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15 nations with the highest gun ownership

Published: Wednesday, May 28 2014 11:55 p.m. MDT

Associated Press

The violence in California this weekend which resulted in six deaths provoked once again discussions on several different topics related to gun violence, including mental health issues, cultural misogyny, as well as gun laws and even gun ownership.

Listed here are the fifteen countries with the highest rates of civilian gun ownership, based on a comprehensive ranking of countries provided by the Washington Post.

The United States, while it does have the highest rate of civilian-owned guns and the highest rate of firearm homicides among developed democracies, is fairly low on the overall world ranking. The three highest ranked countries in firearm homicides per 100,000 people are Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica, respectively.

The country with the highest percentage of homicides by guns is Liechtenstein, with a rate of 100 percent — but only because there was only one recorded homicide in Liechtenstein in 2009 and 2010. Following Liechtenstein is Puerto Rico, with a rate of 94.8 percent.

Where necessary, we've also included supplementary information on unique or relevant gun laws in certain countries.

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Karen R.
Houston, TX

That isn't a beacon of light at the top of the hill. It's the flash of gun fire.

LovelyDeseret
Gilbert, AZ

I am not sure if this article has an agenda, but it really should include the countries that outlaw guns and have a high rate of firearm homicides like Mexico and the effect that has on the social and economic policies and growth of the country.

LOU Montana
Pueblo, CO

Nice propaganda article! Here are the facts........the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people — more than any of the other 27 developed countries studied.

Japan had only .6 guns per 100 people and .06 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, making it the country with both the fewest guns per capita and the fewest gun-related deaths.

Death by gun violence is a lot like lawsuits, it is a lot of nonsense till it happens to you.

oldcougar
Orem, UT

Three of the deaths in California were stabbings, not shootings. What are the statistics on knife ownership?

fish8
Vernal, UT

A better stat would be households where there is a firearm Most gun owners own more that one gun. So if I have 5 guns and my 4 neighbors don't have any, the stats in this article make it look like there is gun in every home.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

I guess what's crazy to me about this is only 35% of American households have firearms. Half of those are rifles and shotguns which for the most part are probably just hunting guns. There really has never been an issue or "second amendment" challenge to hunting firearms.

The recent push for "restrictions" on guns has been around handguns, that aren't hunting devices, except for humans, high capacity magazines, that once again really don't have any function in hunting, and laws that help to keep guns from those who shouldn't have them.

So this really isn't about traditional American culture this is simply political partisanship, money, and unstable zealots.

In addition there's a flock of new historical research being done that is clearly showing that the individual second amendment right is pretty much a construct of Supreme Court Judge Scalia.
So keep up the zealotry and lies and you're likely to lose it all.

Avenue
Vernal, UT

Having a high rate of gun ownership is an extremely good thing. Guns do not kill people, evil people with guns do. If someone was going to rob a house, he would rather rob a house where he knew the people in it were defenseless, rather than a house full of armed people. My point is, while guns can be used for evil purposes, they can also be used to stop evil.

Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT

@ Avenue

If that were true we would be the safest country on Earth. Unfortunately the facts point to the complete opposite of that....

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

I like the sleight-of-hand in the article. When I saw the banner I immediately thought of the middle east where it seems everyone has a weapon, usually an AK-47. I am not sure if the man who possesses the weapon "owns" it, i.e. has a receipt or is "licensed" but he darn well has one to use.

In countries where it is difficult or impossible to own a personal firearm, people who want one will shop the neighborhood black market for a weapon and ammunition. These people will have no training in maintenance or how to fire the weapon which will increase accidental injury in the use or possession.

I can't seem to catch the urgency here about guns, when we kill around 35,000 and maim many more people by irresponsible use of automobiles, especially impaired driving.

We release the mentally ill onto the streets because they have the "right" to be eclectic (crazy) in their life style and then are shocked when the mental illness erupts into violence.

Surely historians will have some laughs at our society's history some ages from now.

