What Perplexes Me About Gun Deaths in the USA . . .

The latest gun news has started a dialogue on the subject, and hopefully it will have a healthy resolution.

I have been having discussions with numerous friends, including a large number of (lawful) gun owners. My view is that having a firearm in your home is both a right and a privilege. Personally, I would treat all guns like cars and all owners like drivers — we should register every gun like an automobile, and license and insure each owner like we do drivers.

There are other issues worth discussing — what to do about all of the illegal guns in the US, how to deal with automatic weapons with high bullet count clips. There is also an issue with how poorly we seem to be coping with mental health problems in America.

That seems to be is a rational place to begin the conversation.

But a few things perplex me about this: Why are gun-related death rates in the US so much higher than in similar countries — i.e.,  economically successful democracies?

When we look at fire-arm related deaths per capita, the US is far ahead of other, similar nations. The United States has 10.2 gun deaths per 100,000 people. That is about 8X the death rate of comparable countries (list after the jump) — and please do not compare the USA to El Salvador, Swaziland or Mexico. We rank 9th overall, and are the 1st modern or weatern nation on the list.

I know the USA is culturally different, and a much younger nation versus most of Europe or Japan.

Still, the difference is perplexing . . .




Economically successful nations, gun related per capita deaths per 100,000 population


Japan 0.07
South Korea 0.13
Hong Kong 0.19
Singapore 0.24
UK 0.25
Taiwan 0.42
Spain 0.63
India 0.93
Ireland 1.03
Australia 1.05
Germany 1.10
Greece 1.50
Italy 1.28
Norway 1.78
Israel 1.86
New Zealand 2.66
Austria 2.94
France 3.00
Switzerland 3.50
Finland 3.64
Canada 4.78


Sources: CDC, UN, Wikipedia

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