Does Gun Ownership Correlate With Murder Rates?

Vox: “The United States owns way, way more guns per capita than the rest of the world. And the best research on gun violence suggests that’s probably contributing to our homicide problem — such as the horrific shooting in Virginia Wednesday morning.”

“Here’s a map of firearm ownership around the world, using 2012 data compiled by The Guardian. The United States has nearly twice as many guns per 100 people as the next closest, Yemen — 88.8 guns per 100 as opposed to 54.8 in Yemen:”


“The American firearm homicide rate is about 20 times the average among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries (excluding Mexico).”

“Harvard researchers Daniel Hemenway and Matthew Miller examined 26 developed countries, and checked whether gun ownership correlated with murder rates. They found that ‘a highly significant positive correlation between total homicide rates and both proxies for gun availability.’ They also didn’t find much evidence that a higher rate of gun murders led to lower rates of other kinds of murder (i.e., stabbings).”

“A recent, highly sophisticated study found that, once you control for general crime rates and other confounding factors, ‘each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership’ translated to a 0.9 percent increase in homicides.”

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  • It’s interesting that only 1 out of every 5 Americans owns a gun. If there are 90 guns for every 100 Americans, while 4/5ths of them do not own a gun, and a significant percentage of gun owners only own a single gun, then the remaining gun owners own 10-20 guns, each.

    • David Bluefeather

      Or more. When my stepdad passed, he left about 45 pistols/rifles/shotguns

    • realnrh

      That sounds about right. I recall going as a kid to someone’s birthday party, and their family was huge on hunting. They had a gun rack in literally every room, including the bathroom, each with multiple guns on it. Unlocked and unsecured despite having a houseful of kids around, too. I was not terribly surprised to learn he later had to flee his high school after making racist comments in front of black athletes, and then went on to a federal prison sentence. Hunting for food or sport is one thing, but gun fetishization tends to indicate an unhealthy mental state.

  • Fat Hubie

    First they tell you that many people want to hurt you, then they want to take your guns…

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