DEW
Sandy, UT

Suirt Guns? Some 20 years ago a kid had a squirt gun aimed at the cop in his home (dark room) and the cop shot him and he died. I know we are talking about ammo in a gun.

idazut
Riverton, UT

Article mentions "shooting" but does not mention stabbings and attempts at vehicular homicide which were also used in the event referenced. The weapons are just the tools used by the real killers, human beings, who are usually suffering from some mental or emotional condition that could be treated. Before you can solve a problem you have to understand what is causing it. All this talk about guns just diverts our attention away from the cause of the problem, mental and emotional instability that can be treated.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Figures don't lie, but, you know the rest.

This is a pointless piece, except to parrot something from the very biased Washington Post aimed at advancing the left's anti-gun agenda.

How about some additional data:
-- Compare homicide and gun homicide rates among areas where guns are banned-- like Washington, DC, and Chicago?

-- Compare homicide rates among racial and ethnic groups, not that it is a causal factor, but a reflection of the reality that there is very high correlation for homicide and gun violence in minority populated urban areas. In Japan and among Japanese Americans there is almost no homicide or gun homicides.

-- Compare types or homicide weapons (gun, knife, blunt object, automobile, hands/feet) in various countries/cultures.

It's not the guns, it's the criminals!

Avenue
Vernal, UT

@Two For Flinching

The Second Amendment was put in place to protect us from a tyrannical government. Our government is violating the Constitution. Our current "leader" should be impeached for violating the supreme law of the land. This is the definition of tyranny. He is limiting the people's rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution.

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Now days bad guys can get guns and that needs to stop. It seems to be harder and harder to distinguish who is a bad guy, and who is not. That line is getting very thin. I think guns are used to kill people in the U.S. is because they are available. If they were not killers would still kill, although maybe at a lower rate. We will never really know.

Perfice
South Jordan, UT

Who was it who said: "...for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

Oh yeah, that was Jesus.

I wonder if he'll think we 'got it' when we tell him that we thought that the 2nd amendment was greater than all other considerations.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Two For Flinching" actually, the US is quite safe. You didn't read the statistics very well. They are just listing the number of gun related homicides. Lets judge the safety of a country on the overall homicide rate.

The US has a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people.

That rate is much lower than all of South America, Central America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia.

So we are already safer than at least 1/2 the world in terms of homicides.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

" Before you can solve a problem you have to understand what is causing it. All this talk about guns just diverts our attention away from the cause of the problem, mental and emotional instability that can be treated."

Actually idazut you are only partially right. You do need to understand the problem in it's entirety which is unstable people with guns.

We can aid and make progress in the fight against metal illness but we will never eliminate it because it's a physical illness just like cancer in most cases.

What we can do is make a an enormous dent in the mentally unstable people with guns, if we could just have reasonable restrictions and ownership rules. We will never eliminate this problem entirely either but we can make substantial progress.

Frozen Fractals
Salt Lake City, UT

@Redshirt
"The US has a homicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000 people.

That rate is much lower than all of South America, Central America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia.

So we are already safer than at least 1/2 the world in terms of homicides."

So we're doing better than third world nations... and worse than almost every first world nation (Russia, and depending on whether you count Mexico and Brazil as first world, are the exceptions).

1978
Salt Lake City, UT

I just looked up the homicide rates for states in the union for the past 5 recorded years (2008-2012). Utah is one of only two states (New Hampshire is the other) that has had a murder rate of less than 2.0 per 100000 each year.

Utah also has the 14th highest percentage of gun ownership and a concealed weapon carry law. So I have a legitimate question: Is it guns or culture that causes a high homicide rate?

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Frozen Fractals" so then you agree that the US is quite a safe nation, and that you do not need to fear being killed like you do in much of the world.

BU52
Provo, ut

USA USA...#1 again!

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Assuming the articles I read are correct, In this latest California killing, a gun a knife and a car were used to kill people. The father of one of the victims wants me to give up my gun which I use to defend my family, but he says nothing about giving up his car or his set of kitchen knives.

Mtn Tracker
Ephraim, UT

Let me get this straight. 3.21 homicides per 100,000. How many of these homicides were by people who legally can't own a gun. How many of these people already had convictions for several other crimes. The great state of Illinois where our glorious Potus is from can count a large chunk of that %!!! Same with CA, NY, DC, Det, All are state and cities with harsh gun laws. We can see how well gun control works!!!!

