58 Murders a year by Firearms in Britain, 8,775 in US

Updated

Number of Murders, United States, 2010: 12,996

Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2010: 8,775

Number of Murders, Britain, 2011*: 638
(Since Britain’s population is 1/5 that of US, this is equivalent to 3,095 US murders)

Number of Murders by firearms, Britain, 2011*: 58
(equivalent to 290 US murders)

Number of Murders by crossbow in Britain, 2011*: 2 (equivalent to 10 US murders).

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 30 times fewer than in the US per capita.

Do hunters really need semi-automatic AR-15 assault weapons? Is that how they roll in deer season? The US public doesn’t think so.

*British crime statistics are September to September, so 2011 is actually 2010-2011.

31 Responses

  1. it’s the american way, guns, drones, subject separate from object, christianity, science, ‘democracy”, it’s all a package …

  2. The rate of private gun ownership per 100 people
    United States 88.82
    United Kingdom is 6.72
    Canada 23.8
    Switzerland 45.7
    Mexico is 15.02

    The annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population
    United States 4.96
    United Kingdom 1.2
    Canada 1.8
    Switzerland 0.70
    Mexico 21.5

    The annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population
    United States 2.98
    United Kingdom 0.03
    Canada 0.50
    Switzerland 0.52
    Mexico 10.0

    If homicide rates (and more specifically, firearm homicide rates) correlated with firearm ownership rates, then Mexico’s firearm homicide rate should only be about twice that of the UK’s, not 10 times higher. And Switzerland’s firearm homicide rate should significantly higher than it is, with their high rates of firearm ownership, and their overall homicide rate certainly shouldn’t be lower than the UK’s.

    When you compare a wider selection of countries–rather than just the US and the UK–you find that there is very little correlation between firearm ownership and homicide rates. The numbers are all over the place. It’s almost as if crime and homicide rates have far more complex causes than simply firearm availability …

    • Seriously? You want to muddy the waters by throwing Mexico in? Which is having a major drug war in which tens of thousands have died?

      Terminally stupid.

      • Suddenly unhinged and warp speed departure from civility seems to be modi operandi for most
        But the hair trigger drive by name calling should not be yours.
        Respectfully

    • Bringing Switzerland into this is just muddying the waters; every Swiss adult male is inducted into the militia and given a gun – generally an automatic rifle – and _required_ to keep it at home from the age of 20(ish) to 30, at which point they leave the militia and have the option of giving the gun back, or sending it to a weapons factory to have it converted to semi-automatic and retaining it. Are National Guard weapons counted in the US figure?
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • #OldNewYork #70s #Bronx #SavageSkulls #80BlocksFromTiffanys #GangsOfNY #TheWarriors

        ANON E. MUS: 

        I’m aware of the situation in Switzerland. The source I used specified the rates were of private firearm ownership–I assumed it was aside from the government-owned rifles. 

        Military firearms aside, the Swiss are a high firearm ownership society. They have a strong gun culture and target shooting is their national sport. 

        It’s not “muddying the waters,” even if we include the fact that most Swiss households have a fully automatic rifle–a true “assault rifle” aka machine gun–it only bolsters my point: that widespread availability of firearms itself is not what drives crime rates and homicide rates (firearm or otherwise).

        • frankly, there is a difference between sociological reasoning and scoring cheap points in these internet comment debates. Go to a public library, find Jstor, and look up the actual literature. What you’ve said means nothing.l

      • ANON E. MUS: 

        I’m aware of the situation in Switzerland. The source I used specified the rates were of private firearm ownership–I assumed it was aside from the government-owned rifles. 

        Military firearms aside, the Swiss are a high firearm ownership society. They have a strong gun culture and target shooting is their national sport. 

        It’s not “muddying the waters,” even if we include the fact that most Swiss households have a fully automatic rifle–a true “assault rifle” aka machine gun–it only bolsters my point: that widespread availability of firearms itself is not what drives crime rates and homicide rates (firearm or otherwise).

        P.S. Sorry for the mishmash of trend tags at the beginning of the first attempt to post this comment– I was posting a pic to Instagram and accidentally combined the trend tags with the comment.

    • I’m going to have to challenge the 88.82/100 gun ownership in the United States as nonsensical. All recent surveys indicate 45%-50% of households own guns and, as makes logical sense, a lower number of individuals do so, between 35% and 39%. Not that it is dispositave, but in my circle of about 40 friends, not a single one of them owns a gun.

      The Wikipedia item where you probably got that number obtained it by dividing the number of guns owned by the population, which does not account for one person owning multiple guns, a fact which is reported in the article.

      As Juan says, terminally stupid.

      • Yes, that number is obviously not a percentage of households–it is what I said it was, the number of private firearms owned per 100 people. It’s an entirely normal and acceptable way to discern the “rate” of something–divide the total by the population. That’s how we figure out murder rates and firearm homicide rates as well. Why are you acting as if you’ve uncovered some nefarious subterfuge?

        • Except that you made a basic error in the premise, which produced an incorrect result.

    • Mexico does have easy gun availability, no matter what the ownership figures are. Apparently, 10% of US gun dealers are based n the Mexican border. The point stands: America’s lack of gun control is in large part responsible for an ongoing bloodbath; its not the only factor, but its a necessary factor.

  3. Juan, Your point of not including Mexico is well taken. However given the political climate surrounding firearms in the US, it is perhaps instructive to look at other wealthy developed countries that have statistically similar firearm ownership: Canada and Switzerland will then be fair comparisons and worthy of side by side analysis.

  4. No, that’s actually my point—that homicide rates have far more complex causes than firearm availability, and that merely putting the UK and the US side by side and saying “The UK has no guns and no homicides and the US has lots of guns and lots of homicides” is grossly oversimplifying the matter.

