Gun ownership versus homicides

Breitbart says that maps made by the U.N. office on Drugs and Crime (circa 2007) clearly show that where gun ownership is highest in the world, crime is lowest on a per capita basis. Not! It is more complicated, and interesting than that.

gun ownership

It is surprizing to find how well-armed Canadians and Europeans are. The Americans lead the way with more than 75 guns per hundred people. But Canadians and the supposedly disarmed Europeans (France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia have over 50  guns per hundred people, which translates into high household ownership of firearms.


homicides per hundred thousand

The homicides per hundred thousand figure  is even more surprizing. On this scale, Canada’s murder rate shows the same as the States’ (0 to 5 per 100,000), Europe’s level is equally low, regardless of the gun ownership figures, with the exception of Finland and Russia. The Balkans, of all places, show low murder rates, which means the prosperity may be ending their tribal feuding. Muslim North Africa, India and China look safe, if not exactly peaceful.

South America’s rates  outside of the largely white Argentina and Chile are bad to atrocious; East Africa, South Africa, and West Africa are good to avoid. In Papua-New Guinea they really are coming out of the stone age. Burma has several ethnic wars ongoing. Greenland has murder rates similar to those in other Inuit settlements in Canada’s north, which are drowned statistically in the rest of Canada’s population.

Another relationship is visible: the proportion of black Africans and African immigrants indicates high murder rates. Brazil is more than 40% African. In Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and to a lesser extent Peru, the drug trade and high class tensions lead to high rates of crime.

While there is not a simple relationship between gun ownership and murder rates, it is evident that the US is much more safe than its image would suggest.