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

1978 - It is both; for some, as you see from this comment board, gun ownership is part of their culture no matter how ridiculous their reasons are for having a gun (ie revolt against the US govt). Indeed, a gun in the home is statistically far more likely to kill one of the members of that house than to ever be used against an intruder, so even self defense is statistically an irrational justification for owning a gun.

Regardless, I suggest you broaden your research to include all states. You'll find that nearly every state with high gun ownership ratios also has high gun deathss. Further, the homicide rate is not the only metric to consider. Rather, you may be interested to review gun deaths in general. What you will find is that even when you factor for suicides, gun deaths per capita in any given home rise exponentially when a gun is present in that house.

Mtn Tracker - I fear you're unaware of the stats in the Conservative South. Please review the data sets on all gun violence/gun deaths at state and national levels. The correlation is violence/gun deaths go up as gun ownership rises.

Mikhail
ALPINE, UT

Since the most common denominator of mass murders is the fact of mental illness, shouldn't we see a study about the percentage of mentally ill within each of these countries? Then, we could compare the number of mentally ill people as relating to mass murder numbers, or even homicides.

Evil is real. Evil kills. Guns are inanimate objects that have no ability to form the intent necessary to do anything. Humans have the mental ability to form such an intent.

@Stalwart Sentinel. It does seem logical that the presence of guns increases the chance of gun related death. As would the presence of any other medium that resulted in death. The presence of electricity certainly increases the chance for death by electrocution. If there is no rational reason for gun ownership, then why would the Founders of United States make the effort to protect gun ownership?

XelaDave
Salem, UT

When I saw the title of the piece I immediately moved to the comments knowing they would be the most entertaining part of my day- Thank You they did not disappoint. More pieces like this please!!

Mtn Tracker
Ephraim, UT

Stalwart,
Those stats are obvious. Either it's a criminal or a suicide by 99.2%. Less than 1% are accidents. I work in the gun industry. I would love to have a chat with you about any stat that you think could refute the facts. No matter how you would slice it. There is an obvious amount of evidence that People will do what they can no matter how heinous it might be to accomplish what they want. All I can say is thank heavens they haven't figured out how destructive bombs are. But that's obvious. Bombs aren't in most popular video games. Hating guns is a political issue. Too bad so many uninformed people buy into it.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

Mikhail - The most common denominator in mass murder is not mental illness, it is the presence of a firearm. This is not debatable, you can perform a cursory search and immediately find undeniable statistical realities on this subject. Mass murder in the US far outpaces mental illness when compared to similarly situated countries. However, the ironic thing is that if the US suffers from mental illness at a relatively equal rate when compared to it's peers yet we are incredibly disproportionate when it comes to mass murder by gun (which we are) then you've unintentionally made an argument supporting heavier gun restrictions because the known difference between us and our peers is access to a firearm.

Second, you missed the key factor regarding gun ownership. A gun is statistically far more likely to kill you or a family member than to ever be used to protect you or a family member. Put succinctly, gun ownership has a net negative affect in terms of your safety.

Finally, the Founding Fathers did not protect gun ownership, they supported an armed militia. A private citizen's right to own a gun has only existed since the judicial activism present in Heller in 2008.

HelioTeller
Mapleton, UT

Laws are made in response to gun violence. Using those situations to say gun violence INCREASES with restrictions is the most disingenuous kind of cherry picking.

oldcougar
Orem, UT

"...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

This is simple...only 14 words. I don't see any way to interpret or misinterpret this...activist or not.

I suppose some of you can argue over "what is is," and might also argue about this straightforward language.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

"The Second Amendment was put in place to protect us from a tyrannical government". You are wrong about this. The second amendment was put in place to prevent the raising of state militias, thus the language of " in order to maintain...". It virtually had nothing to do with an individuals right to keep a weapon for any other purpose.

Avenue
Vernal, UT

@pragmatisferlife

If the Second Amendment does not assist in protecting us from tyrannical government, then what does? Without the Second Amendment in place, our current government would take away as many rights as it could, and it would do it forcefully, seeing as how the people would have no way to defend themselves whatsoever.

Tumbleweed
Centerville, UT

Homicide rate is a misleading statistic. A homicide can be justifiable. When homeowners, for example, shoot and kill an intruder, this is included in the gun homicide rate. Same for police shootings. We saw this when Mayor Bloomberg included the deceased Boston Marathon bomber as a "victim" of a gun homicide.