    The UK has always had much lower homicide rates than the US, even long before they instituted their gun control measures.

    Comparing different countries is generally not of much use, as the varying cultures and economic conditions—along with a host of other factors—have a much greater effect on crime and homicide rates. That’s why Japanese Americans—full firearm availability—have crime rates as low as Japanese in Japan. It’s their culture, not whether or not they can get guns.

    • Actually social scientists, inlike anonymous internet commenters, have found a strong correlation between rates of civilian gun ownership and violent crime across countries. Just think how hard it is to kill someone with a knife. Sloppy thinkers who instance Switzerland are counting their national guard.

  5. Mr. Cole,
    I am unsure why you term the response by Guav as “Terminally stupid”. It would seem your own argument that Mexico is in the midst of a major drug war should point you to the fact that the United States itself suffers from the same maladies. You may live in an area where you are privileged to not interface with it and if so congratulations. At best it would seem you could argue that Mexico’s numbers are inflated by the influence and peripheries of the drug war. I would say the same for the US.
    Would you consider a comparison between Switzerland and the UK better? If so their example of firearms ownership my prove to be more enlightening.

  6. Another factor in the low murder rate by gun in the UK is that after our two biggest spree killings,gun laws were amended, and quickly too. After Hungerford in 1987, assault rifles of the sort used in the killings were banned. After Dunblane in 1996, handguns were banned. (Among other consequences, this means that the British Olympic shooting teams do much of their training abroad now.)

  7. I’m keeping my right to bear arms and you can go screw yourself. In the US we have the right to defend ourselves against our own government if required and it will be a cold day in hell when we give it up.

    • Actually, it will be an extremely hot day in North Dakota. Excess energy and food, a too stable climate to generate Darwinian thinning, and a mindless drum beat about how this is the greatest nation on earth, when it has mostly been the richest nation on earth with only superficial acknowledgment to the laws and constitution that would make it the greatest nation if only we were to pay attention to them rather than commercial television, are not eternal.

      The comfy life may not last for even another ten years. Some people even think the Drought of 2012 will lead to the Food Shortage of 2013, the Financial Collapse of 2013 and the Winter Without Snow of 2014. Then, with overcrowded refugee camps on the US/Canadian border, you might choose to trade your weapon for porridge and a cot.

      The Bill of Rights was a choice, wasting fossil fuels is a choice, and ignoring climate change is a choice.

    • Yeah, the Predator drone locking on to me from 5 miles up is going to be really impressed when I whip out my Kimber Tactical Ultra .45

      I suggest you ask any surviving residents of Fallujah just how well civilian militias stand up to modern military forces.

      I mean really, do you think Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are going to personally show up at your front door to oppress you?

  8. The Americans have proven 365 days a year for more than 200 years that they are not Swiss so they should not have the same rights as the Swiss.
    But your statistics do have a silver lining. I my memory serves me correctly in the 1980s the number of murders in the US was usually running around 20,000 per year with a smaller population. Therefore I guess that we can conclude that taller people are less likely to committ murder.

  9. For Canada in 2010: 170 firearm homicides. This in spite of the fact that ownership rates for long guns are comparable to those in the US. What is different is legal handgun ownership and carrying in public by civilians. Both are quite unusual. Having said that, there are lots of handguns in circulation from illegal importation. It is not hard to locate a weapon for black market purchase if you are so inclined and clearly many young males in depressed urban areas are, if only for use as status symbols. But all things considered, the huge number of firearms residing in Canadian households does not result in a huge number of firearm homicides. I don’t think anyone really understands why this should be. There are clearly other factors at play.

  10. Professor, thank you for taking this bold stance. I wish other influential people, especially Hollywood celebrities and name-brand legislators, would join you up on the podium.

    For too long we have endured the bullying of the NRA and its costly impact on our society. It’s high time we hold accountable the politicians who benefit from the NRA’s greedy and self-serving ways.

  11. I agree with Mr McKie that there are other factors at play. Looking at Canadian stats before and after the 1993 Firearm Registry Act came into effect, long gun homicides came down fairly dramatically but other forms of homicide went up. There was an overall decline in homicides, but that decline began in the 1970s and levelled out around 2003. The Harper government has recently revoked the Firearm Registry Act, it remains to be seen whether that will have an impact on gun use in crime stats.

    Stricter control of guns will probably have a positive impact on homicides in the USA, but implementing that control will be difficult and complicated, as it has been in Canada. Probably more so, since you have a right-to-bear-arms ethos that Canada never did.

    For Canadian stats, see:
    link to rcmp-grc.gc.ca
    link to statcan.gc.ca

  12. Gun killings in the US are out of control. It seems only nations facing serious civil unrest have higher rates of gun violence.

    Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2000[8]
    Rank Country Firearm homicide rate per 100,000 pop.
    1 Colombia 51
    2 Guatemala 18
    3 Paraguay 7
    4 Zimbabwe 5
    5 Mexico 4
    6 Costa Rica 3
    7 Belarus 3
    8 Barbados 3
    9 United States 3

    Rank Country % homicides with firearms
    1 Colombia 83
    2 Slovakia 82
    3 Guatemala 73
    4 Zimbabwe 66
    5 United States 65

    And what is the limit of the right to firepower? As I like to say, you would not put a public button in Times Square to launch a nuke, and then say, as the world was ending in a nuclear holocaust, well, it wasn’t the nukes that killed the earth, it was some nutter in Times Square.

  13. I know Michigan is a hunt-obsessed State, but even there I doubt the average deer hunter would think it sporting to take down his prey with an assault weapon.

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