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Misuse the problem

To the Valley News:

Recently, while exploring the internet, I stumbled across an article in the Washington Post that dealt with ”What makes America’s gun culture totally unique in the world.” This in turn led me to a database compiled by the Guardian titled, “Gun Homicides and Gun Ownership Listed by Country.” It is a list of 178 countries which includes some very interesting and informative information about civilian firearms ownership and numbers of firearm related homicides. The United States of course is at the top of the world’s civilian gun ownership list by far. In fact while our population makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population we own somewhere between 35-50 percent of the worlds civilian guns. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/newa/datablog/2012/iul/22/gun-homicides).

In this country there, currently, are around 270 million guns held privately. This equates to 88.8 guns owned per 100 people. Our homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 people comes in at 2.97. From here, it all depends upon how you choose to interpret the data.

If I were oriented toward more stringent gun control I would point out that in a number of cases there is a direct correlation between the number of firearms privately owned and homicide rate. I would point to our neighbor Canada where, there are only 30.8 firearms per 100 people and a homicide by firearms (HBF) rate of only 0.51 HBF per 100,000 people. In addition I would show Australia with a 15 guns/100people and a HBF of only 0.14. I could point out Japan with a 0.6 firearms/100 people and an HBF rate of only 0.01. I could in fact go on and on pointing out that those countries with fewer guns and most likely stricter gun control laws do in fact have lower rates of firearm related deaths. Of course when you truly examine the numbers we see that this issue is in fact far more complicated than, where our personal bias tends to fall.

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