What is really relevant is the murder rate, which is often confused in the statistics with the homicide rate. States with the most strict gun laws typically have some of the nation's highest murder rates (e.g. innocent citizens being killed by knives, fists, hatchets, guns, etc. because they have no means of defending themselves). Before D.C.'s firearm laws were held unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, DC had a murder rate 25 times that of Utah, which has some the nation's laxest gun laws. Furthermore, of the 51 or so homicides in Utah in 2012, 1/3 involved drug deals gone bad or gang shootings. It's easy to paint an incomplete picture with statistics and this article does just that.

statman
Lehi, UT

By far, the biggest issue with guns and gun violence in the us is NOT unstable people with guns. While these killings are sensational and grab headlines, they are still very uncommon given that we live in a country with over 300 million people. What is common, however, is inner-city, gang-related gun violence. THAT is why the US has high homicide and gun homicide rates.

If you leave the inner city, you are a safer in the US than you would be in a similar area of Europe.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

OldCougar writes

"...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
This is simple...only 14 words. I don't see any way to interpret or misinterpret this...activist or not.

Well, then, since you cannot "misinterpret this"

Then you would support

1) the right of a 6 year old to own a gun and take it to school
2) the right of anyone to take a gun on a plane
3) the right of felons and the insane to own guns

I assume that you are a reasonable person, as am I.

Some "infringements" seem reasonable. Heck they seem necessary.

So, it comes down to "where do we draw the line". To suggest that society is served by allowing anyone to own any "arm" and take it anywhere is totally ludicrous. Chances are that you agree.

Makes the interpretation a bit tougher, wouldn't you say?

TA1
Alexandria, VA

Please try to concentrate on "who" should be allowed to handle fire arms and not articles like this. I enjoy going to the range with a friend. I absolutely support uniform background checks and keeping firearms out of the hands of those individuals who have apparent emotional / mental health issues.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

It's a fact that more Americans are killed by knives and clubs respectively before guns. If you want to end deaths at the end of weapons then you will need to outlaw knives and clubs first.

Once again, it comes down to big money. Guns are big money in this country and wherever there is money there is politics right by it. They can't seem to keep their greedy grubby hands off of it.

9/11 didn't occur with guns, it was with box cutters. The killings in California came at the end of a knife along with a gun 50/50. The killers suicide only came about after he crashed his BMW....

Why haven't they posted the latest attacks at schools with knives? You don't hear the outcry of students being murdered with knives. Just a brief news clipping. No money here to be had, move on.

If the issue is about lives, then we need a real discussion about what is really destroying lives. It's not the boogeyman gun. It's mental health, poverty, gangs, prostitution, destruction of traditional marriage and families, loss of faith, selfishness etc. It's not the gun, knife or club that talks to people and forces them to kill.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Liberal Ted writes

"If the issue is about lives, then we need a real discussion about what is really destroying lives. It's not the boogeyman gun"

Well Ted, you may want to look closer. When you say "real discussion" I assume that you mean FACTS.

According to the the FBI, in 2011 the types of weapons used to commit homicide in the US was comprised as follows:

Firearms: 67.8%
Knives or other cutting instruments: 13.4%
Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.): 5.7%
Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.): 3.9%
Other dangerous weapons: 9.2%

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

The problem is that when you take away the guns, the crazy people and criminals will go to another weapon.

Take a look at Japan. Guns are very highly regulated, so criminals started to use swords. Now swords are highly regulated. Now the ciminals and crazy people are using long knives, so Japan is working on regulating knives.

They can't stop the crazy or criminals, so they regulate the law-abiding people.

Frozen Fractals
Salt Lake City, UT

@1978
" Is it guns or culture that causes a high homicide rate?"

Both (a lot of the "culture" bit is things like poverty and compared to the much more violent south Utah isn't poor). If you chart out gun deaths in each state using all 50 states rather than just the two you noted it correlates fairly strongly with gun ownership (look up 'gun deaths vs gun ownership by state').

@Reshirt1701
"so then you agree that the US is quite a safe nation, and that you do not need to fear being killed like you do in much of the world."

