia there are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with slight capitalization and punctuation differences, found in the official documents surrounding the adoption of the Bill of Rights. One version was passed by the Congress, which reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      So yes, the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting.

      However, according to what I learned in elementary school in NY, members of the Revolutionary Army supplied their own guns which were long-rifle hunting guns which were superior to the British used smooth-bore muskets. The choice of weapon isn’t simple, see link to en.wikipedia.org

      Thus at that time, Militia arms were in fact hunting rifles.

      • Actually, if the stuff I read is right, the vast majority of “militia” carried French or British-style smooth-bore muskets, not that NRA Sacrosanctity, the flintlock rifle. It was an early logistics issue, after a fashion; you needed to be able to deliver the paper cartridges with a lead ball of a consistent caliber that most of the weapons on Your Side could fire. Muskets could be loaded and fired a lot faster than the rifles of the day (no 33-round magazines and gas-operated or blowback or recoil-operated actions), and unless you were Mel Gibson playing “Patriot” games in the woods, slaying Hollywood-extra Lobsterbacks at will, your “militiaman” was very much an auxiliary part-timer with limited skills, limited sticktoitivity and limited interest.

        Here’s a few words on the subject from an “historian” working from primary sources:

        These historians note that the role of the militia is easily misunderstood and that it has to be judged by different standards than those applied to a professional military force. …

        From the earliest years of English settlement, colonists had depended on local groups of part-time citizen soldiers to defend themselves from the Indians or at times to maintain law and order. By the time of the French and Indian War, American colonists had come to rely more on British troops and volunteer provincial units for protection, but even though the militia system had deteriorated, Americans held fast to their faith in the concept of the citizen soldier. Beginning with the Stamp Act crisis and extending throughout the Revolution, the Americans’ experience with the British Army only strengthened their hatred of standing armies as implements of monarchy and tyranny and a threat to civilian government.[Any echoes in any of the heads out there, all invested in the MIC and American Hegemony? Any appreciation of the irony? the futility?]

        …While the militia could not be counted on to stand up to trained, regular forces, it could and often did perform other important roles that were less obvious but crucial elements in the winning of independence.

        link to historyisfun.org

        Myths are really hard to displace with facts.

        RSH has one thing right: There will be no GUN CONTROL in America, because guns are too sexy and powerful and tied to parts of people’s identities and are so easily profitable and so much damn FUN to shoot off, and sex and killing are inseparably linked in the ol’ popular consciousness as “good things.” And there will be no “militia” in the 2nd Amend sense either.

        We are a cruel and violent and ultimately self-destructive species, by by God we will go down shootin,’ and take a whole lot of Them, whoever They are, with us…

      • I have no doubt that the arms used by the militia back then were primarily used for hunting more than anything else. But that’s beside the point—the 2nd Amendment says nothing about hunting whatsoever, so the common complaint that this gun or that gun “can’t be used for hunting” as an argument for restricting or banning them is totally irrelevant. That’s all I am saying.

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