We should be better though. We're like one of the dumbest kids (one of the worst rates) in the honors class (among first world nations) and I don't want to be a C student.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

"Take a look at Japan."

Okay.

"The National Police Agency recognized 939 unlawful deliberate killings or attempts to kill in 2013 . . . An AFP tally shows that equates to around 0.74 per 100,000 people in Japan’s 127 million-strong population, making it one of the lowest in the world . . . According to a UNODC report, the United States’ 2010 rate of intentional homicide was 4.8 per 100,000; China’s was 1.0." -Japan murders fall to record low, Agence France-Presse, January 10, 2014

"so then you agree that the US is quite a safe nation"

Sure. Especially when you compare the USA to the third world. When you compare us to other industrial nations? No.

But, yeah, relatively safe. That's why no one needs an M16 (er . . . excuse me, AR-15) with 30 round magazines to protect themselves.

"If the Second Amendment does not assist in protecting us from tyrannical government, then what does?"

Tradition. Law. Culture. Democracy. Civilian control of the military. You are delusional if you think your little gun protects you from tyranny. If the government turned on the people with our military, the people lose.

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

Gun ownership is a DETERRENT to stop criminals, whether they be individuals or a large secret society of criminals who use government to take liberty away from the people by seizing control of all the resources, the means of production and distribution of goods and services and all the private property of the citizens.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

The blurb about Switzerland not being invaded by Germany during World War II is bunk. I'm a WWII historian, and I've never heard such a thing about every man trained to shoot scaring the Germans. The reason Germany never invaded Switzerland is due to a.) a limited amount of collaboration between the two countries; troop movements; storage of gold, etc. b.) Geography. Switzerland is a very small mountainous country, and unlike flat Belgium, Switzerland can keep its neutrality because of the difficult terrain there. Also, Italy was Germany's ally during the war and there was no need to invade Switzerland to get access to neighboring countries.

Avenue
Vernal, UT

@mark

Law does not stop a government that already violates the Constitution. The president, not the people, controls the military. You are delusional if you think your laws protect you from tyranny.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

"Without the Second Amendment in place, our current government would take away as many rights as it could, and it would do it forcefully,"

Oh please, that's absolute fanatical hogwash.

Johnny Moser
Thayne, WY

One of the interesting things that happens when people start "passing blame" for cause is that they don't like to recognize the human component that is often very prominent in the list of causes. In the nuclear industry and in many industrial accidents for many, many years the causes were very rarely placed on the human component. There are likely lots of books on this and probably several hundred PhD and MS theses written about this phenomenon. We see the same problem here, there is never blame placed on the humans involved, it is the system and the devices that get the blame just like these tragedies. While great strides have been made in the nuclear industry and in industrial accidents related to causal analysis there is still a hesitance to place blame on the humans involved. I can only imagine the lawsuits that would be registered if we called the "perps" of these events what they really are and quite placing the blame on the system and devices that were used.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

"Law does not stop a government that already violates the Constitution. The president, not the people, controls the military. You are delusional if you think your laws protect you from tyranny."

Wow. Is that what I said? Strange, I don't remember that. Oh yeah, because I didn't.

What did I say?

Well, in response to the question, "If the Second Amendment does not assist in protecting us from tyrannical government, then what does?"

I said:

"Tradition. Law. Culture. Democracy. Civilian control of the military."

See, law was only part of a group of things, working together that protect us. But, The Law, that great institution, is fundamental to protecting our freedoms, and rights. Try not to forget that the Constitution is a law, nothing more, nothing less. And the Founders saw The Law as so important they enshrined it in the Constitution. (In case you are wondering, it is one of the three co equal parts of government: the Judiciary.)

Oh, and, in case you didn't know, the President is a civilian. Like I said: civilian control of the military.

Without these things I list, we WOULD be under a tyranny. No matter your personal pop gun.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

Bottom line, the California dude was crazy. His family didn't intervene soone enough. There were plenty of warning signs on this guy. The guns didn't kill anyone. They were the tool used, like the knife he used to kill others.

My guns don't kill anyone or anything. It would be me controlling my gun. I could leave my loaded gun on the kitchen table and it would sit there undisturbed for however long and wouldn't kill anyone. Of course I'm a responsible owner and I wouldn't leave it sitting around but I'm making a point.

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